Obi wan says “strike me down and I’ll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” I might be playing around with the context and the full delivery of the line, but maybe that is what we need. We need to be struck down, metaphorically, to allow our pupils to grow and flourish.
The crux of every reason why we should like lecture revolves around the lecturer themselves. The person has all this knowledge, wisdom, and insight into the topic at hand. Because of these things, they know how to transmit that knowledge to eager learners in a way that makes sense. I do believe there are times when lecturing is appropriate. However, as we strive to change the way we teach, we have to let go or minimize the need to lecture. I don’t think that is easy to do as it is say. I can feel the offense that Douglas Thomas took when his class largely phased him out of lecturing. He spent years studying this stuff, and now they should listen to his wisdom on it. Or another scenario being, hey everyone I have this really great lesson. Oh never mind, y’all want to about your experiences in the game. I can also sense the uncertainty he may have in letting go of control of the classroom. It seemed that he had failed since nobody wanted to receive his thoughts in lecture. Lo and behold it worked.
I think letting go of that control and experiencing some uncertainty are the biggest challenges in trying to become a more student centered teacher. Not every case will be as instantly successful as this one. Thomas had a unique mechanism to work with by using Star Wars Galaxies. I do worry that instructors would have to go through multiple iterations of a class before they are able to find something that works. In this age of accountability, that may not be a luxury instructors are afforded. I don’t believe it needs to as dramatic as Thomas’ class, where he was nearly phased out of his own classroom, but it needs to be better than a straight lecture. Borrowing an idea from Parker Palmer, I think we need to hold the tension between the two to make it work. Maybe death of a master was a bit dramatic, but it worked well for the video.