Confessions of a Converted Lecturer: Eric Mazur

Last week, Paul Lattreille lead a SALT Seminar on Teaching Large Groups. I’m hoping someone from this community will report on that session in more detail, but as an appetizer here’s a talk by Harvard Physics Professor Eric Mazur, that gives some justification for one of the ideas, Peer Instruction, that Paul shared with us on that day. It was recorded at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). I hope that, like me, you’ll find it inspirational and worth passing on. I’ve just ordered Erik’s book Peer Instruction a User’s Manual (Prentice Hall, 1996) because, unfortunately, there isn’t a copy in the Library!

Here are some questions to test your understanding of the talk.

  1. What is a lecture really about?
  2. What is Eric’s recommended structure for a “lecture”?
  3. What level of improvement can you achieve by using peer instruction rather than traditional lectures?
  4. If you use Peer Instruction, how could you gather evidence that peer instruction is working for you?

Incidentally, thanks for Paul for sharing this video via Twitter. More gems from the SALT community are to be found in the sidebar at the right.

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