Devices of Teaching: Explanation, Illustration, Narration and Questioning

Devices of Teaching: Explanation, Illustration, Narration and Questioning

Devices of Teaching


A device of teaching is the plan, a scheme or a trick intended for the purpose of effective teaching and purposeful learning. A teacher is expected to use the device while conducting his class. There are different devices that can be used within a particular method. It is an external mode that instruction may assure from time to time.

There are two major kinds of teaching devices. They are: –

a.       Natural Devices

b.      Artificial Devices

Natural Devices: – Natural devices are those where learning is a bi-product of the direct experiences, like excursions, field trips, outdoor activities etc.

Artificial Devices: – Artificial devices are those where by learning is possible through certain means like illustration, narration, questioning etc.

Importance of Teaching Devices-

a.       They are used to teach more thoroughly so that students may retain the content for a longer time.

b.       They are used to teach more quickly, (Most of the syllabus can be covered within a short time)

c.       They are used to create or sustain interest in the pupil.

d.       They serve as a means of integrating a number of separate pieces of work, that have already been learnt by other means.

e.       They are helpful in bringing something new to the students in a simplified way.

Artificial Devices of Teaching—

Artificial devices of teaching are one of the major kinds of teaching device. Artificial devices are those whereby learning is possible through certain means like illustration, explanation, narration, questioning etc.

Let us discuss them one by one—

1. Explanation


i.                    Explanation: –

To explain is to make ideas, concepts, events and actions clear. The object of all explanation is to enable the pupil to take interest in proceeding to grasp the purpose of what is being done and to develop their understanding. Language is a vital component of explanation and it should be simple, clear and precise, definite and specific. Explanation involves following two factors that contribute to its effectiveness.

a.       Continuity: – Continuity has two components: 1. Sequence and 2. Fluency

b.      Simplicity

c.       Explicitness

In addition to these, a good explanation depends on the identification of the aspects to be related (objects, events and process) and identification of the relationship among the components.

2. Illustration


i.                    Illustration—

Illustration is a device that stands for the use of means and materials in order to help students to acquire concrete knowledge of the materials presented by making it clear, interesting, intelligible and comprehensible. Illustrations are divided into two categories: —

1.       Verbal and 2. Concrete

When a teacher makes use of word, pictures, examples, metaphors, analogies, etc. then he makes use of verbal illustrations. But when he/she uses objects, models, charts, maps, diagrams, etc., he/she makes use of concrete illustrations.

The educational significance of illustrations is: –

a.       To make abstract ideas concrete.

b.      To introduce nobility and variety in the class.

c.       To make an appeal to the senses and the imagination of the student.

d.      To make ideas clear, definite and precise.

3. Narration


i.                    Narration: –

Narration is one of the most significant devices of imparting instruction particularly in subjects like history, literature, geography, etc. It refers to telling a story for giving on account of some events or certain happenings. But to be a good narrator, one requires a skilled use of language and a good command over vocabulary. The significance of narration lies in the following aspects—

a.       It provides knowledge in abundance.

b.      It helps the children to learn quickly.

c.       It makes the subject matter easy and interesting.

d.      It makes use of illustrations such as graphs, models, charts etc.

e.       It makes the students interested in knowing and solving the various problems of life.

4. Questioning


i.                    Questioning: –

Good questioning by their very nature is educative questioning plays an important role in teaching-learning and evaluating. When used at the right time and in the right manner, it can lead to new levels of understanding. Questions serve as a means of organizing knowledge, corelating results, binding together different limits of learning and of integrating personality. The characteristics of good questions are as follows: –

a.       The language of the question should be clear and simple.

b.      Questions should be definite, short, not ambiguous and vague.

c.       Questions should be graded (neither too difficult nor too easy).

d.      They should be relevant to the topic.

e.       Questions should not be suggestions of the answer.

f.        It should be asked to the entire class.

g.       Adequate time should be given to answer each question.

h.      The mode of asking questions should be pleasant.

i.       Phrases like ‘Can you answer this question?’ should be avoided.

j.      Echo question should be avoided.

k.       Questions should be interesting as far as possible.

Purpose of Questioning

a.       To test previous knowledge of the students.

b.      To help to recall previously learnt things.

c.       To think over something.

d.      To reason about something.

e.       To achieve feedback from students.

f.        To evaluate the effectiveness of a teacher’s teaching.

g.       To help to remain alert and attentive.

h.      To stimulate the curiosity of students.

i.        To secure the cooperation of students.

j.        To help students to ascertain whether they are following the lesson or not.

To link new knowledge with the old

Classification of Questions:-

Questions can be classified into four types:

1.       Introductory or preliminary Questions.

2.       Developing Questions.

3.       Recapitulatory Questions

4.       Testing or Evaluating questions.

Introductory or preliminary Questions: The introductory questions are asked at the beginning of the lesson and they help in testing the previous knowledge of the students and also in arousing the curiosity of the students.

Developing Questions: Developing questions are asked during the course of the lesson and they help in letting the teacher know the progress of the student and also increase mental ability in the pupils. They also help the pupils to develop their knowledge step by step.

Recapitulatory Question: These questions are asked at the end of the whole lesson or at the end of each section of the lesson. They are of two types:

1.       Sectional Revision

2.       Final Recapitulation.

Testing or Evaluation Questions: Evaluating or testing questions are related to periodic as well as external evaluation.

Levels of Question:-

There are three levels of questions:

1.       Lower order

2.       Middle order

3.       Higher order

Lower order: Lower-level questions tests ability to recall.

Middle order: Middle order questions tests comprehension and applicability of the students.

Higher order: Higher order questions tests higher mental ability analysis, synthesis, creativity, critical awareness, judgement etc.


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