Skills in Explaining

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  1. Mudasiru Olalere Yusuf (PhD) Department of Educational Technology, University of Ilorin E-mail:;; Facebook:…
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  • 1. Mudasiru Olalere Yusuf (PhD) Department of Educational Technology, University of Ilorin E-mail:;; Facebook: Twittter: @moyusuf Blog:!/my-blogs/
  • 2. Explanation Defined Explanation also called presentation means to explain or to give understanding to another person. Explanation skills deal with the ability to use verbal and non-verbal cues at appropriate times in a lesson. Concerns explaining, narrating, giving appropriate illustrations, examples, and planned repetition where necessary. o Leads from the known to the unknown. o Bridges the gap between a person‟s knowledge or experience and new phenomena. o May also show the interdependence of phenomena in a general manner. o Assists the learner to assimilate and accommodate new data or experience.
  • 3. Explanation Defined (1)           The components include: teacher‟s enthusiasm, clarity, continuity, creating readiness by a beginning statement or topic sentence, planned repetition, concluding statements or key messages with summary of explanation, covering essential points, relevant and interesting examples, using appropriate media, and use of inductive and deductive reasoning approach
  • 4. Explanation Defined (2) Explaining addresses the questions “why?”, “how?” and “what?”  An effective explanation should be  simple,  clear,  Concise, and  interesting. Effective explanation requires careful and sensitive planning, it also requires recognition of a number of essential characteristics. 
  • 5. Planning for Explanation Explanations must be planned in advance before the classroom presentation.  Determine/identify the kinds of explanation required by establishing clearly the major points of instruction. These may be concepts, ideas, rules, relationships, generalization, etc.  Analyze topics into components based on key concepts.  Specify main links among concepts and ideas.  Decide the means by which explanation is likely to be effective.
  • 6. Planning for Explanation (2)     Pre-instructional activities should include obtaining information from pupils about their knowledge, experience, and their interest. This will ensure that teacher‟s explanation will fit into the need of the students. Flexibility: Modify earlier plans in the light of feedback from students during the lesson. Explanation must adapt to the needs of the students. Brevity: Focus should be on how much can be recalled after 10 minutes. Select suitable and relevant examples .
  • 7. Planning for Explanation (3) Relevant examples are central to teaching new ideas and to obtaining feedback as to whether the ideas have been understood. Examples may be used: o Applying appropriate and concrete example 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. o Using example in sufficient quantity. o Examples relevant to learner‟s experience and understanding, to lead pupils to perceive common features. o Using positive, negative and contrasting examples.
  • 8. Using Inductive and Deductive Approaches to Examples in Explanation Inductive Approach Examples/premises followed by generalization or conclusion from them. Inductive approach: o helps students acquire skills for looking for order in an apparently pattern less set of data, and o encourages divergent and creative thinking. Deductive Approach Generalization first, which is followed by a number of examples or premises. The initial statement helps to focus students‟ attention on those aspects of examples on which teacher wishes them to concentrate.
  • 9. Other Examples in Explanation  Using Analogies. Compare the situation to something that is familiar to the students.  Using Models. Use simple 3D models made of common objects for explanation.  Using the Board. Chalk, Felt, PowerPoint or overheads, for discussion session. To make presentation more interesting.  Use Handouts for note taking. Students have a hard time copying diagrams. It‟s also difficult for the teacher to draw them perfectly.
  • 10. Components of Explanation Clarity: Deals with o the choice of vocabulary, o fluency concerned with the smooth flow of language, with acceptable sentence structure and use appropriate linking words, o defining new terms, and o use of explicit language by avoiding vagueness. Emphasis: Deals with o voice emphasis – by varying time and volume, o repetition of main points, o Paraphrasing, o repetition, and o verbal cueing.
  • 11. Components of Explanation  o o o o o  o o o Organization: Deals with the process needs at several levels, logical sequence, examples clearly linked to generalizations, explanation with a start and an end, and structure into introduction, elaboration (contents), summary. Feedback: Deals with opportunities for questions, understanding of concepts/ideas assessed, and explanation process and modification if necessary.
  • 12. Suggestions for Effective Explanation (Emotional) Good explanation/ presentation requires emotional, contents and delivery contacts with the students. Emotional contact include  Put yourself in the shoes of the students,  Probe the students first.  Make the students aware of what is to be taught on that day through a clear beginning statement.  Use eye contact .  Use formal and informal of language.  Show great enthusiasm and appropriate emotions for the subject matter.  Use tone that indicate upbeat/positive state.
  • 13. Suggestions for Effective Explanation (Emotional)  Validate students‟ responses to material/ contents.  Cares about students.  Relate subject matter contents to the students in personalized ways.  Use of humor that resonates with students (however, show that a teacher need not be an entertainer!) .  Use humor which relates clearly to the content and is not offensive.  Use personal anecdotes and stories.
  • 14. Suggestions for Effective Explanation (Content)  Develop deep knowledge of subject matter.  Proper organization of material/content.  Ensure appropriate level of detail which is neither too vague nor too general.  Do not overwhelm contents with too many specifics.  Breaks up material into manageable chunks.  Includes activities to break up presentation.  Address short piece of a problem at a time, and don‟t go on until the problem is addressed.
  • 15. Suggestions for Effective Explanation (Content)  Leaves time for questions and answer questions well.  Provides study guides and lecture notes.  Visual materials should supplement content.  Visual materials must prepared to be clear and easy to see/read (text size, focus, colour contrast, good mounting, etc.).  Assignments in preparation for lectures should be in-built, but also developmental.
  • 16. Suggestions for Effective Explanation (Delivery) Speak loudly enough for students to hear. Speak clearly and in easy way to understand. Doesn‟t speak too quickly or slowly. Use inflection (not monotone). Use connecting links in statements „so‟, „therefore‟, „because‟, „due to‟, „as a result of‟, „in order to‟, otherwise, etc.  Use proper words for explaining an object or an event otherwise students will be confused.  Coordination in statements is essential so as to avoid hodgepodge (mismatch) ideas.     
  • 17. Suggestions for Effective Explanation (Delivery 1)  In explanation do not start too far back, therefore, try to answer it without going over a lot of background material.  No distracting gestures or mannerisms.  Moves around the classroom as appropriate.  Don‟t block views of the board or screen.  Don‟t read directly from notes.  Instructor‟s appearance/ dress (looks professional/looks casual/ looks approachable, etc.).  Quality board management (e.g., write in an organized way, erase material only after students have had a chance to write it down).
  • 18. Suggestions for Effective Explanation (Delivery 2)  No matter the constraints do not skip important       steps or start explaining in the middle. Avoid irrelevant statement while presenting the subject matter. Teacher should use fluent language so that the pupils may listen and understand his thoughts. Avoid using jargon, abbreviations (verbally and on board.). Do not insult the students, make fun of them, or their ignorance. Admit your mistakes – everyone makes Do not just show a slide and wave the laser pointer over it. Explain what‟s on the slide.
  • 19. Abi Una Wan Ask Me Question?
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