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Untitled lecture given to members of staff of the University of Edinburgh, 1950

Identifier: Coll-1310/3/1/3/7

Scope and Contents

The lecture comprises of Thomson's advice to new and inexperienced lecturers, and covers topics such as the audibility and clarity of the lecturer; the importance of the lecturer believing in what they are saying; the importance of engaging with the audience; effective use of blackboards, notes, diagrams, examples and models; and the use of humour.

Thomson's humour is clear throughout. The advice he offers is actually very unusual for this time – Lawn et all describe it as an innovative step in university teaching, probably about 15 years before the subject began to take hold with the expansion of the universities and the publication of the hale report.


  • Creation: 1950


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Lady Thomson's annotations suggest the lecture was initially delivered to the medical faculty following the suggestion of Sir James Learmonth, and was given to the arts and science faculties thereafter.

The lecture was recorded as a demonstration to teachers on 5 rpm discs, which have survived and are housed at Edinburgh University Library Special Collections.


2 typescript copies, 21pp each

Physical Location


Related Materials

Coll-1448, Collection of recordings (78rpm) of the lecture.


M. Lawn, I.J Deary, C. Brett, D.J Bartholomew Godfrey Thomson and the rise of university pedagogical study: a recorded lecture delivered at the University of Edinburgh in November 1950 by Godfrey H Thomson: a transcript with commentary, History of Education, 38:4, (2009) 565-585.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
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