Lectures, Group Work. and the Teaching of History

Is the lecture dead?  Should history professors employ more group work in their classes?  A small discussion on these related topics has been raging through the history blogosphere.  If you want to get up to speed, check our Chris Gehrz’s piece at The Pietist Schoolman, “The Value of the ‘Sage on the Stage’.”  I love his introductory paragraph:

If you want to sound like you’re a serious, forward-thinking educator these days, you’d best master a couple of facile cliches: (1) speak derisively of the “sage on the stage” in order (2) to exhort colleagues to embrace “student-centered, active learning.” To help yourself convey the proper degree of disdain for the lecture, think back to the very worst versions of that device that you can remember being inflicted on you in your own education, then generalize from that particular experience into universally valid propositions.
We have discussed this topic several times at The Way of Improvement Leads Home:
The Benefits of a Classroom Lecture”  (One of our most popular posts)
In Defense of the Lecture” (December 19, 2009)
In Defense of the Lecture” (December 10, 2010)

4 thoughts on “Lectures, Group Work. and the Teaching of History

  1. In art history class, why not break out the fingerpaints?

    I make it the educational-industrial complex is charging these kids [or their parents] $50 for each hour of classroom time. To burn it up with the students exchanging ignorances is fraud if not theft.

    So tell me something I don't know, O sage of the stage. That's what I'm going into debt for. If I want ignorance, all I need to do is buy somebody a beer. And if you need more ignorance, you can buy me one. ;-P


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