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Teaching with Lecture or Debate? Testing the Effectiveness of Traditional versus Active Learning Methods of Instruction

  • Mariya Y. Omelicheva (a1) and Olga Avdeyeva (a2)

Lecture is, arguably, the oldest known instructional technique used in the university setting. Since it was first employed in Plato's Academy, lecture has become an indispensable part of teaching favored across the college and university curriculum. Recently, this time-honored method of instruction has come under attack for its presumed inability to foster higher order cognitive and attitudinal goals (Cashin 1985; Day 1980; Frederick 1999; Renner 1993). Critics of traditional lecture-based formats call for their replacement with active learning approaches that provide students with an opportunity to meaningfully talk, interact, write, read, and reflect on the content, ideas, and issues of an academic subject (Meyers and Jones 1993, 6).

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W. Antepohl , and S. Herzig . 1999. “Problem-Based Learning versus Lecture-Based Learning in a Course of Basic Pharmacology: A Controlled, Randomized Study.” Medical Education 33: 106–13.

G. Bauer , and D. Wachowiak . 1977. “The Home-Court Advantage: A Debate Format for the Teaching of Personality.” Teaching of Psychology 4 (4): 190–3.

W. L. Brembeck 1949. “The Effects of a Course in Argumentation on Critical Thinking Ability.” Speech Monographs 16: 177–89.

T. L. Budesheim , and A. R. Lundquist . 1999. “Consider the Opposite: Opening Minds Through In-Class Debates on Course-Related Controversies.” Teaching of Psychology 26 (2): 106–10.

R. S. Day 1980. “Teaching from Notes: Some Cognitive Consequences.” In Learning, Cognition, and College Teaching: New Directions for Teaching and Learning, ed. W. J. McKeachie . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

C. S. Green III, and H. G. Klug . 1990. “Teaching Critical Thinking and Writing through Debates: An Experimental Evaluation.” Teaching Sociology 18 (4): 462–71.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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