I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. “Lecturing is not good for children and other living things,” said Redish, who spent 25 years in theoretical nuclear physics and now researches how students learn physics. “They don’t really learn very much in a lecture.”

    Sounds like this guy’s on to something–but he’s doing a lot more than plain old lecturing, which I still say isn’t going to work for all students. I need to participate, to engage in discussion, to manipulate objects, to try stuff, or I just don’t get it. I can’t handle sitting and listening. At least this professor’s got something a little more entertaining to bring to the room, and I salute him, but he’s still not differentiating or whatever we call it these days.
    And while I don’t know that lecturing’s an “instructional evil,” I definitely think it’s not the most effective way to catch high school students. College students who have paid a lot of money to be there in that specific class, maybe–they’re at least primed to be in the class. But high school sophomores who have to take English? Pfffft.

  2. Seems like we’re in need of some new nomenclature here.

    I don’t know the teacher who spends an hour-long period talking at her students while they sit, listen, and take notes. That stuff is deadly, true, and if that’s what we mean by “lecture,” then I’m against it.

    This hybridized style, though – talk for a few minutes, have them try out some techniques for the next few, talk to a neighbor or journal about a question for the next few, and then back to instructor-talk – I just don’t see the big deal. High school, college, or otherwise. Younger the age, the shorter stretches you’re allowed to talk, but that’s good “lecturing” by my eye.

  3. Excellent timing. I’ve just been “commissioned” to do a lecture on lecturing (Why lecture? Why not lecture? Etc…) to our pre-service teachers in their field experience class.

    I have 90 minutes. :-0

    This’ll be a great resource.

  4. Man … a lecture on lecturing had better … uh … be a good lecture. Right? Standards are a little higher on that one, huh? Man.

  5. I confess…if I’m up doing this and that, here and there, every few minutes, there’d better be someone damn good at putting it all together for me at the end (the beginning and middle wouldn’t be bad either). Otherwise I’ve had an enjoyable time, but 20 minutes later, not much clue what I was supposed to have learned.

    Kids have a ridiculously hard time figuring out what their experiments and hands-on activities really mean, even when they’re motivated. Heck, the future teachers in my class about teaching inquiry science? They weren’t always getting the big picture concepts. But, they’d had so much fun playing that they also didn’t really listen to the teacher’s little comments about what was really happening and why.

    I’m sorry, this sounds more bitter than it is! But the truth is that kids that don’t already know a lot about how to think and learn don’t generally do a very good job of teaching themselves things they don’t know or understand just from playing with things and talking with their friends. Not to say they shouldn’t do some of that, but guided, directly, by the firm hand of an interesting teacher.