THE ART, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF TEACHING
(By Prof. Dr. Babu Philip,
Former Professor of Marine Biochemistry and Research Guide,
Department of Marine Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry,
Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.)
We gather information through the sense organs. The relative contribution of each faculty is: 1 % through taste,
1.5 % through touch, 3.5 % through smell, 11 % through hearing and 83 % through sight. This shows the importance of visual and verbal media in classroom communication.
Words and figures are either written with marker pens or printed on transparent sheets for projection. The choice of colours and contrast need special attention. Highlighting of major ideas is more effective than crowding of ideas. The size of letters should be adjusted to enable clear reading by all in the hall. Use of pointer or laser pointer is essential while explaining a point but avoid projecting the full text of a lecture and reading the matter without eye contact with the audience. Switch off the projector when not in use.
Teaching materials prepared using programmes like
‘PowerPoint’ and ‘Flash’ and projected directly onto the screen (eg. Using LCD or LED projector) are becoming very common. The choice of colour and size of letters, background colours, animation and sound effects requires careful planning and trial before every presentation. Highlighting of major ideas with minimum words and clear illustrations is better than excessive writing.
AND WHITE BOARD
Use of writing boards requires careful planning and practice. Special attention should be given to the size, colour and depth of letters. The space between letters, words and lines should be adjusted for clear and easy reading even by those seated at the back of the audience. Underlining or use of special and brilliant colours can highlight salient points. Avoid excessive writing and present the major points with minimum words and effective illustrations.
Avoid errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. Use a pointer to explain without obstruction. Erase the writing after explaining each idea.
B…LOW-COST AND NO-COST VISUAL MEDIA
During a lecture, visual media may be exhibited to draw the attention of the audience. These include objects, specimens, models, photos, pictures, diagrams, charts, graphs, maps etc.
The presentation should be relevant and clearly visible to everyone. Use of flannel graph requires careful preparation. Clearly written words, neatly drawn diagrams, etc. on drawing paper with pieces of emery paper glued to the back can be effectively projected on a spread sheet of flannel and exhibited before the audience with good versatility. The materials can be removed and replaced by new sheets easily during a lecture.
C…TEACHER AS AN AUDIOVISUAL MEDIUM
Display a positive attitude of interest and enthusiasm and begin the lecture by greeting the audience with a smile.
The teacher should be clearly visible to the audience. While lecturing your eyes should observe the face of everyone in the audience. Based on the feedback you receive from their faces, modify the presentation suitably. Avoid unnecessary focus on the notes or the projected material. Display a pleasant facial expression as a reflection of a positive and pleasant attitude to the subject and the audience. The facial expression should change naturally to suit the topic being presented. Avoid unnecessary gestures, distracting mannerisms and stereotyped movements. Your movements before the audience should be meaningful, natural and purposeful. Practise in front of a tall mirror or a close friend and use the feedback to correct your posture and movements during a lecture.
Modulate the volume, pitch, tone and pace of the voice for a natural and conversational style of presentation. The lecture should be clearly audible to everyone in the audience. Vary the pace or speed of presentation to suit the grasping ability of the audience and the complexity of the subject. Avoid very rapid talk. Occasional pause and repetition may be needed to introduce novel and difficult ideas.
The language must be simple, pleasing and interesting. Use correct, meaningful and short sentences. Use a simple, direct, pleasing and interesting natural style and avoid a hard or bombastic style. The pronunciation should be correct, clear and natural and not overstylish or erroneous. Use a tape-recorder or a friend’s guidance to evaluate and modify your voice and mode of presentation.
Your response to the questions from the audience must be encouraging and tolerant. Invite questions and clarifications with confidence. If the answer to a question is not known to you, display the humility to accept your inability and seek an expert’s opinion to get the correct answer.
Explanations of difficult concepts should be simple, varied and meaningful and at the correct level of the audience. Present suitable examples, incidents and experiences to explain difficult ideas. They should be relevant, familiar, interesting, simple and brief and capable of arousing curiosity. Use relevant anecdotes and short stories to make your narration interesting and meaningful.
Develop and display a strong sense of humour and maintain a healthy, pleasant relationship with the audience.
E…PLANNING AND PREPARATON
Effective teaching needs intensive planning and extensive preparation. Suitable teaching media have to be designed and prepared sufficiently early. Illustrative anecdotes and examples are very helpful to clarify difficult ideas. The ideas and media should be arranged and presented in a logical sequence.
The matter and manner of presentation should be appropriate to the needs and background of the audience. Management of time needs special attention.
The conclusion should include a summary of the salient points presented and suggestions to apply the information.
With creative efforts and constant practice we can develop efficient and effective skills of communication for an impressive presentation.
© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India, Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally, Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Alfeen Public School, Kanjirappally, Kerala, India.
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