PS: Political Science & Politics

The Teacher

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

Mariya Y. Omelichevaa1 and Olga Avdeyevaa2

a1 University of Kansas

a2 Loyola University Chicago

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).

Mariya Y. Omelicheva is assistant professor in the department of political science at the University of Kansas. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University in 2006. Her research and teaching interests are international and Eurasian security, counterterrorism and human rights, and Russia's foreign policy. In her scholarship of teaching, she focuses on assessment of students and application of methodological and research techniques to the analysis of learning outcomes.

Olga Avdeyeva is assistant professor in the department of political science at Loyola University Chicago. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University in 2006. Her research and teaching interests are in comparative social and gender policies with a regional focus on the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Her work has appeared in International Studies Quarterly, International Journal of Social Welfare, and several edited volumes.

Footnotes

Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2006 American Political Science Association Teaching and Learning Conference. We thank Rosalee Clawson, Robert Bartlet, the editors of PS, and three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and guidance.

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