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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 107-115

Perception of students and teachers about didactic teaching: A cross-sectional study


Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Al Majmaah University, Al Majmaah, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication1-Oct-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Raid Saleem Albaradie
Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Al Majmaah University, Al Majmaah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_28_18

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  Abstract 


Context: Didactic (lecture) method is a popular way of delivering the information in class among teachers amidst the other multiple novel methods, but there are very few researches published related to exploring the perception of teachers and students about effective didactic teaching. Aims: The aim of this survey is to find the best way to deliver a lecture as per the opinion of students and teachers in the College of Applied Health Sciences. Settings and Design: A cross-sectional survey through a questionnaire was obtained from a previous study on medical students with original questionnaire consisting of 17 items. In addition to the 17 items in the questionnaire, 4 new items were included through a pilot study on students and teachers in the College of Applied Medical Sciences. Subjects and Methods: Students (n = 110) and teachers (n = 41) participated in the cross-sectional study. Good Teaching Questionnaire was used to obtain opinion and views about ways to make didactic teaching better and effective. Statistical Analysis Used: Nonparametric tests were used to analyze data obtained from the questionnaire. Results: Almost 100% of teachers and students agreed to include mental rehearsal and smart board method of teaching in didactic method. Nearly 100% of students and 29.2% (12) of teachers agreed to include multiple-choice questions in the lecture. Conclusions: Smart board presentation is preferred over the other modes of delivery of information. Mental rehearsal at the end of class is a useful tool to enhance learning and content retention. Teachers must implement students' suggestions such as ideal duration of class, time of class, lot of relevant examples, and little bit of fun would make learning enjoyable and effective.

Keywords: Didactic teaching, good teaching, lecture, paramedical education


How to cite this article:
Albaradie RS. Perception of students and teachers about didactic teaching: A cross-sectional study. Saudi J Health Sci 2018;7:107-15

How to cite this URL:
Albaradie RS. Perception of students and teachers about didactic teaching: A cross-sectional study. Saudi J Health Sci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Dec 13];7:107-15. Available from: http://www.saudijhealthsci.org/text.asp?2018/7/2/107/242499




  Introduction Top


Teachers use a variety of ways to effectively transmit their knowledge to their students.[1] Lecturing is one of the most popular methods to deliver information to masses,[2] which is addressing a suitable number of students in a class.[3] The word lecture emerged from the Latin word “I recite.”[4] Lecturing in professional colleges and universities is also known as didactic method of teaching. A didactic lecture is a scientific oral delivery of information in a systematic and organized manner by an individual who is competent in the field.[5] It is the oldest method and the most popular method of teaching.[6] Didactic method of teaching is usually directed by specific class learning objectives (CLOs),[7] and the manner in which it is delivered largely depends on the experience and verbal versatility of the teachers.[8] Didactic method of teaching has received many criticisms by many authors[9],[10],[11] because of its passive nature,[12] but it still prevails in many renowned universities. Didactic method of teaching involves face-to-face interaction between teachers and students and is used at many levels of education. There are various factors associated with lecture methods,[13] and these factors greatly affect the success and failure of information transmitted to the successors.[14],[15]

Undoubtedly, lectures delivered systematically are a useful method to transmit information to a large group of people in a short period of time and it is vastly economical. However, due to the availability of other research-proven and advance methods of teaching,[16] the class room didactic teaching is losing its significance. Moreover, students also can assess unlimited amount of information through the Internet at their own comfort. Nevertheless, lectures can also be made equally effective and interesting by introducing innovative ways to improve their delivery. By improvising and manipulating, schedule of class, duration of the lecture, concise enriching content, simplifying fundamental concepts, effective use of audio-visual aids, involving students as active learners, prior student's preparation, summaries of the topic, etc.,[17] are some of the known factors which lead to effective learning. Additional factors can only be explored through suggestions and opinions of the students and teachers. If these factors are effectively met, achieving a desired learning objective becomes less challenging to a teacher.

An exhaustive literature review shows that there is no plausible evidence investigating the factors necessary to make a lecture motivating and stimulating learning among students pursuing Applied Health Science Courses. Therefore, this study is conducted to discover innovative ways to make didactic teaching effective by obtaining the opinion of experienced teachers and students.


  Subjects and Methods Top


The study was proposed on January 23, 2018, before the college's Ethical Committee. On January 29, 2018, ethical clearance was obtained for the study to be done on teachers and students of the College of Applied Health Sciences, Al Majmaah University.

Procedure

The stages of development of modified Good Teaching Questionnaire are described as follows:

  • Stage 1: After obtaining consent from students studying in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year (n = 81) and teachers (n = 19) of the various departments, a pilot study was conducted using a face-to-face interview. The interviewer asked participants to provide their views and opinion about good teaching and ideal teaching environment. The students and teachers presented their view point that they think contributed to a good lecture. Responses from the participants were listed and tabulated. Similar response from the participants was omitted and the remaining items were compared with an original questionnaire developed by Kurle et al.[18] on MBBS students studying in Seth GS Medical College in Mumbai. Prior permission was obtained from the developers of the questionnaire to use and modify the same
  • Stage 2: The responses obtained from students and teachers were compiled into a single document, omitting a common response
  • Stage 3: The final questionnaire was prepared by adding six new items obtained from the response of students and teachers from various departments to the original questionnaire
  • Stage 4: The modified questionnaire contained 23 items, which were checked for grammar and clarity
  • Stage 5: The questionnaire was finally mailed to the experts in the field of education to obtain their comments and recommendations
  • Stage 6: The final questionnaire was prepared and piloted on ten students and ten teachers who were not part of the study [Appendix 1].


Inclusion criteria

Students in the final semester of their studies in the College of Applied Medical Sciences and teachers teaching in that college were included in the study. All the participants were given a prior consent before obtaining their response. On an average, it took 15–20 min to complete a paper-based questionnaire. The data collection was completed by February 2018. A total of 151 responses were obtained from the participants with 100% response rate.

Statistical analysis

Survey data from students and teachers were analyzed statistically using SPSS software version 17 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). Demographic and qualitative variables were analyzed by mean ± standard deviation and number (percentage), respectively. Chi-square test was used to evaluate the significant difference between the two groups. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


  Results Top


Our study population constituted 23 final-year students from Medical Laboratory Technology, 28 final-year students from Nursing Department, 26 final-year students in Medical Equipment Technology, 25 final-year students of Physical Therapy Department, 8 final-year students of Radiology Department, and 41 lecturers from the various departments of Allied Health Sciences College [Table 1]. Students' age group was in their early twenties and teachers were in their late thirties. The teaching experience among teachers was not significantly different. We included only final-year students in the study as these students have been taught by didactic method of teaching.
Table 1: Demographic data of students and teachers

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The study comprised of two groups; 110 students and 41 teachers participated in the study. About 97.9% (89) of students and 95% (39) of teaching faculty agreed to display the topics at the start of the semester. Around 92.7% (102) and 92.6% (38) of the students thought that the lectures must clarify fundamental concepts with relevant examples. About a moderate number of teachers (59.1% (65)) and students (51.2% [21]) thought that teachers must summarize the topics at the end of the lecture. There was a disagreement between scheduling the question–answer session at the end of the lecture, 97.5% (40) of the teachers thought that the session shall be at the end of the lecture, whereas students expected that the doubts must be addressed any time during the lecture. There was a strong agreement between the teachers and students about the time scheduling and adherence to class timings; around 95% of teachers and students thought that 08:00 am–12:00 pm is the most appropriate time. Another point of disagreement was about take-home assignments; around 89% (98) of students thought that the assignment after every unit completion will place an extra burden on them, whereas 92.6% (38) of teachers thought that assignment after every unit completion is necessary. Mental rehearsal was a new activity introduced from the last year and almost all teachers and students felt that they are getting benefitted from it. Nearly 72.8% (79) of the students found CLOs to be unimportant, whereas 95.1% (39) of teachers thought that CLOs help teachers to be more specific. Around 29.2% (12) of teaching faculty agreed to include multiple-choice questions (MCQs) in the lecture, whereas 100% (110) of students responded that MCQs must be included in the lecture. A small number of (29.2% [12]) teachers agreed to include problem-solving approach in didactic teaching as they thought it is time-consuming, whereas 92.7% (102) of students thought that the problem-solving approach is more intellectually challenging [Table 2].
Table 2: Percentage of agreement among students and teachers about ways to make didactic method effective learning method

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The students as well as the teachers agreed that sometimes the lecture should be delivered in a different environment. Nearly 68.2% of students and 89% of teachers thought that class taken in open garden will break the monotony of lecture.

Around 80.9% of students and 29.2% of teaching faculty agreed that the lecture needs to be delivered through smart board with good visibility. However, 90% of students and 21.9% of teaching faculty thought that the blackboard with chalk is a good alternative.

When teachers were asked about providing the students with lecture notes, 74% disagreed as they thought that reference book reading is essential to develop reading skills among students. Around 9.7 % of teachers and 41.8% of students agreed that humorous activities is essential to avoid boredom in classroom.


  Discussion Top


A total of 151 participants agreed to participate in the study. These participants were 110 students and 41 teachers from various departments of the College of Applied Health Sciences. There was a high degree of agreement (95.1%–97.9%) between students and teachers about displaying the topics at the start of the semester and also a moderate degree of agreement between the students and teachers about the time schedule of classes. Similar conclusion was drawn in few studies on effective learning process.[19],[20],[21] Most of the students (96% (102)) and teachers (89% [37]) agreed to schedule the classes between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm. There was not a single student who agreed to schedule the classes after 04:00 pm. Scerbo et al.[22] described the role of time and clueing in the college lecture.

Many researches explore the utilization of computer-based learning and teaching such as watching videos and online live class streaming;[23] such system enables students to record the lecture and watch them at their own convenient time.[24],[25] Even though these systems offer flexible timings and convenient learning, they fail to provide a significant advantage over traditional class room teaching.[26] Didactic method of teaching requires teachers to prepare, organize, and present an information in a way which is easy to understand by the learners.[27] Teachers sometimes need to be creative in their approach as they may face an audience of different intellectual abilities.[28],[29] Therefore, lack of proper preparation, inexperience, and monotony of teacher cannot be blamed to the method.[30]

Many researches have proven that the lecture method is challenging in its own course,[31] whereas the didactic method is passive and its success depends on the attention span of learners.[32] Moreover, if a student unintentionally comes late to the class room, he/she remains unaware of the fundamentals taught at the start of the lecture,[33] which in turn forms the foundation of the concept development. Attendance and time of the lecture may not be suitable to every student, and hence teachers cancel their classes. The absence may also be due to medical and social issues experienced by a student,[34] and this leads to lack of attendance. In our study, 66.6% (72) of the students agreed to start a lecture even though the percentage of class is mere 15%, whereas 97.5% (40) of the teachers thought that the attendance must be at least 50% to start a lecture. Inclusion of MCQs in the lecture was agreed by almost all the students (100% (110)), but teachers (29%) thought otherwise. Summarizing a topic at the end of the lecture is thought to be a good practice by 59% (65) of students and 51.2% (21) of teachers. Around 49.8% (20) of teachers thought that the summarization may not be possible every time due to lack of time and the number of topics to be covered in a stipulated period of time. Classes conducted in the morning were preferred by all the students and all the teachers, probably because of fresh mind and better attention span.[35] About 98% of students thought that the class must be stopped at the scheduled time as it may disturb the schedule of proceeding classes.[36] Around 89% of the teachers preferred to use overhead projector and very small proportion of the teachers preferred to use smart boards while teaching, probably due to complexity and unfamiliarity about the system.[37] In contrast, 78% of students preferred smart board as they found it similar to blackboard method, with which they were familiar at school.

There are a plenty of researches conducted on smart board method of teaching compared to chalk-and-board method of teaching. Around 80.9%-90 % of students agreed to study through chalk-and-board method. The fundamental difference between the two methods is that smart board uses smart pen to write on computer screen, whereas the chalk-and-board method uses chalk on the blackboard. There are other advantages to smart board teaching as it allows teachers to save the previous writing and include video demonstration of the topic in hand. In many studies, it is proven to cause better learning when PowerPoint presentation is combined with chalk-and-board method than using them alone. Although smart board and chalk method was preferred by a majority of students, teachers' preference was equally distributed with a majority (36.5%) opting for PowerPoint presentation. PowerPoint presentation is easy to use as compared to smart board and can be used to present information in bulk. The teachers preferred PowerPoint presentation as they are required to cover a plethora of content in a limited time.

Nearly 97.2% (88) of students thought that the ideal duration of the lecture is 50 min and, in contrast, 76.5% (31) of teachers thought that the duration of the lecture should not be fixed but must depend on the topic being taught. Teachers had a different opinion about the number of lectures per day. Teachers thought that two lectures per day is sufficient, whereas students thought that three lectures per day is sufficient, although the teachers added that the average duration of these two lectures must be more than 50 min. Similar researches were conducted on the ideal duration of class and it was found that 45–55 min needs to be the maximum duration of theory class taught in didactic fashion.[38]

The most important technique is mental rehearsal,[39] where a student does mental practice of the topic taught. Group mental practice can be organized by a teacher instructing the students to close their eyes and think about the topics taught today. Majority of students and teachers thought the teaching should utilize various facilities in the college such as canteen, gymnasium [Figure 1] etc. Students mainly have to think about the main highlights of the topic and it is not necessary that a student recollect every word uttered by a teacher. Students found the mental rehearsal relaxing and effective in retaining the contents of the topic taught. Around 110% (110) of students and 97.5% (40) of teachers thought that mental rehearsal leads to better learning.
Figure 1: Teachers' and students' opinion about place to study other than class room

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Attention span of an individual will last for 20 min and there are various ways to gain deviant attention of students; one of the techniques is changing the tone and other is physical exercises such as stretching. Our study revealed that the monotony in the class can be avoided by question–answer session, or teachers being witty [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Teachers' and students' opinion about method of delivery of lecture

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Solving the doubts of the students was another point of disagreement between the teachers and students. Only 93.5% of students and 7.5% of teachers stated that they should be allowed to ask question at any time [Figure 3].
Figure 3: Teachers' and students' opinion about avoiding boredom during lecture

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Limitations

Our study explored the opinion and understanding of didactic teaching among a small group of students and teachers. Therefore, it may not be applied in other different scenarios of teaching practice.

Future research

Future research is recommended to include students from various different universities.


  Conclusions Top


Our study revealed six new ways of which teachers and students highly agree will improve the quality of didactic lecture. These points are as follows:

  1. Smart board teaching is a better option than merely using PowerPoint presentation or chalk and board teaching
  2. Mental rehearsal can be a useful tool to improve the retention and learning among students
  3. Number of classes per day shall not be more than 3
  4. The ideal duration of class is 50 min
  5. Classes must be scheduled in the morning
  6. Summarization of topic at the end lecture.


Future studies

Future studies including survey covering the entire Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are needed.

Acknowledgment

We thank Dr. Kurle and colleagues, Seth GS Medical College, Mumbai, for giving us permission to use their questionnaire.

Financial support and sponsorship

This study was financially supported by the College of Applied Medical Science, Al Majmaah University.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


  Appendix 1 Top


Appendix 1: Questionnaire on good teaching habits

  1. Information about all the topics at the start of the semester?


    1. Agree
    2. disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  2. Teachers must clear the fundamental concepts with examples


    1. Agree
    2. disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  3. MCQs about the topic and the end of the lecture


    1. Agree
    2. disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  4. Summary of the topic at the end of lecture


    1. Agree
    2. disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  5. Question-answer session at the end of the lecture


    1. Agree
    2. disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  6. The lecturer must adhere to the class timings


    1. Agree
    2. disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  7. Take home assignments necessary after every unit completion


    1. Agree
    2. Disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  8. Students must practice mental rehearsal and try to think about the topics taught?


    1. Agree
    2. Disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  9. Class learning objectives by teachers at the start of the lecture?


    1. Agree
    2. Disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  10. Teachers must use strategies like think, pair and share at the end of the lecture?


    1. Agree
    2. Disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  11. Regular feedback about the lecture by the students?


    1. Agree
    2. Disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  12. Make lecture more active by introducing a problem and ask students to solve it?


    1. Agree
    2. Disagree


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  13. If you are ask to learn/teach outside your class room which of the following will you choose.


    1. Garden
    2. Canteen
    3. Gymnasium
    4. Other facilities in the university please mention in comments section.


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  14. Suitable time for the class


    1. 8 am–12 pm
    2. 12 pm–4 pm
    3. after 4 pm


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  15. Mode of delivery of lecture


    1. Chalk and talk
    2. Power point
    3. Over-head projector
    4. smart boar


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  16. Important points before the start of lecture


    1. Always
    2. Sometimes
    3. Not necessary


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

    Summary of the previous related topics

    1. Done by teacher
    2. Done by students
    3. Not required


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  17. Duration if the class


    1. Half an hour
    2. 45 min
    3. 1 h
    4. 1½ h


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

    Number of classes for a day

    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
    5. 5


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  18. Study material must be


    1. Dictated by teacher
    2. Given as copy of PowerPoint slides
    3. Not be given


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  19. Best way to avoid boredom during a lecture by?


    1. Group task
    2. Cracking jokes
    3. Give breaks
    4. Ask questions


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  20. Teaching answering queries from the students?


    1. Anytime
    2. At the end


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  21. Consensus between teachers and students about minimum attendance before the start of lecture


    1. Doesn't matter
    2. 25%
    3. 50%
    4. 75%
    5. 100%


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  22. Do you practice mental rehearsal after a lecture?


    1. All the time.
    2. Occasionally
    3. Rarely
    4. Never.


    Comments (if Any):__________________________________________________________

  23. Which of the following is best for effective learning and retention?


    1. Chalk and board
    2. PowerPoint presentation
    3. Smartboard teaching
    4. Mere lecture


    Give reason why:




 
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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
 
 
    Tables

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Abstract
Introduction
Subjects and Methods
Results
Discussion
Conclusions
Appendix 1
References
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