The Compleat Lecturer

The Compleat Lecturer – or, the quintessence of traditional lecturing

Bruce G Charlton

Professor Bruce G Charlton
School of Psychology Newcastle University NE1 7RU England

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 …