Be realistic about...

10th January 2003 at 00:00
Lectures mark both the highest and lowest points of my educational experience, with Helen Gardner, Edmund Blunden and Michael Argyle at the top end of the scale, and the anonymous deliverers of PowerPoint-abetted, numbing, educational quango propaganda at the other. A good lecturer carries you along with what feels like an evolving sequence of observation and reflection. The others send you to sleep.

Lectures only survive on teacher training courses because they appear to be a cost-effective means of communicating large amounts of information. They are not, in fact, very effective as learning tools, as our trainees never tire of telling us - and they are far removed from the kind of teaching practice we want to see in classrooms.

Don't get bogged down in meticulous note-making. Be alert for the key phrases which signal the important parts - "There are four reasons why..."

or "As an example..." or "This is the concept ..." and use them as cues to identify the underlying thought-structure.

Exemplifications may contain ideas you won't find in print.

PowerPoint lectures have structured handouts - use them to save you time.

After the lecture, find someone who will argue about it with you - find out what you remember, and use it.

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