Saturday 1 July 2017

The Compleat Lecturer – or, the quintessence of traditional lecturing by Bruce G Charlton

The Compleat Lecturer – or, the quintessence of traditional lecturing

Bruce G Charlton

Professor Bruce G Charlton 
School of Psychology
Newcastle University

The primacy of lectures in providing a framework of knowledge and understanding for most students in most types of undergraduate-level study has been recognized in universities and colleges for many hundreds of years; and nothing substantive has happened to challenge this primacy. I set-out a plausible rationale for the effectiveness of lecturing, based upon assumptions regarding human nature and evolved psychology.  Then, based upon this framework, I discuss some principles of good lecturing; with reference to the lecturer’s art and craft, implications for design of courses and lecture theatres, and the responsibilities of teaching administrators and the lecture audience. My conclusion is that – properly done – lecturing is potentially a first-rate method of teaching; rewarding both for lecturer and lectured-to. And, if there is a single word that encapsulates the essence of that in which lectures excel; the word is ‘explaining’.

The full 5,500 word essay can be found at: 


Neal said...

Good to see this finished! I have come back to this in my own lecturing several times, and recommended it to instructors working with me. Thank you.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Neal - I'm surprised and pleased to discover that you were waiting for me to finish this!

It has been something of a labour of love to condense thirty years of experience into a piece which was short-enough that somebody might actually read it (because who would read *a whole book* on lecturing? Not me...).