Communication is the lifeblood of an organization, an institution and even the individuals themselves. It is the bedrock of pleasant ground and good relationship between the communicator and receiver. Kottler (1977:125) defines communication as ‘a process consisting of a sender transmitting a message through media to a receiver’. For the purpose of the purposes of the presentation, lecturer according to Pradhan (1977) is an oral presentation of information and idea by a person to a large group of student generally in a face to face situation at a particular place. Here students only listen to what the lecturer says. Whilst on the other hand Stoner and Freeman (1989) indicates that group discussion is the qualitative method to obtain in depth information on concepts and perceptions about a certain topic through spontaneous group discussions of approximately 6 -12 persons, guided by a facilitator that each is able to communicate with all the others face to face to reach to a decision and achieve the common goal. The linear model of communication by Shannon and Weaver (1949) will be used to examine the lecturer method at the University and the group discussion will be explained by Schramm’s interactive model (1954). Lasswell’s (1948) version of the linear model is ‘who says what, in what , in which channel, to whom and with what effect’. The sender who is the lecturer is the source of the message, also the speaker, sends the message to the students who are the listeners or the receivers. Communication is one way and its emphasis is that the recipient must get the message despite the fact that the theory appreciates that there is ‘noise’ which can be translated to barriers of communication. The first advantage of the lecture method of teaching is that lecturers can be presented to large audiences at the same time Bonwell (1996). Lecturers appeal to mass audiences and therefore appeal to situations where the student to faculty ration is very high. A good example is at Women’s University In Africa intake 9 of 2010 Communication skills class where more than 50 students in one class yet there is only one lecturer per subject.
When looking at the content, Cashin (1985) quoted by Bonwell notes that lectures can present large amounts of material or information in a specially organized manner that students themselves may not be able t do on their own. This therefore means that lectures are organized and direct the students in the direction that they ought to go. The lectures can be especially organized to meet the needs of students.
The lecture method also appeals to those who learn by listening. This works very well when the lecturer has excellent public speaking skills such that there are no communication barriers. If the lecturer is articulate, students may be drawn to listen and not get bored.
When looking at the disadvantages of the lecture, Cashin cited by Bonwell asserts that the one way communication from the lecturer to the student makes the student very passive. The learner simply ‘takes in’ information Bowers ( 1988:42), without questioning or interrogating. The lecturer teaches and the students listen and according to Paulo Freire (1970) in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, where students are viewed as empty bank accounts to be filled in the teacher. The lecturer has the information and therefore imparts it to the students. Yet, this passiveness according to Cashin (1985) can lead to two things, the first being that students will most likely forget what they would have learnt as they do not participate in the process. Also, failure to get feedback from the students may lead to ineffectiveness of the lecture as the lecturer might not be at par with the students. There are no mechanisms to ensure that they are intellectually engaged with the material.
Pradhan (1977) concurs that lectures may not be as effective as they are intended to be as they require active speakers. Not all lectures are...