Even the most charismatic and experienced public speakers would acknowledge that there are fewer audiences more demanding than 30 school kids in a classroom. Even without lamenting the woes of our educational system, it is important to understand that teaching and lecturing – or speech-making, for that matter – are very different types of public speaking. That is why many teachers are no good at public speaking (e.g. school events or staff meetings) and why many managers with good speaking skills cannot teach or guide.
In this article we will map the differences between the persuasive rhetorics of lectures and speeches and educational rhetorics of lessons and guidance.
Goals: Understanding Vs. Internalizing
The deepest difference between lecture and lesson is the difference providing information and providing knowledge, which is the difference between understanding and internalyzing.
During a speech our goal is to be understood to such an extent that the audience will understand what we said, feel that they are following us, and be capable of understanding our next point. This sounds like a lot, but it is actually far short of what is required of teacher.
When a listener listened and LEARNED, it means that the student internalized the information and can now explain it himself and implement it if required to. This is off course the reason why good teaches stop their lesson every-so-often and direct questions at the class to verify learning and understanding.
Attitude: “Convince me” Vs. “Explain me”
Another fundamental difference is the audience’s attitude. In a speech, the speaker assumes that the audience has no knowledge of the subject or does no agree, but would have no problem understanding him. In a lesson the teacher assumes that the students would readily accept whatever he says but would not necessarily understand him correctly.
Therefore, the speech-maker would aim to prove while using examples and statistics that are hard to disprove and have strong emotional impact. A teacher, on the other hand, would choose examples that are easier to present and to understand rather than those that are most persuasive. For example when teaching road safety in school a good example will be the story of a careless kid overrun by a car, whereas presenting the issue to a parliamentary committee should probably include cost analysis and international comparisons.
Tempo: “Let’s Go” Vs “Are you with me?”
Speaking speed should be faster in a speech than in a lesson. The reason being that in a speech it is important to maintain alertness and a degree of excitement. In a lesson, on the other hand, it is important to let the listeners ponder, write down or absorb what was said.
Requirements: Passive Vs Active
During a speech or a lecture the audience should be passive, allowing the speaker to deliver the message fluently. The only requirement from the audience is to listen. During a lesson, however, the audience is encouraged to perform active learning activities. At the very minimum that should include writing down – summarizing, in fact – of the teacher’s words – which requires analyzing and prioritizing. Moreover, students are often required to perform active tasks such as solving problems, writing assignments or participating in discussions.
Inclusiveness: Most Vs All
In a speech, the object is to persuade as many as possible, while in a lesson the object is to make sure nobody is left behind. This means that in a speech the speaker will proceed in a pace suitable to the majority while a lesson will proceed according to the least able.
Also, a teacher has to verify that his pupils, all of them, are keeping up. That requires addressing them with questions and involving them in tasks that prove knowledge.
Tools: Powerpoint Vs Black board
A lecturer who has to provide information can often use PowerPoint and presentations as a tool to convey large amounts of information quickly. A teacher on the other hand will usually prefer writing on a board, because this method conveys ‘learning by doing’.
Writing on a board is also a good way for a teacher to pace himself down to the class.