Meaning of Skill of Explaining | Components of the Explaining skill

A teacher has to learn the skill of explaining in order to make the pupils understand many ideas, concepts or principles, that need explanation.

Skill of Explaining: Meaning of the skill

A teacher has to learn the skill of explaining in order to make the pupils understand many ideas, concepts or principles, that need explanation. Explanation is nothing but a few interrelated appropriate statements. Thus, the skill of explaining may be defined as the art of learning the use of interrelated appropriate statements by the teacher for making the pupils understand the desired concept, phenomenon and principle. It is, by all means, a verbal skill and has two main aspect:

Skill of Explaining
  1. The selection of appropriate relevant to the age, maturity, previous knowledge, and content of the concept or phenomenon.
  2. The skill of interrelating and using the selected statements for the proper understanding of the concept of phenomenon.

The statements are generally of three types: the descriptive, the interpretive, and the reason giving.

Components of the skill

The skill of explaining a concept or phenomenon consists of two types of behaviour desirable and undesirable. In the practice of the skill, the occurrence of the desirable behaviour is to be increased whereas that of the undesirable behaviours is to be decreased and extinguished. The behaviours are summarized in Table.

TABLE: Components of the skill of explaining

S. No. Desirable Behaviours Undesirable Behaviours
1. Using appropriate beginning and concluding statements. Using irrelevant statements.
2. Using explaining links. Lacking continuity in statements.
3. Covering essential points. Lacking fluency.
4. Testing pupil's understanding. Using inappropriate vocabulary, vague words and phrases.

Let us now understand the meaning of these component behaviours.

Desirable Behaviours

1. Using appropriate beginning and concluding statements:- The beginning statement is an opening statement announcing what is going to be explained by the teacher. It prepares the pupil mentally to receive the explanation. On the other hand, the concluding statements are made after the end of the explanation in order to summarize or conclude the whole explanation.

2. Using explaining links:- The explaining links in the form of words and phrases are meant for establishing links or continuity in the statements used for explaining a concept, phenomenon or principle. Some of these linking words and phrases generally used for explaining are therefore, hence, thus, consequently, since, because, so that, in spite of as a result of, the function of, the purpose of, the cause of, due to, that, is why, this is how, in order to, in order that, on the other hand, why, while, etc.

3. Covering essential points:- The explanation given for the understanding of a given concept or principle should be as complete as possible. The completeness is determined be the scope of the concept or principle as specified in the instructional objectives. It should aim for covering all the essential points leading to clear understanding of the desired concept or principle.

4. Testing pupil's understanding:- This involves asking appropriate questions to the pupils to ascertain whether the purpose of explaining the concept or principle has been achieved or not.

Undesirable Behaviours

1. Using irrelevant statements:- This behaviour covers the statements not related to the concept or principle being explained. These statements, instead of helping the pupils to understand the concept, create confusion and distract the attention of the pupils.

2. Lacking continuity in statements:- It involves a missing link or break in the logical sequence of the interrelated statement by the teacher for explaining a concept or phenomenon.

3. Lacking fluency:- Fluency relates to the slow of uninterrupted statements for explaining a concept or principle. In case a teacher lacks fluency, he may be seen to show the following types of behaviours:

  • (i) Does not speak clearly,
  • (ii) Utters incomplete or half sentences.
  • (iii) Tries to reformulate or corer his statements midway of a sentence or a statement.
  • (iv) Use fumbling ideas or inappropriate words or statement.

4. Using inappropriate vocabulary, vague words and phrases:- This behaviour consists of the following aspects:

  • (i) Use of vocabulary not known to pupils or inappropriate to their age, grade and maturity level.
  • (ii) Use of certain vague words and phrases obstructing the understanding of an explanation.

Table: Observation schedule-cum-rating scale for the skill of explaining

Name of the Student Teacher: ...........
Subject: ............
Concept or Topic: Session: Teach/Re-teach
Date: ...........
Supervisor: .............

Tallies or specific observation Components Rating scale
Desirable Behaviours: Extended to Extremely Weak to Excellent Performance
Yes/No 1. Using appropriate beginning statements. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Yes/No 2. Using appropriate concluding statements. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Tallies 3. Using explaining links. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Yes/NO 4. Converting essential points. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Yes/No 5. Testing pupil's understanding. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Undesirable Behaviours:
Tallies 1. Using irrelevant statements. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Tallies 2. Lacking continuity in statements. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Yes/NO 3. Lacking Fluency. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Tallies 4. Using inappropriate vocabulary. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Tallies 5. Using vague words and phrases. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6

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