STYLES OF INSTRUCTION 5
Thereare various instructional methods in teaching environments that areadopted by educationists. Each of the teaching method is said to haveits own merits and demerits with regard to ensuring that studentslearn and understand the instructional material. Lecturing, which isa teacher centered approach and active learning that focuses on thestudents’ involvement are the two primary teaching methods. MollyWorthens and Murphy Paul present two different arguments about theseinstruction methods in two New York Times articles. Whereas Paulconsiders active learning as a revolutionary teaching method that allcolleges and universities must embrace, Molly argues that this isjust a learning craze inspired by changes in technology. A keen lookinto the articles will, however, indicate that the teacher centeredmethod is partial and favors the privileged learners. It is atraditional method that has no place in the 21stcentury. On the contrary, Molly’s argument that lectures deepenstudents’ understanding of the instructional material is valid.
Today’slecture halls constitute of students from varied backgrounds.Students are from wealthy parents, educated families, differentraces, nationalities, religions, genders, poor families, as well asphysically disabled. Furthermore, students have different mentalcapacities and their levels of absorbing content are not the same.Therefore, Paul’s arguments that the traditional method ofinstruction namely a lecture is discriminatory are indeed valid.Colleges must embrace teaching methods can accommodate all thelearners regardless of their backgrounds. For example, students fromwealthy and educated families are likely to have attended qualityschools prior to joining college (Paul, 2015). Their knowledge baseis wide and they use this to their advantage in anchoring the newmaterials from the lectures. This places the poor students at adisadvantage since the likelihood of them having attended low qualityschools is high. In addition, lecturing does not offer learners anopportunity to slowly interact with the instructional material andcontribute towards their own learning through asking questions andparticipating in learning. Active learning ensures that learners canread and understand materials at their own pace (Paul, 2015).Moreover, in active learning, students can engage in groupdiscussions hence improving their learning. It is essential to statethat learners will absorb the contents of the instructional materialsat varied rates. Lecturing does not offer learners this opportunityand the slow learners are disadvantaged.
Thereis no doubt that the conventional lecture method place immense andundue pressure on students. After the lecturer dictates notes in thelecture hall, it is duty of the students to synthesize, organize andinterpret the instructional materials. Therefore, students areconstantly under pressure of learning new materials daily (Paul,2015). In most American colleges’ lecture halls, the females,people of color, disabled and students from poor families have anacute lack of sense of belonging. Therefore, they are under pressureto participate in performing simple tasks such as answering questionsin the classroom. This favors the while male students from wealthyfamilies who perform exceptionally well. Active learning has thepotential of eliminating this barrier and ensuring that all learnersachieve uniform performance.
Despitethe advances in technology and the changing learning environment thatnecessitates active learning strategies, it is essential to note thatthe arguments made by Worthens for the lecture are plausible. One ofthe primary goals of teaching is to enhance the listening skills oflearners. According to Worthens, lecture format seeks to inculcatethis culture in students. In the lecture format of instruction,learners are expected to listen to the lecturer for at least an hourand take notes while synthesizing and interpreting the information.It is clear that listening is a skill that the students will requirelater in real life situations. The advent of technology gadgets inlearning environments might have enhanced the learning experience,but they are dangerous to attention span of the learners (Worthens,2015). If colleges want to produce graduates who can be attentive ina political or a company two hour meeting speech, they must retainlecturing as an instruction method. Recent studies have shown thatthere are some colleges which are opting to ban the use of laptops inthe classrooms. This is a positive step towards enhancing theattention and the listening skills of the learners.
Althoughtechnological gadgets offer some advantages to the learners, theyinculcate a lazy aspect of learning. Offering students theopportunity to read and rewind notes at the comfort of their rooms isnot the best approach of learning (Worthens, 2015). The younggeneration finds it extremely hard to concentrate of read materialsfor hours since they are used to the short Facebook and Twitterupdates. Reading over the laptop and at the comfort of one’s roomoffers great temptations. The likelihood of concentrating isextremely low. It is the responsibility of lecturers to demand thatlearners take notes and offer a critique of the arguments in the nextclass meeting.
Whileconcluding, learning cannot be achieved if only one method isapplied. There is need to incorporate various learning methods in aclassroom in order to achieve optimal learning. Active learning andthe lecture format learning styles must be used concurrently in theclassroom. While lecturers insist that learners must take notes, itis essential to offer them an opportunity to participate in theclassroom. There is no way that teaching and learning in thecontemporary world can be devoid of technology. It must beincorporated in learning, but there must be measures and balances toensure it does not affect learning.
Paul,Annie. (2015). Are College Lectures Unfair? NewYork Times.Web: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/opinion/sunday/are-college-lectures- unfair.html?_r=0
Worthen,M. (2015). Lecture Me. Really. NewYork Times.Web: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/18/opinion/sunday/lecture-me-really.html