But what is a good lecture? It surely isn't just packing as many facts in as possible (I refer you to previous quotations of the opening paragraphs from Hard Times in evidence). Being knowledgeable isn't enough either: I remember being lectured by a very wise man who handed out his entire lecture on tiny type-script sheets and proceeded to read it out, word for word, very slowly.
You've got to be aware of your audience. How much do they know? How do they think about the material in hand? Have they read it, and/or understood it? How do they relate to it. It's not just 'what they need to know' but 'how they need to think around it'. We always say that a lecture is never The Answer but an introduction to some of the questions - which might be very frustrating for paying customers but is very fruitful for academics (and I include students in this category). Seminars are meant to explore the ideas, and sometimes do.
Anyway, George Watson at the Times Higher Ed. has been thinking about this subject. Here are some of his aperçus:
Edward Gibbon: "The most idle will carry something away, and the more diligent will compare the instructions which they have heard in the school with the volumes which they peruse in their chamber."
you have to forget what you are told. A lecturer cannot think about technique as he lectures: he can think only about what he is saying. In other words, advice must be absorbed to the point that it is taken for granted.Some of my colleagues have the amazing skill to discourse interestingly and at length without notes. I can't do that as I have the brain of a distracted goldfish with a lot on his mind. I prepare massive sheaves of notes which I then ignore unless I'm lost and panicking - they're a prop and provide a structure. I don't build in artificial little activities ('take two minutes and discuss with your neighbours what Lacan would say about Winstanley') but I do ask questions of the audience and ask them to interrupt me whenever they want: the idea of delivering 'stuff' to a passive group is revolting. And fashionable: they'd like to replace us with DVDs and online video, as though education is just consumption.
Who are the good teachers you remember, and why?