ICT 1 Section 4 – Presenting explanations and instructions
Practical tips for giving instructions
When introducing new material, we often need to give explicit descriptions or definitions of concepts or processes. One type of explanation that is very important in teaching is giving instructions.
Inadequate explanation of new ideas to students can result in lesson failure.
Students see your ability to explain things well as one of the essential qualities of a good teacher.
A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS DANGEROUS
Don't think that just because you know something you can present it!!!
Improvising is dangerous. DON'T DO IT.
Prepare for presentations
Prepare for presenting explanations and instructions by:
- Thinking about the words, you will use
- Creating or getting illustrations or other supporting material you need
- Writing down keywords and perhaps a brief script
- Practising a few times until you feel comfortable
THE FALLACY OF TRYING TO CATCH UP
Students' attention may sometimes stray; they can usually make up what they have lost later.
Make sure you have the class' full attention
- When you are explaining something, they must pay attention.
- Your presentation is the only chance they have to get the information they need.
- If they miss bits, they will find themselves in difficulties later and bug you to explain again, which will delay your class.
- For group tasks, NEVER divide up the class or give materials until you have finished presenting.
Present information more than once
DON'T BE AFRAID TO REPEAT IF NECESSARY
Student attention wanders, so it is vital to give them more than one chance to understand what they have to do.
- Always repeat or paraphrase critical information because it reinforces intake.
- Present the information in different ways; for example, say it and write it up on the board.
BE BRIEF; IT'S A VIRTUE
We all have a limited attention span and cannot listen attentively for very long periods at maximum concentration.
- Giving too much information can cause confusion
- Make your explanation as brief and precise as you can
- Think carefully about what you should say
- Think carefully about what you can leave out
Illustrate with examples
DON'T GET THEORETICAL, IT'S UNREAL TO MOST PEOPLE
Very often a careful theoretical explanation only "comes together" when illustrated with an example or two.
- Try explaining "Happy" and "Sad" to someone who speaks little English, then show the person a picture of a smiling child receiving an ice cream and a sad-looking child being refused one. After a while, the person may understand the explanation but will undoubtedly understand "Happy" and "Sad" a lot faster by looking at the pictures.
- You could explain the meaning of a word by showing examples of its use in various contexts.
- Try to relate examples to the students' own lives and experiences.
- Try doing a "dry run" of an activity before getting the class started on it.
- Try using a volunteer before inviting the rest to join in.
ALWAYS CHECK THEY UNDERSTOOD THE INSTRUCTIONS
If you don't, the class will do what they think you said, do something completely different or do nothing at all.
- ALWAYS check with your class that they have understood
- DO NOT ASK, "Do you understand?", the answer will almost always be "yes" because,
- The students are too polite to say "No"
- They don't want to lose face with their peers
- Because they think they know what they have to do but have entirely misunderstood
- Ask them to do something that will show their understanding: for example,
- paraphrase what you said; or
- make relevant and coherent additions to what you said.