By Molly Worthen in the NY Times:
Lectures are essential for teaching the humanities’ most basic skills: comprehension and reasoning, skills whose value extends beyond the classroom to the essential demands of working life and citizenship.
A lecture is not the declamation of an encyclopedia article. In the humanities, a lecture “places a premium on the connections between individual facts,” Monessa Cummins, the chairwoman of the classics department and a popular lecturer at Grinnell College, told me. “It is not a recitation of facts, but the building of an argument.”
Absorbing a long, complex argument is hard work, requiring students to synthesize, organize and react as they listen.
What law school needs, of course, is the small section discussion element that manu undergraduate courses offer.