The lecture, or in clinical settings the lecture-demonstration, is fundamentally a continuous and coherent talk from the teacher to the students. It may be organized around a presentation of a patient (as in a Grand Rounds) with the lecturer bringing out salient clinical facts from the examination of the patient and then expanding on what these features represent for diagnosis and treatment. Other lectures may be efforts at distilling information found in books and periodicals to make them more accessible and comprehensible.
A lecture is not a conversation to be broken into at random moments by the listeners but rather a presentation of ideas by someone who has thought them through and needs uninterrupted time to present with clarity. The time for discussion is after the lecture is finished. 'The essence of this kind of teaching, and its purpose, are a steady flow of information going from the teacher to the pupils'.(6) Indeed, a lecture is a personal presentation of a set of facts and opinions. Because any lecture must be a relatively brief presentation it cannot be encyclopaedic, but it should be a pedagogical whole resting upon the lecturer's point of view about what is most important. For psychiatrists lectures represent the best means for delivering broad-ranging facts and opinions. Lecturers can present in a brief span of time those general principles which would take a beginner much effort to gather on his or her own.
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