We need to shift the focus from teaching to helping our students learn.
- Eric Mazur, Harvard Professor

Don’t Lecture Me

Did you know?

Though college students spend a good deal of their time listening to lectures, research shows there are better ways to learn. Some studies have shown that as few as 10% of students take in and process information presented in a traditional lecture. However, when instructors involve students in their own learning by peppering lectures with conceptual questions and giving students time to think about and discuss these questions, there is a measurable increase in student learning. This teaching by questioning approach, dubbed “peer instruction,” is a strategy developed by Harvard Professor Eric Mazur. It can be adapted to almost any course or discipline and has proven to be an effective teaching technique in classrooms across the globe. Try a think-pair-share activity to engage your students in active learning today.

Here’s how…

  • Compose a question about a concept or idea related to your course.
  • Distribute the Student Activity (in fillable pdf form) and have students write down your question.
  • Give students time to think about the question and their response.
  • Have students find a partner, pair, and discuss responses with each other.
  • Bring the class back together and share students’ responses.

Above and Beyond!

Eric Mazur focuses on the importance of crafting conceptual questions, called ConcepTests, designed to expose common difficulties in understanding course material. Follow this link for more on the how and why of ConcepTests.