Monday, April 12, 2010

Micro Teaching and Teaching Skills

T. C. Thankachan M.A (Pol.), M.A (Socio.), M. Ed, M.Phil
Lecturer, St. Thomas College of Teacher Education, Pala
Micro-teaching is one of the most recent innovations in teacher training programme. It aims at modifying teacher’s behaviour according to the specified objectives. It was first introduced at the Stanford University in 1961. It is a training procedure aiming at simplifying the complexities of the regular teaching process. In a micro-teaching procedure, the trainee is engaged in a scaled down teaching situation. It is scaled down in terms of class size, class time and teaching task.
A teacher can use several techniques and procedures to bring about effective learning on the part of his students. These activities include introducing the lesson, demonstration, explaining or questioning. These activities form what are called teaching skills. Micro-teaching allows practicing any skill independently and integrating it with other skills in familiar environment.
Micro-teaching is a scaled down teaching encounter, in class size and class time.(Allen D.W.)
Micro-teaching is a system of controlled practice that makes it possible to concentrate on specific teaching skills and to practise teaching under controlled conditions.(Allen & Eve).
Micro-teaching is a training technique which requires student teachers to teach a single concept using specified teaching skill to a small number of pupils in a short duration of time.(B.K.Passi & Lalitha M.S.)
Phases of Micro Teaching
Clift (1976) described the following as the phases of micro teaching.
1. Pre-active phase (knowledge acquisition phase)
2. Interactive phase (skill acquisition phase)
3. Post-active phase (Transfer phase)
Phase I. pre – active phase: it emphases the understanding of the teaching skill that is to be learnt by the teacher trainee. It envisages the following steps
 Orientation to micro teaching.
 Discussion of teaching skills with their components and teaching behaviour.
 Presentation of modern demonstration lesson by the teacher educator.
 Observation of the model lesson and criticism by the teacher trainee.
Phase II. interactive phase: the main objective of this phase is to enable the teacher trainee to practice the teaching skill following micro teaching cycle. The steps are:
 Preparation of micro- lesson plan for the related teaching skill.
 Creating microteaching settings.
 Practice of teaching skill.
 Feedback.
 Re-planning.
 Re-teaching.
 Repetition of the micro teaching cycle.
Phase III. Post active phase: the main objective of this phase is to enable the teacher trainee to integrate the teaching skill in real or normal class room situation. Integration of teaching skill may be defined as process of selections organization and utilization of different teaching skills to form an effective pattern for realizing the specified instructional objectives in a teaching learning situation.
Steps in Micro Teaching
1. Orientation of the student teachers : It involves providing necessary information and theoretical background about micro teaching on the following aspects : 1. concept of micro teaching. 2. significance of using micro teaching. 3. procedures of micro teaching micro . 4. requirements and setting for adopting micro teaching technique.
2. Discussion of teaching skills : In this step the concept of teaching skill is clarified to the teacher trainee . He develops knowledge and understanding about : 1. analysis of teaching into different component teaching skills.2. significance of these skills in classroom teaching. 3.component teaching behaviours of different teaching skills.
3. Selection of a particular teaching skill : The teacher trainee selects a particular teaching skill for practice.
4. Presentation of a model demonstration lesson : A demonstration lesson in that particular teaching skill is presented before the teacher trainee. This stage is known as modelling. Demonstration Can be given in a number of ways.
- By exhibiting a film or a video tape.
- By making them to listen an audiotape.
- By arranging a demonstration lesson from a live model ie by the teacher educator or some expert.
- By providing written material such as hand book, guide etc.
5. Observation of the model lesson and criticism. : An observation schedule is designed for the observation of the lesson and is distributed to the teacher trainee. A critical appraisal of the model lesson is made by the student teachers on the basis of the observation and analysis.
6. Preparation of micro lesson plan : For practicing the demonstrated teaching skill the student teacher prepares a micro lesson plan. For this he may take guidance and help from the teacher educator, books etc.
7. Creation of micro-teaching setting : The Indian model of micro-teaching developed by NCERT gives the following setting. - no. of pupils - 5-10
- type of pupils - real pupils or preferably peers
- type of supervisors - teacher educators or peers.
- Time duration for micro-teaching lesson –6 minutes
- Time duration for micro-teaching cycle – 36 minutes
This duration is divided as :
Teaching – 6 minutes
Feedback - 6 minutes
Re-plan – 12 minutes
Re-teach – 6 minutes
Re-feedback –6 minutes
8. Practice of the Skill: Under this step the student teacher teaches a micro-lesson to a micro-class. This lesson is observed by the teacher educator and the peer group with the help of the appropriate observation schedule. The lesson can be recorded using an audiotape or video tape.
9. Feedback: immediate feedback is given by the teacher educator and the peer group.
10. Re-planning; on the basis of the feedback the student teacher re-plans the lesson. He is given 12 minutes for this purpose.
11. Re-teaching
12 Re-feedback
13. Repetition of the micro-teaching cycle
14. Integration of the skills.
Micro Teaching cycle
The six steps generally involved in micro-teaching cycle are Plan, teach, Feedback, Replan, Reteach, Refeedback. There can be variations as per requirement of the objective of practice session. These steps are diagramatically represented in the following figure:
Plan Teach

Re-feedback Feedback

Re-teach Re-plan

The components of the microteaching cycle are shown in Figure. The Microteaching cycle starts with planning. In order to reduce the complexities involved in teaching, the student teacher is asked to plan a "microlesson" i.e a short lesson for 5-10 minutes which he will teach in front of a "microclass” i.e a group consisting 5-10 students, a supervisor and peers if necessary. There is scope for projection of model teaching skills if required to help the teacher prepare for his session. The student teacher is asked to teach concentrating one or few of the teaching skills enumerated earlier. His teaching is evaluated by the students, peers and the supervisor using cheekists to help them. Video recording can be done if facilities permit. At the- end of the 5 or 10 minutes session as planned, the teacher is given a feedback on the deficiencies noticed in his teaching methodology. Feedback can be aided by playing back the video recording. Using the feedback to help himself, the teacher is asked to replan his lesson keeping the comments in view and reteach immediately the same lesson to another group. Such repeated cycles of teaching, feedback and reteaching help the teacher to improve his teaching skills one at a time. Several such sequences can be planned at the departmental level. Colleagues and postgraduate students can act as peer evaluators for this purpose. It is important, however, that the cycle is used purely for helping the teacher and not as a tool for making a value judgement of his teaching capacity by his superiors. Time duration for micro-teaching cycle – 36 minutes. This duration is divided as : teaching – 6 minutes, Feedback - 6 minutes, Re-plan – 12 minutes, Re-teach – 6 minutes, and Re-feedback –6 minutes.
Characteristics of micro teaching
1. It is a teacher training technique and not a teaching method.
2. It is a real teaching, though the teaching SITUATION IS SIMULATED.
3. In micro teaching teacher trainee practices one a specific teaching skill at a time, till he/she attains mastery over the skill.
4. It is a scale down teaching encounter in class size, content, class time.
5. It operates on a predefined model. Plan, teach, feedback, re- plan, re- teach, re-feedback, etc.
6. It allows for increased control of practice by providing feedback to the teacher trainee.
7. It is not a substitute but a supplement to the teacher training programme.
8. It is a cyclic process. The pre decided model is repeated till the trainee achieves the expected level of mastery.
9. It is a highly individualized training device.
Uses of Micro Teaching
• Helps in reducing the complexities of the normal class room teaching.
• Helps the teacher trainee gain more confidence in real teaching,
• It creates among the teacher trainees an awareness of various skills of which teaching is composed of.
• It simulates the class room scene and gives the teacher trainee an experience of real teaching.
• It helps in systematic and objective analysis of the pattern of class room communication through specific observation schedule.
• It is more effective in modifying teacher behaviour.
• It is an effective technique for transfer of teaching competencies to the class room.
• It helps in getting acquainted with class room manners to a certain extent.
• Feedback enables the teacher trainee to consciously concentrate on specific behavioural modification.
• It helps the teacher trainees in better understanding of the meaning and concept of the term teaching.
• Micro teaching is skill oriented and not content oriented.
• It covers only a few specific skills.
• Lack of material resources like video recording facility and trained supervisors.
• The question of integrating the skill is quite challenging.
• Teaching is not just a summation of teaching skills.
• Sufficient literature on micro teaching is not yet available.
Teaching Skills
Teaching skills are specific instructional activities and procedures that a teacher may use in the class room. (Gage 1968). Skill is an act of teaching. (Allen). A teaching skill is a group of teaching acts/ behaviours intended to facilitate pupils learning activity directly or indirectly.
Characteristics of Teaching Skills
 Teaching skills have three basic components perception, cognition and action.
 Teaching skills have three basic dimensions- non verbal behaviour, openness and nature of moves in teaching to which the skill belongs.
Some Teaching Skills
1. The skill of Questioning
2. The skill of Reinforcement.
3. The skill of probing.
4. The skill of explaining.
5. The skill of stimulus variation.
6. The skill of introducing a lesson.
7. The skill of illustrating with examples.
8. The skill of using blackboard.
9. The skill of silence and non verbal cues.
10. The skill of using audio – visual aids.
11. The skill of recognizing attending behaviour.
12. The skill of achieving closure.
Skill of Questioning
1. Lower Order Questions
Knowledge questions. In these questions the pupils recalls facts, make observations or gives definitions. These questions imply that pupils answers are from existing knowledge and are not expected to modify, develop or use their ideas.
2. Middle Order Questions
Comprehension and application questions. These questions ask pupils to apply known techniques or rules to solve problems. Process covered include comparison, translation, interpretation etc. these questions imply that pupils answer by making use of their existing knowledge and apply to new context.
Eg. Can you express this equation in words?
3. Higher Order Questions
Analysis, synthesis, evaluation questions. These questions ask pupils to go beyond what they know. Pupils are expected to answer by analyzing a problematic situation in terms of its constituent elements, by solving problems, making predictions, producing original communication ascertaining validity of ideas or judging or justifying artistic or other products. higher order questions are intended to engage pupils in the skill of thinking and of creating knowledge.
Skill of probing questions
If pupils respond inadequately or not at all to the higher order or middle order questions then the teacher can go deep into the students’ answers and try to elicit more correct answers and it is known as the skill of probing questions. These techniques have two main characteristics in common:
a. They are initiated by the teacher immediately after the student has responded.
b. They require the student to think beyond her/his initial response.
1. Seeking Clarification: the teacher may ask the student for more clarification or information, by saying: “What, exactly, do you mean?”, “Please rephrase that statement.”,. “Could you elaborate on that point?”, “What do you mean by the term…?”etc.
2. Increasing Students’ Critical Awareness; S/he wants the student to justify her/his response. eg. “What are you assuming?”. “What are your reasons for thinking that is so?”. “Is there more to it?”. “How would an opponent of this view respond?”
3. Refocusing: If a student has given a satisfactory response, it might seem unnecessary to probe it. However, the teacher could use this opportunity to refocus on a related issue. Eg.. “If this is true, what are the implications for…?”. “How does john’s answer relate to…?”. “Can you relate this to…?”. Let ‘s analyze that answer/comment.”
4. Prompting : Giving hints or clues to lead the students from no response or wrong response to correct response .sometimes the initial questions may be too difficult for children to answer. In such cases instead of abandoning the questions they can be modified possibly by breaking it down into parts giving clues or hints. They are prompting questions.
Eg. In a triangle, A=60, B=70, what is C
Prompting question: what is the sum of the angles of a triangle?
5. Redirection: Directing the same questions to other pupils when there is a wrong response, incomplete response, partially right response, or while prompting or while seeking further information and so on.
The Skill Reinforcement
Reinforcement constitutes one of the essential conditions of learning. Hence every teacher has to master the skill for adopting appropriate strategies for reinforcing the learners. This skill has to be exhibited by teachers in the manner in which they respond to the responses and actions of pupils. Reinforcement results in response modification and is based on the principle of feed back followed by immediate rewarding of desirable or correct responses and actions. Encouraging reactions of a teacher would strengthen and discouraging reaction would weaken pupils responses involved in the learning process. Hence teacher should manage his reactions to pupil response with skill.
The stimuli that provide or contribute to the pleasant experience are called positive reinforcement or desirable behaviours. While the stimuli providing unpleasant experience can be termed as negative reinforces. Thus in the class room teaching positive reinforces are used for strengthening the desirable responses of learners and negative reinforces for weakening or eliminating the undesirable responses or behaviours.
Components of the Skill of Reinforcement
1) Positive verbal reinforcement
Students can be motivated through verbal expressions like good, right, excellent, well done, fine, carry on, go ahead etc.
Using extra verbal clues like um, aha etc also will encourage pupils to encourage pupils to progress.
2) Positive non-verbal reinforcement
Teacher uses gestures or some other behaviour to reinforce pupils learning. Nodding of the head, smiling, patting, friendly look etc. are examples. Writing pupils answers on the blackboard for others to watch also can be an effective reinforcement.
3) Negative verbal reinforcement.
Words like wrong, incorrect, no, as well as sarcastic remarks can be considered as negative reinforcement.
4) Negative non-verbal reinforcement.
Disapproval without using words has the effect of negative reinforcement. Gestures such as frowning, staring, looking angrily, shaking the head, also have the same effect.
5) Denial of reinforcement
Certain teachers do not attempt reinforcement in situations that warrant it. This is likely to discourage pupils. Such teachers are really losing an opportunity to inspire pupils for active participation in the learning process.
6) Inappropriate use of reinforcement
Reinforces should be wisely selected by teachers. It should suit the nature of the response. Inappropriate use will lesser its effect.
The Skill of Stimulus Variation
Any external force that disturbs the equilibrium is known as stimulus. So by stimulus variation we mean the change n the intensity of the external force by a teacher while teaching. The skill of stimulus variation in other words means the regulation of stimuli by the teacher while teaching. Thus skill of stimulus variation may be defined as a set of observations for bringing desirable change or variation in the stimuli used to secure and sustain pupil’s attention towards class room activities.
It has been generally observed that children especially up to the age of 10 years are not able to attend to one thing for a long period. The effectiveness of the teaching learning process in such a situation depends to a great extent on the stimulus variation used by the teacher behaviour. Some of the common teacher behaviours in the class room which fall under variation are:
Movement of the Teacher in the class
This component of the skill helps in capturing and sustaining the attention of the class while teaching. Therefore the movement of the teacher in the class is of essential. But only meaningful movements are to be made. Thus a teacher while practicing the skill of stimulus variation should learn to make well planned meaningful movements for securing as sustaining the attention of students.
Gestures of the Teacher in the class
Gestures are non-verbal clues which enhance the value of the message. They are usually made with the help of the movement of the eye, hand, head, body, facial expressions, like extending the hands in a typical shape to indicate how big or small one object is.
Change of voice by the Teacher
It involves the variation in the tone, pitch or speed of his or her voice,to pay apecial attention to a particular point or sentence or paragraph while teaching. Variation of voice by the teacher is directly noted by the students and it has direct influence in capturing the attention of the students.
Focusing by the Teacher
The component of focusing of the skill of stimulus variation refers to the behaviours that help in focusing pupil’s attention on a particular object word, idea, rule, concept, method, formula or generalization during teaching.
To exercise the component of focusing by the teacher the following methodology is followed.
a) The use of verbal statements “look here in the map”, “it is important to note”
b) The use of gestures
c) The use of both verbal statements and non-verbal gestures.
Change in interaction styles by the Teacher
The process of teaching learning involves interaction. Change in interaction style means the change in the process of teaching learning. There are three main styles of interaction such as
a) Teacher pupils or teacher group interaction (teacher coveys or gets responses from the class or groups as a whole)
b) Teacher pupil interaction (here teacher communicates with an individual pupil.)
c) Pupil-pupil interaction here a teacher employs many pupils in a dialogue without doing direct discussion.
Pausing by the Teacher
Pausing refers to the behaviour related wit h introducing silence during teaching. A pause of approximately of 3 or 4 seconds is regarded as quite effective in securing and sustaining the pupils attention in the class while teaching.

Aural-Visual Switching
This behaviour refers to the introduction of the change or variation in the use of medium, from aural to visual, from visual to aural or a combination of aural and visual.
Physical Involvement of Students
This component of the skill of stimulus variation refers to the introduction of the change or variation in the types, forms and styles of the physical involvement of the pupil in the class. Sometimes they may be engaged in dramatizing and other times in writing on the blackboard, participating in the demonstration or handling some instrument or aid material etc.
Skill of using Black Board
The black board or chalkboard is the visual aid most widely used by teachers for class room interaction. It is one of the quickest and easiest means of illustrating an important point. No doubt teaching can be made effective by skillful use of blackboard. Matter once written on the blackboard can be erased easily and new materials added as the lesson progress. For the skillful use of blackboard teacher has to take care of three aspects.
Legibility of handwriting, Neatness in the blackboard work and Appropriateness
What the teacher writes on the blackboard should be legible enough to be read by pupils without any difficulty. Legibility of handwriting can be attained up to a satisfactory level if a teacher is careful about the distinctness of letters, their proper size, shape and slant, needed space between any two letters and words adequate size of small and capital letters. For neatness in the blackboard work a teacher may take care to see that words or sentences are written horizontal lines parallel to the base of the blackboard, with adequate space between the lines, that only the relevant matter which has been under focus of class room discussion is retained on the blackboard. For appropriateness of written work on the blackboard only the salient points as they are developed should be written in their logical sequence and continuity. The blackboard summary should be brief and simple so that the pupils can follow the whole lesson at a glance. For the purpose of focusing, underlining and use of coloured chalk may be employed judiciously. Illustrations and diagrams should be simple, clear and large enough to convey the ideas presented.
Additional points to be remember
• Check whether or not the BB is clear at the start of the lesson.
• Stand one side and do not come in between the pupils and BB
• Avoid squeaking noise of the chalk while writing.
• Avoid committing mistakes in the content written on the BB.
Stance: the most convenient place to stand is towards the left side of the chalkboard.
Holding chalk: impressive BB work depends upon the style of holding the chalk or writing instrument. For good BB work always take half stick of the chalk and hold between the thumb and forefinger so that an inch or less project.


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