Lecturing Dialogically: Reinventing the Lecture using a Creative Practice Model

Learning and Teaching Forum Lunchtime Workshop Programme – Workshop 11, 19 May 2021

Dr Benjamin Poore Senior Lecturer in Theatre at the University of York, director of learning and teaching in the department, project lead on the Creative Practice Lectures Project

Dr Rebecca Benzie Research associate and Co-investigator on Creative Practice Lectures Project

Report from workshop chair, Dr Colleen Morgan, Department of Archaeology

Link to Session Recording (UoY log-in required)

This workshop examined a dialogic approach to writing and presenting lectures to create an experience of ‘liveness’ in the lecture room. Poore and Benzie restructured lectures given to first-year students in a BA Theatre programme to enhance student engagement, dialogue, inclusivity, criticality and knowledge retention. 

Dialogic teaching is:

  • Collective
  • Reciprocal
  • Supportive
  • Cumulative
  • Purposeful

Poore and Benzie asked, “Does the application of dialogic approaches to talk in seminars lead to better-argued written work in the assessment?”

They offered physical enactments and embodiments of key ideas and invited students to shape and direct the lecture. They found that this improved lecture attendance and active participation and created memorable talking points that fed into seminar discussions and written assessments. The lecture, which is generally highly criticised within pedagogical thought, was reimagined as a creative, participatory event. Of particular note was the engagement of Selma Dimitrijevic, a dramaturgical advisor who worked with Poore and Benzie for three days to ensure the form and content of the lecture as a performance was coherent. 

One memorable lecture featured a scroll that represented the dialog within a play. Poore used two different colours, one for each character, visually demonstrating the gender imbalance in the scene. This invited the students into a closer dialog with the source material.

Overall this session provoked participants to rethink their lectures in creative ways that would invite students into co-learning, featuring participation and play. 

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