Micro-teaching is used in developing teaching skills in a simulated situation. In this situation, the teacher-trainee is developing specific teaching skills by teaching a small group of students.
Instead of the teach r-trainee being suddenly faced with a large number of students, the trai ee is exposed to small numbers, sometimes as few as between 5 and 10 . This situation is less threatening to the teacher.
Finally, development of effective teaching skills involves self-assessment and recognition of one’s weaknesses and strengths. Micro-teaching thus offers an ideal situation for teachers to evaluate their own performance by reviewing a video playback with their peers.
Sometimes a group of peers is also the audience used to observe the micro-teaching and they act as both learners and evaluators of the teacher’s performance.
The Basic Teaching Skills
In teaching, a variety of skills are employed but for the purposes of teacher training we try to isolate specific skills which can be developed and taught to the teacher.
The skills to be considered in this section are:
1. The skill of stimulus
2. The skill of questioning
3. The skill of responding
4. The skill of reinforcing
5. The skill of explaining.
The skill of variation
In teaching it is important to vary both the intensity of the stimulus as well as its focus. In a teaching situation this is achieved by:
Appropriate variation of movements. Teaching is not “putting on a show”. Teachers should try to behave as normally as possible in front of the class; undue movement in class may distract students’ attention, while a teacher who appears like a “statue” is boring.
Variation of sensory focus
Variation of sensory focus refers to shifting from one sensory medium to another. Application of multisensory media not only enhances learning but keeps the session lively.
Variation of speech pattern
The learning process is started o ff by providing a stimulus. The stimulus can be through any of the five senses. A stimulus which is constant, with no variation of intensity, is less appreciated than one which varies. A flat monotonous voice eventually sends learners to sleep. A high pitch, or a loud or low voice may be used to emphasize important points.
Use of purposeful gestures
Gestures are important components of speech. If used well, they can augment the explanation, but if wrongly used they can distort the spoken word. Gestures which are not purposeful and which distract learners are called “mannerisms”.
It is important for teachers to be aware of their own mannerisms. Variation in media and materials
Use all the senses if possible/applicable.
A teacher should change the focus of interaction from time to time to minimize teacher talk. He should combine:
– Teacher-group interaction
– Teacher-individual student interaction
– Student-student interaction
The skill of questioning
The skill of questioning is a very important one in teaching. It helps students learn by involving them in the activity as well as measuring their learning (otherwise called evaluation).
Specific skills in questioning are:
1. Distributing of questions to the students
2. Redirecting of questions to the students
3. Prompting techniques
4. Structuring to provide the context for the question
An important skill for teachers to acquire in questioning is to vary the level and type of questions. A wooden teacher is dull and uninteresting, an over-exuberant teacher is distracting.
The questions should not only be at the lowest level of simply recalling but should include:
Level 2 – Comprehension
Demanding that the learner expresses the idea with some evidence of understanding.
Level 3 – Application
Involving the respondent putting the idea into practice.
Level 4 – Analysis:
Separate complex ideas into their component parts
Level 5 – Synthesis
Requires putting the ideas together to form a response
Level 6 – Evaluation
Level 7 – And finally, some questions could be of the highest order making the learner express feelings, e.g. how would you feel if you were in this situation?
Questions might evoke no response from the learner. The teacher needs the skill to provide other key questions. This may serve to lead the learner to the correct response.
Specific skills required here include Probing
Probing means asking further questions to verify the reasons behind a particular response by a learner, to give reasons, etc. This technique is particularly useful if:
– A student has answered a question wrongly.
– A student has answered a question partially wrongly
– A student has answered the question correctly but the teacher wants to build on the student’s answer.
Pausing is a skill in its own right. After asking a question, the teacher waits for a few moments to let the students think. This process challenges every learner. It also allows time for more students to volunteer and for the teacher to select the respondent.
The skill of responding
A teacher’s response might be verbal or non-verbal. “Non-verbal” refers to response by action or a show of feelings. This technique is extremely important for trainers. Verbal response refers to answering questions or reacting by speaking.
An effective response is a positive one that encourages the learner to go on participating in the learning activity. It is directed to:
1. The individual, or
2. The group.
The specific techniques that are effective are:
1. Enthusiasm shown by the teacher
2. Avoiding a negat ive expression
3. Use of gestures indicating agreement, for example nodding
4. Lastly, use of encouraging statements like “very good”, “excellent”, etc.
The skill of reinforcement
Learning can be enhanced by use of reinforcement. It is an important basic teaching skill involving techniques that modify or change behavior. It:
1. rewards good behaviour.
2. increases students’ attention.
3. is used to control or modify disruptive student behaviour.
4. gives continuous reinforcement of desired behaviour.
There are several kind of reinforcement:
1. Verbal reinforcement, e.g. comments of praise and encouragement used to praise the students.
2. Teacher’s use of gestures, e.g. smiles, nodding.
3. Activity: use of a preferred activity to elicit the desired behaviour.
4. Physical contact
– A pat on the back
– Shaking hands.
Token reinforcement: use of symbolic reinforcement (reward)
– Written comments
The skill of explaining
Explaining means “trying to give unders tanding to someone”.
An explanation is designed to answer the question why? how? or what? Components
1. Clarity and fluency
– voice emphasis
– repetition of main point
– verbal cueing, e.g. “Now carefully note”.
3. Use concrete, simple examples
4. Use relevant examples
5. Relate them to the concept
6. Get more examples from students
7. Use students’ bank of knowledge.
This means the way of introducing a teaching/learning session. The purpose is to:
1. Focus students’ attention and create a frame of reference for a session.
2. Stimulate students’ interest and involvement.
Directing attention to the completion of a teaching session.
1. “Now let’s stop and go over what…”
2. Get students to summarize major points
3. Practise the skill learned.
We said that in micro-teaching, a self-assessment process is necessar y for the teacher to improve. A teacher who is keen to improve and believes that he/she can improve, will improve. Several methods of feedback can be used.
i. The presenter can use a group of peers to do a critique his/her performance. In this case the trainee should be the one to start the critique.
ii. The teaching can be recorded on a cassette and played later. The trainee teacher will listen to the recording and assess the degree of interaction. How much he/she talked and how much he/she allowed students to talk. This can be done carefully and an interaction analysis can be mapped.
iii. The last method is the use of a video cassette where the performance is recorded and played back; the trainee leading the critique.
Several examples of assessment forms are given at the end of this unit.
You will teach a 10-15 minute lesson. It should be a complete lesson.
Make sure you choose a topic or concept that can be taught within this time limit. You will not be allowed to exceed the allotted time.
You will be teaching your own group; they will be your audience. You will also be recorded on video camera, so your movements may be a bit restricted.
You will choose any topic you like but bear in mind:
1. The time limit
2. The space limit
3. The skills you can practise
4. The feedback you want, i.e. you can use this session to experiment, or to clarify areas you feel uncertain about
5. Your target audience – not the camera!
Produce a lesson plan for this session – break it down carefully into minutes. Practise the lesson by yourself or with colleagues. Time your practice sessions.
Discuss your plans with your group and, if you need help, with facilitators.
Principles of mini-teaching feedback
Mini-teaching can be organized with peer-group feedback or with feedback from a video recording of the session. The major advantage of using a video is that the teacher is able to observe his/her performance and contribute to the feedback. This can be very effective. With video and camera
Participants are able to:
1. Select and make a presentation of a defined task utilizing a given time.
2. Assess their own individual performances, to identify areas needing improvement and discuss in pairs how they could improve.
3. Assess other participants’ performance and provide feedback, explaining areas of weakness and areas of strength in their teaching.
Without video Activities
1. Individuals or pairs select topics in their groups
2. The facilitator then introduces a handout
3. Planning a learning situation
4. Participants also go through mini-teaching “guidelines” conducting a mini-teaching session
• To plan and manage a class session
• To evaluate and give feedback to peers to help them improve their teaching skills.
1. Individual participants make lesson plans for what they will teach.
2. They share this in a group and get feedback.
3. They also produce a handout and visual aids and discuss each of them with the facilitator.
4. The checklist used for teacher evaluation is revised for use in this exercise by the whole group.
5. The teaching timetable is clarified and observers informed.
6. Every participant is observed by at least three peers and one facilitator during the teaching.
7. Discussion and feedback are conducted immediately after the teaching.
8. Start asking the presenter to evaluate him/herself.
9. Strong points are brought out and then weak areas mentioned.
3.1.4 Planning a Learning Situation Exercise
1. Who are your students?
2. What do they already know ?
– Look at their curriculum; talk to their teachers; talk to them.
– Do they want to learn?
– Is there anything that might prevent them from learning?
3. What are you going to teach? – Choose the topic.
4. How are you going to teach?
– Plan your teaching/learning situation.
– Plan the lessons
– Select the teaching methods
– Make arrangements
– Plan evaluation
– Collect resources
7. How well have the students learned? Or how well have you taught? (evaluation)
8. Say what you d id and how well it worked. Report to the group on the experience.
Make sure you have answers to the following questions.
1. Regarding the students/participants:
– Who are the participants? Where do they come from?
– How many will they be?
– How long will the course be?
– Where will they stay?
– What, how and where will they eat?
– How long will they stay?
– How will they arrive?
– How will they go home?
– How will you entertain them?
– What do they need to bring along with them?
– Who will open and/or close the course?
– What preparations do you need to make for guest speakers?
– What problems do the students have in their work?
– What do their supervisors want you to emphasize?
– Who else will you ask to teach?
– What will you teach?
– What aids do you need?
– What reading materials (books, handouts, etc.) do you need?
– What practicals are you goin g to arrange?
– How will you assess your teaching?
– How will you assess the students’ activities?
– How many classrooms do you need?
Making the timetable
First get answers to these questions:
– How many teaching sessions will you have?
– How many topics do you want to cover?
– If you want to arrange a field trip, practical or discussion exercise, when is the best time to do it?
– How are you going to handle the group, as one group, or split into several groups?
– When is it convenient for your guest speakers to come?
2. Fill in the parts of your timetable that you cannot change, e.g. practicals, visits, guests, holidays.
3. Now try to fit in all your other topics. Decide how long you think each topic needs. Mix topics in such a way that you will keep the interest of the students. Remember that teaching with practicals or activities takes nearly twice as long as without them.
4. Try to have your timetable produced and ready to send to students before they arrive. At the very lease, give it to them as soon as they arrive. Send your timetable to your guests as well. Then if they can’t come at the time arranged, they can suggest another time.
5. Always have one or two extra topics or sessions up your sleeve in case something goes wrong.
The day before the course starts
Check all these things:
1. Timetable ready?
2. First day’s lesson plans ready?
3. Opening session prepared and confirmed?
4. Handouts ready?
5. Teaching aids ready?
6. Classroom ready?
7. All guests confirmed?
8. Pre-test ready?
1. Are my students busy, interested and confident that they are learning?
2. Are they going to go back from this course and do better work?
If the answers to these questions are mostly “Yes”, then you are running a good course.
If an answer is “no”, ask yourself why? And try to change it.
You have gone through application of teaching and managerial skills as would-be teachers because one of the roles of a professional nurse is teaching, you are expected to teach your clients/patients and serve as a model to the numbers of the communities, your acquisition of knowledge in this unit will enhance your professional performance.