“The best lectures draw on careful preparation as well as spontaneous revelation. [They impart facts, but also model argumentation, all the while responding to their audience’s nonverbal cues.”
– Tokumitsu, 2017, para.7
Darling-Hammond, Austin, Orcutt and Rossow (2001) maintain that teachers play a critical role in the physical classroom by “organizing the learning environment to provide students with active, hands on learning and authentic tasks and audiences for their work (cited in McKnight, O’Malley, Rzic, Horsley, Franey and Basset, 2016 p. 195). Further, they argue that teachers help to “build social interactions among learners and promote learning as partnership” (ibid).
Humans can be creatures of habit, and “the regular timing of lectures can contribute to their sociality, establishing a course’s rhythm” (Tokumitsu, 2017a, para. 8) and draws students together at the same time and place, creating the potential to develop a sense of community. In addition to the content explored in the classroom, face-to-face teaching has the power to transform lives by bringing people together to engage with concepts and materials, build relationships, network, share ideas and respond to spontaneous conversation (2017b, para. 7). According to Stern (2004), students between the ages 18-24 “believe they learn more in face-to-face courses, but choose online courses for various personal reasons” (p.206). Perhaps face-to-face instruction isn’t the only part of tradition that students still favour. In her research with university students’ reading preferences, Baron (2016) discovered that a substantial number of university students actually preferred to read text in print over text on a digital screen.
"The concept of the face-to-face classroom is evolving to encompass a new functionality, and as this functionality expands, so does the potential for employing new and innovative methods of learning"
- Brown & Lippincott, 2003 cited in Barrera, Ho, Garcia, Traphagan and Chang,2010, p. 2
Jacobsen (2016) supports responsible and limited use of technology within a in a face-to-face classroom setting. While she recognizes some of the benefits that e-learning has – for both students and instructors in online teaching environments – she suggests that true successful student-centered learning takes place in the classroom when instructors implement technology in appropriate and innovative ways for “academic rigour, authenticity, assessment that is deliberately woven into the work […] used in purposeful and authentic ways, [and provides] connections with experts beyond the school, constructivist approaches to learning, and relevance beyond the classroom” (para. 9). She argues that Web 2.0 learning environments can be used as a tool to foster collaborative online social learning opportunities, but that it must go “beyond providing access to traditional course materials and educational tools to create a participatory architecture for supporting communities of learners” (ibid.)
“…[Students] need engaged and skilled teachers to guide and mentor them towards the deeper conceptual understandings and core competencies that allow them to reason about real-world problems, critically analyze information,and engage successfully in 21st century work”.
– Jacobsen, 2010, para.6