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Set Induction and Reinforcement Skills

May 10, 2011



This skill is concerned with methods of preparing classes for a lesson that is pre-instructional orientation. Students practice methods of starting lessons.



The third skill in microteaching is skill of stimulus variation. Most people are able tolerant about the world around them via their five senses which is sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. Unfortunately, educators sometimes forget to use as many of five senses as possible. Training in the skills of stimulus variation is aimed at helping student teachers to avoid teaching styles likely to induce boredom in their pupils. A stimulus situation that changes in different ways is one of the most powerful influences in maintaining orienting activity by the pupils. Carefully structured teaching material and approaches to the subject can have an important effect here, but so can the way a teacher conducts his lesson.

Stimulus variation, in the Stanford sense, focuses mainly on the latter. Some of the things the student teacher is trained in are the use of movement in a systematic way and the avoidance of teaching from one spot, the use of gestures, and the development of verbal and non-verbal methods of focusing children’s attention, the development of teaching methods other than the teacher monologue by encouraging pupil participation, the systematic use of pauses, and the controlled use of different sensory channels by switching primary modes of communication,going, for example, from the oral to the visual.

For the success of any lesson, it is essential to secure and sustain the attention of the pupils-learning is optimum when the pupils are fully attentive to the teaching-learning process. How to secure and sustain the attention is main theme of this skill. It is known on the basis of

          Psychological experiments that attention of the individual tends to shift from one stimulus toothier very quickly. It is very difficult for an individual to attend to the same stimulus for more than a few seconds. Therefore, for securing and sustaining the attention of the pupils to the lesson it is imperative to make variations in the stimulus. This is because attention is the necessary pre-requisite for learning.

The components of skill involved are:

i. Movements

ii. Gestures

iii.Change in Speech Pattern

iv. Change in Interactions Style

v. Focusing

vi. Pausing

vii. Oral-visual Switching

          The meaning and purpose of these components in the context of the skill of stimulus variation will be discussed below.


          It means that making movements from one place to another with some purpose. (For writing on the black board, to conduct experiment, to explain the chart or model, to pay attention to the pupil who is responding to some question etc.)


          These include movements of head, hand and body parts to arrest attention, to express emotions or to indicate shapes, sizes and movements. All these acts are performed to become more expressive.

Change in Speech Pattern

 When the teacher wants to show emotions or to put emphasis on a particular point, sudden or radical changes in tone, volume or speed of the verbal presentation are brought out. The change in the speech pattern makes the pupils attentive and creates interest in the lesson.

Change in Interaction Style

When two or more persons communicate their views with each other, they are said to be

interacting. In the classroom the following three styles of interaction are possible:

1. Teacher ↔ Class (Teacher talks to class and vice versa)

2. Teacher ↔ Pupil (Teacher talks to pupil and vice versa)

3. Pupil ↔ Pupil (Pupil talks to pupil)

            All types of interaction should go side by side to secure and sustain pupils’ attention.


       The teacher draws the attention of the pupils to the particular point in the lesson either by using verbal or gesture focusing. In verbal focusing the teacher makes statements like, “look here” listen to me” “note it carefully”. In gestural focusing pointing towards some object with fingers or underlining the important words on the black board.


This means “stop talking” by the teacher for a moment. When the teacher becomes silent during teaching, it at once draws the attention of the pupils with curiosity towards the teacher. The message given at this point is easily received by the pupils.

Oral-Visual Switching

The teacher gives information to the class verbally about something. This is called oral medium. When the teacher is showing maps, charts and object without saying something, this is called visual medium. If the teacher is giving information to the pupils through any one medium (oral, visual, oral visual) for a long time, it is possible that the students may lose attention to what the teacher is conveying to them. Therefore it is essential for the teacher to change medium rapidly in order to secure and sustain pupils’ attention to what he says.

There are three types media

 1) Oral oral – visual

            When the teacher while speaking shows objects, charts and models and explains their various parts. It is switching from oral to oral-visual.

2) Oral visual

            When the teacher while speaking, shows objects, maps, charts, globe etc. It is switching form oral to visual.

3) Visual oral – visual

When the teacher demonstrates the experiment silently and then explains the

Phenomenon with the help of charts, maps, diagram etc. This is visual-oral switching.

These devices are used interchangeably to secure and sustain pupils’ attention to the lesson. Let us use these components of the skill of stimulus variation in the following micro-lesson to attractant focus pupil’s attention.



Explanation is a key skill. Generally, the skill of explanation is complex. Explanation is a term, which, through daily use, has acquired several meanings. For example, it can be functional, causal or sequential; and inductive or deductive.

What is explanation? Explanation is to explain or to give understanding to another person. It leads from the known to the unknown, it bridges the gap between a person’s knowledge or experience and new phenomena, and it may also aim to show the interdependence of phenomena in a general sable manner. It assists the learner to assimilate and accommodate new data or experience.

The components of skill involved

 i. Clarity

ii. Continuity

iii. Relevance to content using beginning and concluding statements

iv. Covering essential points

v. Simple

vi. Relevant and interesting examples appropriate media

vii. Use of inducts, deductive approach

An effective explanation should be simple, clear, concise and interesting.In general it should not be rambling, long or dull. However, what is to be explained may be complex and abstract. Effective explanation requires careful and sensitive planning. It requires the recognition of a number of essential characteristics when putting it into operation.

(i) Planning

(a)Establish clearly, in advance, the major point or points you wish to communicate to your pupils. These may be ideas, rules, relationships, generalization, etc.

Establish links between ideas.

(b)Obtain information from pupils about their knowledge, experience, and interest to guide your planning. Your explanation must appeal to your class.

(c)Decide the means by which explanation is likely to be effective.

(d)Be flexible. Be prepared to modify your plans in the light of feedback from pupils during the lesson. Adapt to pupil needs.

(e)Be brief. Think how much you recall after 10 minutes.

(ii) Operation

(a)Consider other skills on which Explanation partly rests (e.g. teacher liveliness) – React to your class Are

(b)Structure: introduction, elaboration, summary.

-Emphasis the main points, so that their importance is clear.

          -Show them the relationship between the main points.

-Determine (if necessary) the general principles involved.

There are 7 considerations for effective


7.Are illustrations relevant?

We will now look a little more at the question of examples. Effective explanation relies on illustration, analogy and the use of examples. In the task below, attention should be given in particular to the last of these.

a) Examples

          These are central to teaching new ideas and to obtaining feedback as to whether the ideas have been understood. Examples may be used:

i.                      To provide concrete instances or information within the learner’s experience andunderstanding, to lead pupils to perceive common features, and to abstractgeneralizations appropriate to all the specific instances.

ii.                     To test understanding of an idea, concept or principle, it may be applied to particular situations, for example to produce examples of the general category, to determine whether a particular phenomenon is an instance of the general relationship, or to use the general principle to solve a specific problem.

b) Using Examples

 Inductive approach

It starts with examples, and infers generalization from them. The major claims are:

i. It helps students acquire skills for looking for order in an apparently pattern

less set of data.

ii. Encourages divergent and creative thinking.

Deductive approach

It states the generalization first, and applies it to a number of examples. The initial statement, even if not fully understood by students, helps to focus their attention on those aspects of examples on which teacher wishes them to concentrate. Classroom observation suggests that effective explanation often occurs when first statement of aural is followed by examples and then by a second statement of the rule, for example, clarity in establishing relationship between general rule and specific examples.

          In all cases, it is essential for the teacher to use examples which are relevant to student’s experience and interests, and their present level of understanding.




Most teachers talk too much. Training in the use of silence and non-verbal cues is aimed at remedying this state of affairs. But it is not just a negative thing. Silence can have a powerful effect if used insightfully, and non-verbal cues can very often be more effective than verbal ones.

Non-Verbal Aspects

a) Movement

Generally, a moving object is more interesting than a stationary one. Teacher cause their teaching space purposefully. Don’t be stuck to the blackboard. Move towards the class, and amongst them. In this way, as the teacher, they can create and convey various meanings such as friendliness, firmness, hostility, anger, and pleasure. Movementcan also help to exercise students’ eyeballs and prevent them falling asleep.

b) Gestures and Facial Expressions

As a teacher, the way they use their hands, body and head, and the way they vary their facial expressions will also convey meaning and emphasis. Many gestures are used in communication and interpersonal contact. Think of ways in which teacher can encourage attention or positive response from students by teacher’s gestures and facial expressions.

c) Eye-contact

The eyes are crucial in conveying meaning, emotion, influencing interaction gaining and holding attention. Teacher should use their eyes purposefully, inexperienced teachers are often too nervous to look at the class. Scan the whole of the class. In general, look at students while teaching. Teacher will obtain response, control and feedback of their interest and understanding in this way.Looking in to their eyes will help to convey messages and meaning, and is an effective device for controlling class discipline.

d) Interaction

Don’t talk too much. Use strategies to encourage various interaction patterns such as T-P, P-P, T-group. Involve the pupils.

e)Switching sensory channel

Vary the stimulus between voices visual for example to hold attention.

Teacher liveliness basically involves changing patterns of stimulation of the learner, to gain and hold interest and attention. It means use of these various qualities and cues in combination, and for most people it requires practice. Teacher that have experience of teachers or lecturers, who use very few cues, rarely change facial expressions, are limited in movements and speak in a dull, flat, monotonous voice. They probably bored them. Therefore, the skills on using non-verbal are very important for students in teaching and learning.


Every responding pupil of the class needs social approval of his behavior. To satisfy this need, he is always eager to answer each question known to him. If the teacher is encouraging the pupils by statements like, “good”, that is very good and certain non-verbal expressions, as smiling, nodding the head and paying attention to the responding pupil, the pupil participation in the class is maximized. The main theme of the skill is that encouraging remarks of the teacher increases and discouraging remarks decreases the pupil-participation in the development of the learning process. Teachers are right if their ways are in accordance with the following components of the skill.

The components of skill involved are:

i. Positive Verbal Reinforcement

ii. Positive Non-Verbal Reinforcement

iii. Negative Verbal Reinforcement

iv. Negative Non-Verbal Reinforcement

v. Wrong use of Reinforcement

vi. Inappropriate use of Reinforcement

Positive -Verbal Reinforcement These are the positive comments given by the teacher on the correct response of the pupil. They are:

(i) Using words and phrases like, “good”, “very good” and “excellent”.

(ii) Repeating and rephrasing pupil’s response.

(iii) Using pupil’s idea in the development of the lesson.

(iv) Using extra-verbal cues, like “um”, “um”, “aha” to encourage pupils.

(v) Using prompts like carry on think again, to help the pupil give correct response.

Positive Non -Verbal Reinforcement

The teacher gives comments to pupils on their correct response without using words. For example, this he does by nodding the head, smiling, patting, looking attentively at the responding pupil, and writing pupil’s answer on the black boards. The teacher encourages the pupils to participate maximally in the development of the lesson.

Negative Verbal Reinforcement

The teacher gives comments on the incorrect or partially incorrect response by telling that the pupil’s response is incorrect or making sarcastic remarks like “idiots”, “stupid” and others. Such behavior of the teacher discourages pupil-participation and should not be used.

Negative Non -Verbal Reinforcement

The teacher shows his disapproval without using words. This involves, frowning, staring, and looking angrily at the responding pupil, when he gives wrong response. This type of behavior of the teacher creates fear in the minds of the pupil and decreases pupil-participation.

Wrong use of Reinforcement

This is the situation, where the teacher does not give reinforcement when the situation is demanding encouragement.

Inappropriate use of Reinforcement

This is the situation when the teacher does not encourage the pupil with respect to quality of his response. He uses same type of comment for every response.

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