What does Lecture Mean (No Prizes for Guessing?)

Lecture is a word that most men and women literally grow up with. Most students dread listening to boring lectures given by their teachers in colleges and universities and they think of excuses to skip them. If someone is giving unsolicited knowledge to others in a group, he is said to be lecturing others. Then of course, are the lectures given by scientists, scholars, and experts in conferences and meets.

However, despite lecture being such a common word in the lives of most people, it is really surprising to find that they are not aware of the true definition of this word. If one looks up at a dictionary, he finds that lecture is a noun that has two related but different meanings.

Educational talk usually given by teachers to students in an educational setting

Long speech that is serious in nature and usually used to reprimand or scold someone

Lecture is also a verb and the action of talking or delivering a speech is termed as lecture. If someone is lecturing you on a subject, he is said to be criticizing you or teaching you how to behave. But if the same lecture is meant to impart knowledge about a subject to a group of students in a classroom, it becomes formal and valuable.


Lecture is always given orally

Lecture is mostly given in a classroom setting but public lectures are also very common where an expert speaks on a topic and the gathered audiences listens to him with rapt attention. Whether given in a formal classroom setting or in an auditorium, lecture is always an oral presentation. So whether you are listening to your professor in the classroom or telling a friend not to lecture you about your habit of smoking, you are getting a speech in an oral form.

The word lecturer in English language actually comes from the word lecture but it is an academic rank rather than description of a person on the basis of his lecturing. Lecture in English comes from the same word in French that means giving an oral presentation to teach others.


Oral presentation in formal and informal settings

If you have not attended a lecture before, you can imagine the teacher or the expert standing in front of an audience and reciting information relevant to a subject or topic. Lecturing is an age old method of teaching but it has come under the scanner of critics in modern times. They are of the view that it is a one way communication where students are expected to understand the topic through passive learning. No matter what the critics say, lecture has remained one of the best methods of imparting knowledge to large number of students. It is not only efficient but also a very cheap way of learning.

Proponents of lecturing say that it gives teachers a much better control over the classroom. They add that it is a very engaging format of delivering knowledge. Despite all new modern technologies, lecture shall remain a popular method of imparting knowledge.