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SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science

Modul e 3( Par t 1) : MI CRO- TEACHING SKILLS
This chapter discusses on microteaching and teaching techniques or skills to be imparted in
the classroom. The guiding principles for effective science teaching will be elaborated
further. The skills required for effective science teaching are introduction, reinforcement,
variation, questioning, explaining and illustrating.
By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:
1. explain what is microteaching;
. describe the skill of introduction, variation and questioning; and
!. clarify the guiding principles of the above skills for effective science teaching.
The science teacher in the classroom uses many techniques and procedures to bring about
learning by his students. These include introducing, demonstrating, explaining, questioning
or the teacher could make use of non"verbal behaviours such as gesturing, nodding and
smiling. The sets or groups of activities which teachers use with the intention of helping
their students learn can be called teaching skills. The experienced teacher would have
acquired a number of these skills and use them in his or her teaching. The effective
teachers would carefully select from their skills, activities that suit the age and ability of
the students and lesson ob#ectives.
The student teacher will not have a wide range of activities and skills as he or she has had
little practice choosing which activities and skills to use. The student teacher may
find it rather difficult to use these skills, as at the same time considerations have to be
given to classroom management, organi$ation and also discipline.
%or many years, teacher educators and trainers in colleges and universities had to
face problems of providing students with a range of activities and skills to make them
competent teachers. &onventional teaching includes complex sets of skills, which are not
easy for student teachers to understand or to make them as a part of their own teaching.
'ne way to solve the problem is to use the skill"based tasks approach of microteaching.
(icroteaching allows the student teacher to practice one skill on its own, and then combine
it with others when it has been mastered.
%rom 1)*+s to 1),+s, research in teacher education in various universities has shown that
microteaching methods used in con#unction with conventional methods help to improve
teacher training. -t has also been found that when microteaching was used with in"service
teachers, it created a more critical and innovative awareness of teaching techniques and
/ctivity 1:
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
0isit this website for an idea about what microteaching is all about.
http:11bokcente r.fas.harvard.edu1docs1microteaching.html
(icroteaching is a method that enables student teachers or in"service teachers to practice a
skill or a combination of skills by teaching short lessons to a small number of students, or a
group of peers. 2ormally, a micro"lesson of between + to !+ minutes is taught to eight to
ten students or peers. 3ince it is difficult to gather students from a school to attend the
lesson, fellow student teachers or teachers can be used as the student group.
/ science supervisor, using an evaluation guide, usually rates the lesson and then discusses
it with the student teacher. 4hen closed circuit television is available, the evaluation form
may not be needed. The student teacher learns his or her weaknesses, alters the approach
used if necessary, and later repeats teaching the lesson to another group. 5e or she can
also choose a different topic to teach the same group. The repeat lesson is also rated
by the supervisor and evaluated by the student. The most important point in microteaching
is that teaching is practiced in terms of definable, observable, measurable and controllable
5ow can microteaching teaching help you in your science classroom6 7ive one example.
/mong the many claims made for the use of microteaching are listed below.
8 3kills are selected and discussed in the preparatory session.
8 9eal or simulated teaching with students or peers takes place.
8 Trainee teachers receive a great deal of feedback about their performances.
8 The microteaching method is flexible and can be applied to a variety of situations.
8 (icroteaching removes most discipline, control and organi$ational activities. Thus,
allowing the trainee teachers to concentrate on teaching skills.
8 Teachers develop habits and mannerisms. They can be made aware of these
mannerisms by a microteaching course.
8 The available students can play the role of pupils in a simulated classroom, thus cutting
costs of trainers travelling outside faculty.
1$)$1 T+e I,-orta./e o0 &eed1a/2
%eedback are assessment by observers :teacher trainer, per groups; on the specific
teaching skills performed. / video recorded teaching is another mean to get feedback.
Both these items are used in analysis session to help student teacher improves the skill.
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
(icroteaching does not equip student teacher with all the skills they require
professionally. -t is not concerned with how teachers plan a course or lesson lasting several
weeks, or even how to choose the content for a single lesson. The special concern of
microteaching is the skills used by teachers in face"to"face classroom contact.
-deally, micro teaching skills are classroom behaviours that are rather specific, definable,
observable, quantifiable and known related to students learning.
The skills dealt with in this chapter have been carefully selected because they foster teacher"
student interaction. These skills can be categori$ed into four main areas namely:
8 presentation;
8 communication;
8 motivation; and
8 questioning.
-n particular, these skills include:
:i; 3kill of -ntroduction1set induction1orientation;
:ii; 3kill of 9einforcement;
:iii; 3kill of stimulus 0ariation;
:iv; 3kill of <uestioning;
:v; 3kill of =xplaining;
:vi; 3kill of -llustrating;
:vii; 3kill of >sing blackboard or whiteboard;
:viii; 3kill of >sing transparency1'5?1appropriate teaching aids; and
:ix; 3kill of >sing multimedia.
Note: -n this chapter, we are going to discuss only the first six skills in more details
because the last three skills :skills in the use of blackboard, '5?, and the multimedia;
have been taught in several other courses. @ou should refer to these courses during the
microteaching session that will be held in the final part of this unit.
1$3$1 T+e S23ll o0 I.trodu/t3o.45et 3.du/t3o.4or3e.tat3o.
The skill of introduction1set induction1orientation is very much concerned with the way the
teacher introduces a lesson or particular unit within a lesson. The beginning part of the
teaching episode should be one in which the students feel there exists a conducive
atmosphere for learning. The teacher must induce the learning tasks to be taken in his
studentsA minds and prepare them to be ready for it.
The teacher will need to gain and hold the attention of his students to motivate them to
listen, think and learn. 5e or she must also guide students in the direction he or she wants
them to go. 4here necessary, establish clear links with studentsA previous knowledge.
4henever an activity is to be done, the teacher can ask students to suggest ways and
means of approaching the work to be completed. 0ariation is another skill which should
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
come into play and be an integral part of the skill of introduction.
9esearch has revealed that much of the success of any lesson will depend upon the
effective use of the teacherAs skill in introducing the topic or key concepts to be learnt. -t is
evident that skill in introduction is vital in establishing the necessary teacher"student rapport
at the beginning
of each teaching episode. The skill in introduction can arouse and maintain studentsA
to learn further on the topic individually, by pairs or group discussion.
-n order to gain studentsA attention, the teacherAs use of voice, gesture and eye contact; the
use of audio"visual aids; changing the pattern of teacher and student interaction are very
important and should be considered before the teacher enters the classroom. The teacher
should show warmth and enthusiasm for the students. The teacher must ignite the studentAs
curiosity or introduce an element of surprise into the lesson or create certain
relevant phenomenon or introduce an activity.
There are a number of guiding principles which underline the skill of introduction and which
must be followed by the beginning teacher in order to be effective and successful in the start
of a lesson. The introduction must:
8 be meaningful to the students in terms of their ability, previous knowledge, and interest;
8 be seen to be relevant and related to the lesson content and ob#ectives; and
8 establish links with previous knowledge and link some familiar concepts to unfamiliar
1$3$) T+e S23ll o0 Re3.0or/e,e.t
9einforcement is the skill, which can modify or change student behaviour in a number of
positive ways. The skill is used when the teacher reinforces good behavior with a nod, a
smile, or praises a correct answer. These signs of approval usually would lead to a change
in student behaviour and attitude towards learning and work. 9einforcement which is a
simple skill, can be applied equally to an individual student or to the whole class.
9esearch on reinforcement in the forms of teacher praise and encouragement has shown
that it can increase studentsA attention, maintain motivation and modify disruptive behaviour
in the classroom. Thus encourage and improve their learning. -t has been revealed that the
use of reinforcement can give students a better self"concept and higher self"esteem. Thus,
it helps to give them confidence that they need to study about the sub#ect. There are several
forms of reinforcement that the teacher can use. 5owever, the most common ones are verbal
reinforcement, gesture reinforcement and lastly, the activity reinforcement.
-f the skill of reinforcement is used successfully, the teacher can expect to reali$e the following
8 To enhance classroom interaction and establish a good rapport with the students.
8 To improve classroom discipline by modifying disruptive or inappropriate behaviour,
especially among weak and less attentive students.
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
8 To increase studentsA confidence and help them in the development of their own learning
8 There are a number of general principles which underlie the skill of reinforcement and
which must be followed by the beginning teacher in order to be effective and
successful throughout the development of a lesson.
8 The teacher must display warmth and enthusiasm and have an open mind
towards studentsA behaviour and achievement.
8 The teacher must not ridicule or critici$e any wrong or incomplete answer given
by students.
8 The teacher should avoid using the same style or type of reinforcement
repeatedly. &onstant repetition of the same words or gestures will soon make them
meaningless to the individual student or the class as a whole.
8 The teacher should be sincere when giving praises, which should be appropriate and
commensurate to students achievement or behaviour.
/ctivity :
7ive one scenario in your science classroom that requires the skill of
reinforcement from you as an effective teacher.
1$3$3 T+e S23ll o0 St3,ulu5 #ar3at3o.
The skill of stimulus variation is the ability of the science teacher to vary the presentation
method used in a lesson. 7enerally, the teachers are very much concerned with three
main areas of teaching. These areas are:
:i; the manner, voice and personal teaching style of the teacher;
:ii; the media and materials used in the instruction; and
:iii; the teacher"student relationship during the lesson.
9esearch in these areas of teaching have shown that science teachers who make careful
use of the components of this skill are effective in holding attention, creating interest and
encouraging student learning.
/s the teacher moves across the front of the classroom, or takes a short walk on either side
of the room, the students are kept alert and attentive to what is to come next. 9estless pacing
up and down is more likely to distract studentsA attention and therefore, should be avoided at
all times. /s a teacher, you should stand straight right in front of all the students whenever
you speak to the class and maintain eye contact with every one present, so that you know if
they are listening to you.
The teacher must vary and change the speed, volume or pitch of his speech. 5ands
and head could be used naturally as gestures to emphasi$e the spoken words.
(eaningless gestures will however only distract and should be avoided. The science
teacher should ask questions pertaining to the concepts and students should be
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
encouraged to participate verbally during the lesson.
The teacher must frequently involve the different senses of the student in his teaching. 5e
or she needs to vary the activities, so that students change from the use of one sense to
another. The teacher who uses pictures, models, drawings and other forms of
instructional media could, not only increase the attention and interest but also make a
stronger impact of the information that is passed on to students.
3ometimes, the teacher needs to demonstrate in the classroom using apparatus or
materials that are small, easy to carry, but costly. 3tudents should be allowed to handle
such apparatus and materials carefully and make notes or diagrams and relate them to
their importance in daily life.
-f the skill of variation is used effectively, the science teacher can expect to reali$e the
following ob#ectives.
8 Beep the attention of the students during the period of instruction.
8 =ncourage studentsA positive attitude towards science and schooling.
8 =ncourage learning by involving students in a variety of interesting experiences.
8 &ater for students who need to make use of different senses to assimilate
scientific knowledge.
There are several underlying principles that could be used as a guide by the teacher in
using the skill of variation. These guides must be followed so that the students are not
confused and distracted with too fast changing of pattern.
8 The teacher must be very clear in his or her mind about the purpose of the variation in
the activity to be introduced.
8 The teacher must introduce the variation as smoothly as possible so that the flow of the
lesson is not interrupted.
8 The science teacher must carefully plan and organi$e his lesson particularly if the use
audio"visual aids is involved.
8 The teacher must also modify the use of variation in response to the feedback he receives
from his students.
/ctivity !:
Cist two things that need to be prepared before you can start your microteaching
based on this website.
http:11ww w .vanderbilt.edu1cft1o fferings1services1microteaching.htm
1$3$6 T+e S23ll o0 7ue5t3o.3.8
'f all the skills the teacher uses in the classroom, the skill of questioning is the most
complex and possibly one of the most under"used and under"valued. There is a
great amount of evidence to suggest that teachers do not make enough use of oral
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
questions, and those which are asked demand only a very low level of thinking. -t is
claimed, however, that teachers who become skilled in the use of questioning are not only
able to raise the level of student achievement, but also create a more effective social
and learning environment in the classroom.
There are many components and sub"components of the skill of questioning. 3ome of
them are simple in operation and can be described as basic components, while others are
complex and can be described as advanced components. %or this course, a mixture of
basic and advanced components has been selected.
:a; !a53/ 7ue5t3o.3.8
The ob#ectives of Basic <uestioning are to:
8 actively involve students in the learning process;
8 arouse studentsA attention and curiosity about a topic;
8 focus studentsA attention on one particular idea or a specific concept;
8 instill in students the habit of asking questions to themselves or to others; and
8 assist students in developing their thinking skills.
The skills involved in Basic <uestioning are as follows.
:i; Pau53.8
The teacher pauses for a few seconds :D seconds; after asking a question to the whole
class and then calls upon a student to answer. This technique is very important when
the teacher varies the level of question.
:ii; Treat3.8 I./orre/t A.59er5 3. a. A//e-ta1le Ma..er
3tudent will be discouraged to answer questions from a teacher who punishes or gives
a harsh comment in response to a wrong answer. =xamples of negative responses are
as follows: the teacher scolds the student, gives a sarcastic remark, shows non"verbal
anger such as a sour face, corrects the student with an angry voice or a
behaviour which shows anger. The teacher should help students to correct their
answers in a friendly way.
:iii; Pro,-t3.8
This technique is used when a student cannot give an answer to a question or gives a
wrong one. The teacher includes a clue to the question that indicates the scope or type
of answer required. The clue might even lead to the answer. /lternatively, the
teacher rephrases the question or gives simple questions step by step leading to the
desired answer.
:iv; Pro13.8
The teacher asks questions which enable students to think of a better answer beyond
their first simple response. This may include a question for clarification such as:
8 the science teacher asks for a clearer and more precise answer.
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
8 the teacher asks a question to link the studentsA previous correct answer to
a different topic or situation.
:v; A523.8 0or &urt+er Clar303/at3o.
The teacher asks for a clearer and more precise answer. This enables the student to
improve on the incomplete or unclear answer given. This question should be
distinguished from a prompting question that deals with a student who cannot give an
answer or gives
a wrong reply.
:vi; Red3re/t3.8
The teacher poses the question to the whole class and after a pause, selects students
to answer by calling their names or using gesture, which is pointing or nodding. The
same question is directed to several other students.
:vii; Re0o/u53.8
The teacher asks question to link a studentAs other previous correct answer to a different
topic or situation.
:viii; Call3.8 o. No.-:olu.teer5
-n a class there are students who answer the teacherAs questions voluntarily while others
do not. The non"volunteers would answer only when called upon by the teacher.
:b; Ad:a./ed 7ue5t3o.3.8
The ob#ectives of /dvanced <uestioning are to help students:
8 acquire, organi$e, use and evaluate information;
8 form and express ideas based on available information; and
8 improve their self"concept by providing them with opportunities to develop
new ways of thinking.
The skills involved in /dvanced <uestioning are as follows.
:i; 0arying the level of dif ficulty E the teacher asks questions which differ in difficulty which
require a different level of thinking.
:ii; 9ecall E the teacher asks FrecallA questions that simply require the students to restate
information already learned. /fter asking a number of recall questions, the teacher
should ask more complex questions.
:iii; &omprehension E the teacher asks questions which test the studentsA understanding of
a piece of writing.
:iv; /pplication E the teacher asks questions which provide the students with the opportunity
of making use of the knowledge they had previously gained. :(any science questions
are of this type;.
:v; /nalysis E the teacher asks questions which require students to examine and interpret
evidence, to make deductions from that evidence, and to be able to organi$e and
express their thoughts.
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
:vi; 3ynthesi s E the teacher asks questions that involve the students in a creative activity,
probably about a situation that draws a number of ideas together.
:vii; =valuation E the teacher asks questions which require the students to make #udgments
on ideas or values, and then to give supportive reasons for their #udgments.
There are number of general principles which underlie the skill of questioning.
:i; /s a general rule, questions should be directed to the whole class, allowing thinking time
for students.
:ii; Teachers must suit their questioning to the students age level and abilities.
:iii; Teacher should direct questions to volunteers and non"volunteers so that everyone takes
part and being alert.
1$3$; T+e S23ll o0 Illu5trat3.8 93t+ E<a,-le5
The skill of illustrating by using examples makes it easier for the teacher to convey the
of abstract ideas and concepts to the students. Then, by asking examples from the students,
he or she can check if the meanings have been understood. =xamples can be
analogies, stories, ob#ects, diagrams and so on, which can clarify the idea, concept or
principle being applied.
The best examples are those that are familiar to students. The teacher should progress
from the known to the unknown when he or she links the examples with the idea, rule or
concept conveyed. By using examples from daily life, the teacher can also gain and hold
students attention, thus creating more interest in the lesson.
3tudies carried out on the effectiveness of the use of examples have tended to look at two
8 4hat is the best pattern of rules and examples used by the teacher. 9ule"examples"rule
or examples"rule"examples, and
8 4hat words or phrases best link the rule and examples.
The group of studies on the pattern of rules and examples showed that the number of
examples used in a lesson contributed significantly to the effectiveness of that lesson.
Before dealing with the skill components, some explanation must be given on the pattern of
rules and examples mentioned earlier. 'ne group of researchers claim that the most
effective pattern is for the teacher to give the rule or concept, and then provide examples to
illustrate the rule, and then state the rule again. 'ther researchers claim that a better
pattern is for the teacher to give examples first, state the rules and then ask the
students for examples to show if they have grasped the rule.
4henever possible, questions should be used to obtain examples from the students, then
questions should be used to obtain the rule. Thus, we argue for the pattern E rule, examples
followed by the rule, or the inductive approach. 4e accept that this approach cannot be
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
in every case, and that it might be useful to ask the students for examples of the rule again
the second time. 2evertheless, we prefer the inductive to the deductive approach, which is
the rule followed by examples.
7enerally speaking, teachers will use the pattern that they think best suits the age ability of
their students and the sub#ect that they are teaching. 5owever, science teachers need to
consider these skill components.
:i; >sing simple examples E the teacher uses examples which are based on
previous knowledge.
:ii; >sing relevant examples E the teacher uses examples, which are applicable to
the particular rule or concept.
:iii; >sing interesting examples E the teacher uses examples, which can arouse studentsA
curiosity and interest.
:iv; >sing appropriate media for examples E the teacher uses analogies, stories, models,
pictures, diagrams, etc, which suit the age and ability of his students and the rule or
concept being taught.
:v; 3 tudents involvement E students are asked to give examples verbally or by drawing
them on the blackboard.
-f the skill is used effectively, the teacher expects to reali$e the following ob#ectives.
8 To lead his students from simple to complex concepts.
8 To make difficult ideas easy for pupils to understand.
8 To clarify the rule principle or concept to the students.
8 To test the understanding of the students.
The guiding principles, which underlie the skill of illustration with examples are as follows.
:i; =xamples should be prepared in advance of the lesson.
:ii; The teacher must observe studentsA attentive behaviour and verbal responses, so that
he or she can be sure that the examples used are appropriate.
:iii; The teacher must provide a sufficient number of examples and use a variety of instances
of the rule or concept.
:iv; The example provided must be clearly linked with the relevant rules or concepts.
:v; -nvolving the students will help them understand the concept they are learning and enable
the teacher to monitor the progress of the lesson.
Besides having confused students, what will happen if you explain certain procedures
in the laboratory wrongly your students6 (ishap or accident might happen in the
laboratory. 7ive one example of scenario.
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
1$3$= T+e S23ll O0 E<-la3.3.8
=xplaining is the process of giving understanding to someone else. The skill of explaining
accurately and effectively is a skill all science teachers should strive to perfect.
There are many types of explaining and the three main types are discussed next.
:a; T>-e5 o0 E<-la3.3.8
:i; The -nterpretative
The interpretative type specifies the central meaning of a term or statement, or
clarifies an issue. -t clarifies the meaning of an idea, concept or principle.
%or example, density is the relationship between mass and volume of an ob#ect.
/nother example, &oleoptera is a name give to a set of insects called beetles
due to their hard wings. &oleoptera comes from a 7reek word which means wing
with shield.
:ii; The Gescriptive
Gescriptive explanations describe processes, structures and procedures; to clarify
further an idea by describing it. H%or example Ehow to operate a bicycle
II, or the steps to carry out dissection are as followsII.J.
:iii; The 9eason"giving
9eason"giving explanation is mostly suitable for an explanation that uses the logical
processes to answer the question on how and why something happens. =xample
of reason"giving would include a topic like H4hy does ice float in water6J. /n
of an explanation which not only states H4hat isJ but also H4hyJ is HThe
body temperature of mammals does not vary much becauseIIJ.
9esearch has found that explanations were more effective if the teacher uses a friendly
approach and a variety of skill components or sub"skills. /mong these are the use of
emphatic movements and gestures, the use of the board to indicate important points, the
use of simple short sentences, the frequent use of pauses and variation in talking speed;
and the inclusion of pointers, links and priorities.
:b; Pre5e.tat3o. Co,-o.e.t5
:i; >se of clarity
This skill contains many factors. The teacher deals with one specific aspect of the
explanation at a time, he or she frequently refocuses by summary or illustration,
an appropriate language level is used. There is a pause before a key point or
:ii; >se of emphasis
?ointers, links and priorities E the teacher explicitly aids understanding by using
words and phrases which lead from one point to another or which establish the
importance of a particular part of the explanation.
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
8 / pointer might be E HThese are three main areas I..J.
8 Cinks establish relationships E HThis in turn leads to I..J or HthereforeJ, HsoJ,
Hthe purpose isI.J.
8 ?riorities means putting important things first. e.g. Hlisten to this E it is the crux
of the problemI..J.
:iii; /voiding vagueness
This skill is allied to clarity in that they both aim at a smooth, clear presentation.
(any teachers are vague when explaining; they use phrases like Hand so onJ,
Hand things like thatJ, HI..and the likeJ. 0agueness of this type does not help the
-f another example is needed, it should be relevant and concrete examples.
:iv; 3equencing
(any techniques can be used to obtain an effective sequence. 4e
mentioned earlier an inductive or deductive approach, variations and links, others
include the use of spaced repetition, the use and elaboration of answers given by
students, and the use of verbal hints or prompts in order to ensure the progress of
the explanation
in the right direction.
:v; %eedback
/n explanation should not be a long speech, but should include opportunities for the
students to display their own understanding, attitudes or interests.
There are two parts of the skill:
8 The first is providing opportunities to obtain feedback from students.
8 The second is in using the information to control factors of the presentation E speed of
delivery, language level, number of examples included and others.
-f the skill is used effectively, the teacher can expect to reali$e the ob#ectives included under
the skill of examples together with the following.
:i; To enable the students to specify the central meaning of a term or statement, or
to clarify.
:ii; To enable the students to describe processes, structures and procedures.
:iii; To enable the students to state reasons why events occur and predict possible
consequences of actions or events.
There are a number of guiding principles, which underlie the skill of explaining that the
science teacher must follow in order to be effective in his teaching. The guiding
principles are as follows.
:i; The teacher must plan his or her lesson carefully to ensure that explanations are clear
and interesting.
SCE 3108 Planning for Teaching Primary Science
:ii; The teacher must suit his or her explanations to the age, ability and range of interests of
the students.
:iii; The teacher must use explanations, which are relevant to the sub#ect matter concerned.
:iv; The teacher must be responsive to studentsA feedback.
-t is vital for science teachers to employ teaching techniques and procedures that are
effective. 3cience teachers need to plan their lessons well and acquire the effective
teaching skills necessary to make his or her lessons wonderful, easy for students to
follow, and readily understood by students in the classroom.
There are several important skills that are required of an effective science teacher namely,
3kill of -ntroduction, 3kill of 9einforcement, 3kill of 0ariation, 3kill of <uestioning, 3kill
of =xplaining and 3kill of -llustrating. Besides knowing the components and ob#ectives of
each skill, science teachers also need to understand the underlying principles of the skills to
ensure the effective implementation of each method in the classroom.
&ohen, C., &ohen, (. K (orrison,B. :++L;. A Guide to Teaching Practice. D
Condon: 9outledge.
'>( 4riters, :++,;. SBSC 3403 Methodology in Teaching Science. BC: >2-T=(
?roctor, /. et.al. :1))D;. Learning to Teach in the Primary Classroom. :9eprinted
++D;.Condon: 9outledge K %almer