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PostHas Academia Lost the "Lecture Culture"? (Enrique Torner, USA, 06/29/20 2:21 pm)
I am so glad Gary Moore appreciated the David Pike lecture I posted on June 28th. David gave the same lecture at our university (Minnesota State), but it was accidentally not recorded, so I was elated when I found it recorded by AUP.
This was the third time he delivered the same lecture, because he had told me the one he delivered at Minnesota State he had delivered already somewhere else and was very well received, and he was at MSU in the spring of 2014. I was raised in a "lecture culture": Spain. In Spain, not only college professors offer lectures in class (at least they did when I lived there; now I'm told there is less of an emphasis on lectures), but lectures form part of the culture: while I lived in Spain I attended many lectures by literary authors, historians, artists, and others sponsored by several cultural institutions. Some people like going to the movies or to the theater. Not that I don't like doing that, but I always loved a good lecture, and David was a master lecturer, and I wanted WAIS to possess and hold those I could find so they could be easily accessed in a forum he belonged to and cherished for so many years. Somebody mentioned that David could have been an actor: I agree.
As I said in earlier posts, I am subscribed to The Great Courses Plus, and have been watching or listening to many of their courses. This company meticulously selects its lecturers. They start with the top 1% of college professors, and then they do further selection by listening to them and interviewing them and their students and colleagues. They research them thoroughly. Probably they missed David because he was in Paris, and their lecturers are English speakers, so they are located either in the US or in Great Britain. David was nonetheless among the best lecturers I have seen in my life, and I have watched/listened to many, while driving in the car, washing dishes, walking, cleaning, you name it.
Unfortunately, I have come to realize that there is no such culture in this country and that US college undergraduate students need to be incentivized to attend lectures by guest speakers, even by famous authors or historians. The photo I shared recently of David Pike and myself included graduate students, all but one from Spanish American countries, who, not only appreciated his lectures, but desired to have their picture taken with them as well, as a memento of the event they cherished. I'm glad they did and shared the photo with me. I wish I had taken more of them! Being the host and coordinator of guest speakers involves a lot of work and details and I end up forgetting taking pictures of them. Instead, I order the videotaping and have pictures taken by others. Either way, even when I am not hosting, I still tend to forget to take pictures because I get so involved just enjoying the little time I have with them.
Anyway, I am glad Gary enjoyed David's lecture, and I hope other WAISers watch, not only that one, but the other ones I have shared with WAIS, as well as the articles I shared before. My idea is to put together as much of his work as possible in WAIS: it would make a great tribute to him. Over the years, he shared several articles with me, and we exchanged many emails, and I have been digging through my many files searching for any materials I could share with WAIS. Maybe other WAISers can contribute in this task as well.
JE comments: Enrique, you honor David and all of WAISdom! And you bring up a reality I've long known but never articulated: the "lecture culture" is dead in the US. I've read widely and taken dozens of workshops on teaching effectiveness, and not once has the topic been "how to deliver a dazzling lecture." The emphasis is now on collaborative learning, project-based work, "flipped" classrooms, using technology of every type, accommodating different "learning styles," and the all-important maxim: recognizing that no youthful attention span lasts more than ten or fifteen minutes.