“Are college lectures unfair?”

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・MLA

The article primarily investigates whether college lectures discriminate against students based on color, gender, and financial status. According to the article's editor, lectures are a very ancient and well-established educational tradition that is frequently used to teach college courses. A large body of research indicates that lectures are neither generic nor impartial, but rather have a particular cultural nature that appears to discriminate against certain people while promoting others. According to the paper, gender, age, and financial status are the most common areas of discrimination. Moreover, such perception is not just a matter of bias of the instructors but is owing to the lecture format. Traditional form of the lectures tends to offer unfair advantages to the populations that are already privileged.
The studies focused on presenting a comparison of the lectures with alternative styles of instruction shows the partiality of the lecture formats. Active learning which is an alternative style of teaching often plays a significant role in providing increased feedback, interaction, and structure that prompts the students towards becoming participants in the development of knowledge rather than serving as passive recipients.
The studies conducted by other scholars comparing active learning to lectures exhibit consistency in showing that the performance of the students in the active learning courses tends to be better than that of students taught through the traditional lectures. The study as well shows that the active learning approach tends to eliminate the effects of discrimination evident in the improved performance of the women, first-generation students and those from low-income families.
The article attributes the variance in performance evident in the different methods of teaching to the fact that there is the disproportionate likelihood of the poor and minority students to attend the seemingly low performing learning institutions thus missing out on the vibrant extracurricular and academic provisions familiar to those that the students from the apparently affluent families encounter. The fact that the lectures often subject the students to the same professor, similar lecture hall while the students have different backgrounds regularly contribute significantly to their capability to retain and absorb what they hear.
The active learning approach is more effective in delivering knowledge than administering courses through lectures. The lectures are somewhat discriminatory with only the students having undergone efficient learning system in their earlier stages of development performing better. The lectures tend to benefit the most the students from affluent backgrounds and male whites. However, the study conducted by comparing the effectiveness of active learning approach suggests that the method plays a vital role in benefiting all the students especially the females, minority, first-generation and low-income.
Moreover, the process of placing and individual’s thoughts into words and ensuring their effective communication to others act as a powerful tool that facilitates learning. The active learning courses often play a significant role in providing the opportunity for the learners to debate and talk with each another in a somewhat low-pressure and collaborative environment. The traditional lectures usually present a barrier to learning of the students from low-income families and minority groups through their exposure to a high-pressure atmosphere which discourages them from volunteering to respond to questions. The traditional lectures as well expose the students to an environment that impairs their performance due to the lack of sense of belonging crucial for enhancing their academic achievements.

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