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05 April 2022

Lecture vs. Discussion and Its Consequences

I employ a number of different pedagogical methods in the classroom. It varies between courses and lessons. I get the impression, though, that I do a lot more traditional lecturing of the "sage on a stage" variety than my colleagues. I often do this because I worry that classroom discussion can encourage students to feel entitled to uninformed opinions. You don't get to have an opinion on moral/ethical issues like whether racism is bad or on matters of social fact like the poverty rate. Lecture encourages students to foster a critical respect for experts. This isn't to say that there is no place for discussion in my classroom, just that I am careful with how it is used.

Imagine that the world has been one big epidemiology classroom for the past two years. How much listening have students done to the experts? How many students have opted to debate those experts? What have been the consequences?

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