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  • 1.
    Carter, John
    University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
    The Lecture Environment and its Affordances: Student Teachers' Perspectives on the Meaningfulness of the Lecture Form2008Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Contemporary higher education seems to be moving away from the lecture form and being replaced by student-centered education. This study attempts to ascertain in what ways student teachers experience the lecture as a meaningful educational form. The essay attempts to establish a shared system of meaning which will help determine what types of lectures are meaningful. Finally, the study also attempts to find different aspects of the lecture which are experienced as democratic.

     

    The study is qualitative and began with a pilot study which was followed up by four interviews with student teachers who have recently completed the same AUO teachers’ program.

     

    Different theories on media by Marshal McLuhan, Neil Postman and Walter Ong were utilized together with J.J. Gibson’s theories on affordances as well as Orrin Klapp’s theories on meaning. Using these theories it was determined that meaning is derived from the activities that are afforded by: the utilization of different media, perceiving the value of an event or thing, and the different functions of language. It was also determined from the different theories that the lecture is a type of ecology that requires a balance of meaningful information if the affordances of the environment are to be perceived. These theories were woven together and a model was established which was named “The Didactic Pendulum”. This model was used as a tool for interpreting and categorizing responses and explaining results.

     

    The results indicate that meaningful lectures were to a large degree determined by the lecturer and their enthusiasm for the subject matter. It was also concluded that rhetoric and careful use of electronic media are also important. An important feature of the Teachers’ Education Program is that student teachers learn from observing the actions of the university teachers when they lecture. Concerning democratic aspects of the lecture, lectures are perceived democratic when they afford students with the opportunity to participate, but also when students get to challenge the ideas of the lecturers. One conclusion that was drawn was that a lecture is democratic when it has the potential to lead students to democratic action. A main critique of the lecture is that they are often experienced as isolated from other aspects of the course and students are not afforded the opportunity to question the content and the authority of the teachers. Moreover a balanced educational ecology is one where the lecturer is open to feedback signals of the students and is able to alter the flow of information accordingly.

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