A lecture is an oral presentation intended to present information or teach people about a particular subject, for example by a university or college teacher. Lectures are used to convey critical information, history, background, theories and equations. A politician's speech, a minister's sermon, or even a businessman's sales presentation may be similar in form to a lecture. Usually the lecturer will stand at the front of the room and recite information relevant to the lecture's content.
Though lectures are much criticised as a teaching method, universities have not yet found practical alternative teaching methods for the large majority of their courses. Critics point out that lecturing is mainly a one-way method of communication that does not involve significant audience participation. Therefore, lecturing is often contrasted to active learning. Lectures delivered by talented speakers can be highly stimulating; at the very least, lectures have survived in academia as a quick, cheap and efficient way of introducing large numbers of students to a particular field of study.
Lectures have a significant role outside the classroom, as well. Academic and scientific awards routinely include a lecture as part of the honor, and academic conferences often center around "keynote addresses", i.e., lectures. The public lecture has a long history in the sciences and in social movements. Union halls, for instance, historically have hosted numerous free and public lectures on a wide variety of matters. Similarly, churches, community centers, libraries, museums, and other organizations have hosted lectures in furtherance of their missions or their constituents' interests. Lectures represent a continuation of oral tradition in contrast to textual communication in books and other media.
Famous quotes containing the word lecture:
“Some of the greatest and most lasting effects of genuine oratory have gone forth from secluded lecture desks into the hearts of quiet groups of students.”
—Woodrow Wilson (18561924)
“I find quite as much material for a lecture in those points wherein I have failed, as in those wherein I have been moderately successful.”
—Abraham Lincoln (18091865)
“I could lecture on dry oak leaves; I could, but who would hear me? If I were to try it on any large audience, I fear it would be no gain to them, and a positive loss to me. I should have behaved rudely toward my rustling friends.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)