In the previous presentation on teaching methods, we looked at the learner-centered methods of teaching which placed the interest of the learners first. It also seeks to develop the aptitude, thinking abilities, knowledge and exposure of students through teaching and learning methods such as role play, simulation, field trips among others.
In today’s presentation, we bring you the teacher oriented methods of teaching.
The Lecture method
The lecture method of teaching is the traditional method of teaching where the teacher transmits information in an autocratic fashion to passive student listeners. It is an activity in which a teacher teaches a group of students using mainly verbal exposition. It is one way verbal communication. In the pure form, students have no opportunity to ask questions or offer comments during the lecture.
The purpose of the lecture is to present basic facts or concepts to a relatively large group of students. It is useful in explaining difficult or complex concepts before students engage in an activity such as an experiment or read a text. The lecture may also be effective after an introductory activity or demonstration has captured students’ attention and sparked their curiosity. Ideally, the lecture is illustrated with usual aids or accompanied with demonstration and includes student participation in a way. With young students, especially, the teacher should avoid talking for a long period without involving students actively.
But why lecture?
One simple reason for lecturing is that it has long been a traditional method of teaching. Another is that current patterns of tertiary education ensure that there are few alternative modes available. But if we accept that lecturing is here to stay, then there are some safe conclusions supported by research which can be drawn about the purpose which lectures may usefully serve.
Lectures are not effective for demonstrating practical skill or detailed procedures or having students apply ideas, solve problems or clarify values.
But lectures can be used to present and organize information, promote understanding or concepts and ideas, and create interest in the subject.
Studies of students’ note taking indicate that at best, half of the material is recorded adequately, while some students get as little as a tenth.
As the lecture begins, gaining attention and arousing motivation will be important. Obviously, unless students are attentive, they will not take in information as they suppose. Some lecturers initially win attention of students through a habitually adopted position, a regular opening phrase or a certain gestural signal. The teacher is responsible for providing some stimulus which indicates to students that the lecture is commencing.
But it is clear in all learning contexts that unless an external stimulus is quickly followed by arousal of internal motives within students, attention will fade and learning will not take place.
Now while the whole area of motivation is broad and poorly understood, lecturers will be more effective in their teaching if they can tap these factors which relate to students’ needs, attitudes, incentives, drives , values and understanding. In short, anything that gives them the desire to learn.
The effective utilization of the lecture method of teaching requires certain activities that should be done before and during the delivery of the lesson. They are:
- Outline the main points and organize them in an orderly manner.
- List the key questions and illustrations.
- Prepare handouts that assist students in listening or note-taking.
- Prepare visual aids.
- Plan timing to allow for questions and discussions.
- Keep presentation as brief as possible.
- Prepare notes for reference, but not to be read.
- Outline the main points on the clipboard (especially if pupils are expected to take notes).
- Generate interest from the beginning. Use an attention getter or thought provoker (picture, question, story, simple puzzle, exercise).
- Maintain eye contact with different pupils.
- Vary voice, facial expressions, gestures, and positions.
- Use humor and surprise.
- Illustrate main points with concrete examples, analogies and examples.
- Use non-verbal stimuli and illustrations, pictures, models, props, symbols and gestures.
- Involve pupils by soliciting questions, examples and responses.
- Check on pupils’ comprehension at intervals during the lecture.
- Repeat and reinforce key points and words.
- End before pupils’ attention is lost.
- Guide pupils to summarize main points.
- Solicit and respond positively to students’ questions.
- Redirect questions for other students to answer.
- Structure small group discussions with a problem to solve or a question to answer.
Some platform behaviors to observe when lecturing.
- Relax: Do some deep breathing, stretching, and relaxing beforehand.
- Stand up straight when lecturing: A slouching posture or making an inadvertent comment about feelings for the subject pose a barrier between you and the students.
- Make eye contact with the audience: Look for “friendly eyes” and talk to them. In so doing you are showing that you want to make contact and that you feel your subject is worth hearing about. Avoid a person with the “teach-me-I-dare-you” expression. Go with the energy not the resistance.
- Don’t play with things: If you have the tendency to put your hands into your pocket, empty them of keys, coins or anything that might unconsciously jingle.
- Speak strongly and clearly: Use a conversational style with variety in rate of speaking, pause, tonal inflections, rhythms and volume changes. Have a friend or colleague tape record part of presentations for you to listen to later, as a way of getting some feedback for yourself.
- Pause frequently: Pause frequently for effectiveness and let the students catch up with you.
- Keep the vocabulary at students’ level: Do not use ‘big’ words to impress the students. This is not the time to show off! Explain technical words relating to the topic. Put them on visual display.
- Question and Answer method
Almost every teaching model requires the use of questioning. Questions are powerful tools for stimulating thought and checking student’s comprehension. They also can be used to encourage quiet students to participate in class, to promote interest and curiosity in a topic and to spark discussion.
Students’ responses tell the teacher much about the success of the teaching in meeting the objectives.
A question and answer activity can increase motivation and provide variation from passive forms of listening, reading and written exercises.
Finally, questioning can help to focus attention on a particular point.
Types of questions
The teacher should have knowledge on various kinds of questions that which can elicit different kinds and levels of thinking. Here are some types of questions you can use as a teacher in your lesson delivery.
- Direct (convergent): This type of question seeks for facts, recall of information or description from memory. As the word “direct” suggests, this type of questions do not seek to probe the minds of pupils or make them reason further before providing responses.
- Probing: follow up questions for clarification, expansion and justifications or to redirect response.
- Higher order: ask for analysis, evaluation, problem solving, comparison, cause and effect or interference. They are introduced by the words how and why to stimulate thought.
- Divergent( open-minded) : ask for opinion, judgement or interpretations.
The types of questions presented above are at the disposal of a teacher to use. However, knowing when and how to use them is very important in achieving desired outcomes in a lesson. In a ntsell, there are tips to follow in achieving success in questioning. Here are some basic tips to guide you as a teacher in questioning.
Tips on questioning
- Thinking it through
Give yourself time to think about the question you want to ask. Phrase it to yourself in your head.
- As part of your lesson presentation, write out a few key questions designed to check pupils’ understanding or provoke discussion.
- Use thinking questions as well as recall of thought; “who” and “why” questions usually require some degree of thought; “who”, “when” , “ where” questions elicit information.
- Direct the questions to the entire group
- Do not mention the name of the pupil who is to answer a question before asking the question. This discourages the rest of the class from thinking about the answer.
- Avoid “ can anyone tell me…” or “ does anyone know…” type of phrases in asking questions. They are seen as rhetorical questions. Pupils seldom respond to them. Rather, let your questions be straight forward, demanding the right response. Use direct phrases such as “mention three examples of…” , “explain the term…” , “what is…”
The use of such phrases in questioning tends to engage the whole class as they all ponder over the question and the response to provide.
- Keep the question simple
Avoid irrelevant or confusing information. Limit the question to a main thought or idea.
- Give a pause after asking a question
Three to four seconds “wait time” is necessary to give pupils time to think.
DISCLAIMER: Contact us on [email protected], The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Sismomex.com. Check our editorial policy