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Key Information: Lectures and Classroom Teaching

Despite the advantages of lectures and classroom teaching, how might a student’s (disability related) needs be impacted in lectures and classroom teaching?

Some of the general issues and concerns with lectures and classroom teaching

Students may face difficulties in lectures and classroom teaching situations in a number of ways:

  • Lectures fail to provide instructors with feedback about the extent of student learning so some students may be falling behind or not benefitting from the lecture.
  • Students are often passive learners in lectures and evidence suggests that attention wanes after short periods of time and information is often forgotten. This can be a particular issue for students with concentration issues e.g. those with anxiety or low energy levels. Both fatigue and low energy have a major impact on understanding/learning and note-taking.
  • Students learn at different paces and have different levels of understanding so some may benefit less than others.
  • Lectures do not support application, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation.
  • Many students prefer more active learning styles.

Key elements for a lecturer to consider include:

  • Does the student understand the purpose of the lecture/lesson in general? Is the purpose clearly explained and set out beforehand? This can be helpful in enabling the student to prepare for the lecture and develop their note-taking strategy for example. Some students may wish to avoid certain subject matter for example.
  • Is the lesson held in an accessible environment? This might relate to: physical access – to the room, to appropriate seating; availability of technology; and sensory space. Can everyone hear what is being said? Are there challenges of sensory overload?
  • Some students may have concern about their ability to fully participate in lectures and classroom teaching. These challenges might derive from concerns about: anxiety about how they will be perceived by tutors; accessing the lecture materials; and other people’s perceptions about them.
  • How/whether students are able relate to other class members and their particular perspectives and issues.
  • Whether some students may have particular challenges or sensitivities relating to topics being discussed.

These are just examples and students may have many other reasons for facing challenges with lectures and classroom teaching. More detailed information on the particular challenges some students may find in these academic environments can be found in Case Studies 1-5.

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