Art of lecturing: A broad overview

Delivering knowledge through lecturing is probably the most used method around the globe.  Lecturing and teaching are so   intertwined that even without knowing one thinks of the former while thinking about the latter. But is being very popular and commonly used, making it the best method for knowledge dissemination?  There are certain ‘possibilities’ and ‘perils’ associated with lecturing (which I will cover in another article). Here, I want to discuss a few overarching issues which are critical in nature.

First, as the adage goes that God lies in detail; lecturing demands a lot of focus, attention and practice. Effective lecture does not imply mere reading of the notes nor does it mean regurgitation of facts. Lecturing is basically delivering robust topical knowledge to another person verbally. Efficient delivery with more emotional connect and with higher audience retention is a skill to be mastered. It requires planning, trial & error, self-assessment, cautious workmanship and capability to observe others.

Second, a good lecturer is always cautious about the differences in the learning capabilities and styles of target students. According to NLP, there are three learning patterns namely, audio, visual and kinesthetic. There are high chances to have each type of learner in a class especially when it is moderately large. Therefore, any lecture delivered should reflect all of these patterns to ensure learning amongst each category of learner, It implies that a lecturer should select the ‘words’ carefully for the audio learners, powerpoint slides for the visual learners and storytelling  for  the kinesthetic learners.

Third, some academicians do not find it important to pay much attention to the process of lecture presentation rather they find it demeaning to the content of the course. They visualize themselves as men of intellect and not as ‘entertainers’. However, there is another group of academicians having different perspectives and opine that a lecturer must pay adequate attention to the process as it adds value to the content rather than diminishing it and  failing  to grab the attention of the students is demeaning to the content of the subject.  A genuine lecturer is always concerned about students and wants to ensure learning amongst them. Therefore, lecturer should not shy away from using any or all authentic aids that will enhance the teaching-learning experience.

Fourth, a lecturer must understand that his responsibility is not only to complete the syllabus but to ignite the passion for that subject. Usually, the lecturer assumes that his duty is to cover the content as per syllabus, consequently he divides the topics in a way that he is able to cover them within available time and starts ‘speaking’. But, it is not appropriate, it does not ensure learning. Therefore, a good lecturer should not focus only on the timely completion of the syllabus but also on how much his students would be able to absorb from the session. Lectures, thus, if prepared well with concern for the students learning at heart can be a very useful instrument of knowledge dissemination.

Prof. (Dr.) Deependra Sharma, Dean, Unitedworld School of Business (UWSB)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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