Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lecture Fail? Really?

First watch this video from a The Chronicle of Higher Education online article.

Now view this response from a biology instructor.

Fuck yeah!  I love this woman and agree 100% with her!

For the record, I lecture in my classes.  I don't gather everyone in a circle so they can share their feelings about plate tectonics.  I don't twitter shit that I know damn well most of my students wouldn't read or care about.  I have this blog, but it's not for my students (they're welcome to read it along with everyone else but I don't advertise it to them).

I do use PowerPoint but I have virtually no text on my PowerPoint slides.  In the courses I teach, we used to all have 35 mm slide carousels (anyone old school enough to remember those?) with pictures of geologic features (mostly those I took myself on various travels around the country).  What a pain in the ass those were (ever accidentally dump a whole tray of slides just before an important talk?).  Arranging images is so much easier in PowerPoint than on a light table.  A few years back, I donated lots and lots of slide trays to our art department.

At right is an example of a typical PowerPoint image (a picture of a glacial erratic in the Shawangunks that I took myself).  As I'm showing this and other images in class, I'm lecturing and writing stuff down (and sketching things, which we do a lot in geology).  Yes, I go off on tangents.  Not about irrelevent things, but about recent topics in the news relating to what I'm lecturing about, local geologic features, making connections to other fields of study, or, yes, even about experiences I've had (how can I lecture about the Grand Canyon, for example, without saying something about the times I've actually been there?).  That's how I roll.

If students find it boring, fuck them.  I'm not getting on the table to sing and dance for their entertainment.  I'm older, wiser, more experienced, and better educated than those idiots.  Learning about the world around you is one of the most interesting things you can do - I love education and wish I had more hours in the day to learn about everything that interests me!


  1. You've got teaching down pat, PowerPoints are meant as a supplement where you explain, and even go off on relevant tangents. Student forget that the 'hands on' learning aspect comes from their studying outside of class, and in science, in the lab.

  2. I know students complain when I am boring and lecturing and I know they complain when I go down the parabolic curve of infinite tangents. How do I win? I don't. I don't even think about winning. I think about how much I enjoy sharing my love on math and science with today's youth. That's it.

    What's funny however, is that I posted the above paragraph after listening to the biology teacher's video for 1 minute. Then I wrote this. Hmm.