Lecturing Creatively – a reflection of Brookfield

Brookfields chapter on lecturing creatively points out that lecturing and discussion based teaching are not mutually exclusive. Each method can be used effectively depending on what you are teaching and how each method is being used.

It is important to understand why you are using a particular method of teaching and that students are also aware of what they are getting out of the experience.  Lectures are good for giving learners the broad outline of the content and give example of difficult elements. A good lecture is well organized so learners can clearly see the path they are to take.  It is also important to give students time to absorb and reflect on the information being presented, this can be done with silence breaks every 10-15 minutes.

Brookfield also discusses Ira’s idea of Siberia, the area in the room furthest away from the teacher where students sit to avoid being noticed. Ira suggest walking to this area and speaking from there, this simple act can be very powerful.

Lectures can also be broken into chunks, as Bligh proposes that 12 minutes is the maximum time a student can listen uninterrupted. Students can be broken into groups every 12 minutes to discuss the content that has been delivered so far. Brookfield also suggests simple asking students to respond to a question or statement every 12 minutes and then moving on.  Social media can be a great way to get students involved and most students are probably already familiar with the various forms of social media and have accounts.  Twitter could be a great tool to quickly get student input and then easily review it.

Overall it is important not to rule out how useful lectures can be if done effectively.  Making sure the lecture is structured in a logical way in which students can follow is critical.



Brookfield, S.D., (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass


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