Methods: A quasi-experimental study was conducted on 40 nursing students to assess the effects of three methods. The course content was divided into three sections and each section was taught using a different method. The students? anxiety was assessed at start and at the end of sections. The students? satisfaction and their exam score were evaluated at the end of sections.
Results: Mean exam score of the students was 12.62 for traditional lecture, 14.80 for Socratic Method and 15.10 for the students' lectures. The students learning satisfaction was higher at the end of Socratic Method and students' lectures method. Traditional lectures induced the least anxiety while the Socratic Method induced the most.
Conclusions: Socratic Method and students' lectures are more preferred by the students. Level of the students' anxiety could be diminished through more preparations.
The present study showed that the students? scores were higher in the two methods of "Socratic Method" and "students' lectures" than the traditional teacher's lecture method. This finding indicates that the students? learning was more in these two methods than the traditional lectures.
In recent years several researchers have compared lectures and more active teaching methods. Conflicting results then were reported. For example, some researchers have reported that no significant differences were observed between the students? scores in traditional lectures versus active methods like working in small groups and multimedia or computer assisted teaching methods (Jeffries et al. 2003, McDonald 2003, Salimi et al. 2007).
However, some other investigators have indicated that the students? scores in nursing and other fields were higher when they were taught using problem based learning, group discussions or role playing, than groups taught with traditional lectures (Johnson & Mighten 2005, Hazavehei & Taghdisi 2006, Dehkordi 2008). Consequently, we can conclude that the more active teaching methods can bring more effective learning than traditional lectures.
Scientists in education
see learning as a
process of actively exploring information and formation of meaning by
linking it to previous knowledge and experience (Alesandrini &
Larson 2002). Accordingly, the teachers are encouraged not to teach the
contents but to teach the students how to learn (Palmer 2003). Hence,
students' participation in the education/learning process and
substitution of self-directed learning opportunities for the
traditional lecture are being emphasized (Glenn 2000).
It is believed
that such engagement will deepen the students? understanding of the
course material, will encourages them to assume a major responsibility
in the learning process, will help them improve their intellectual,
interpersonal and team work skills, will improve their ability and
skills to search, obtain, and organize information, will improve their
ability to identify and solve problems and will help them set the
foundation for life-long learning (Wilke 2003, O?Shea 2003, Debessay
& Lerner 2004, Joyce et al. 2005).
In the present study, the teacher's lecture method induced the least anxiety while Socratic Method induced the most. The student's lectures induced moderate anxiety.
difference between the students? anxiety
scores at the beginning of the three methods can be referred to the
students? confrontation with new expectations. Despite the apparent
advantages of question and answer method, some researches indicated
that students do not like to become involved in this manner (Hodges
& Harvey 2002). This finding is relatively consistent with our
study and possibly refers the facts that the classroom environment and
speaking in public can induce feelings such as evaluation apprehension
(the fear of negative evaluation by other group members) and social
anxiety (Elliott 2005, Wilson 2005).
Some reports have shown
students? inactivity in traditional teacher-centered classes would make
them bored and exhausted that consequently would decrease their
concentration and learning and finally would result in their absence
from the classroom (Fasihi-Harandi et al. 2007). Conversely high levels
of anxiety could also negatively affect one's ability to endure,
concentrate, perceive and to learn (Jegede 2007).
Our results showed that the students? satisfaction has increased by increasing their involvement in teaching/learning activities. Other studies have indicated that most of students prefer active teaching methods and in their view, good teachers are the ones who encourage the students? involvement in teaching/learning activities (Salsali 2005, Abu-Moghli et al. 2005, Coleman et al. 2001, Jeffries et al. 2003).