misunderstanding, a desire to participate, fatigue, or a
lack of interest. If you are dealing with young trainees,
you sometimes may need to remind them that they must
give undivided attention to the instruction.
Maintain a high degree of enthusiasm.
Speak in a natural, conversational voice.
Enunciate your words clearly. Make certain the trainees
can hear every spoken word.
Emphasize important points by the use of
gestures, repetition, and variation in voice inflection.
throughout the presentation by watching the faces of the
trainees and by questioning them.
Observing facial expressions as an indication of
doubt or misunderstanding is not an absolute way of
ensuring trainee comprehension. Some trainees may
appear to be comprehending the subject matter when, in
reality, they are completely confused. Trainees who are
in doubt often hesitate to make their difficulty known.
They may hesitate because of natural timidity, fear of
being classified as stupid, or failure to understand the
subject matter well enough to explain where their
Frequently ask if the class has any questions, thus
giving the trainees an opportunity to express any doubts
or misunderstandings on their part. Based on your
personal knowledge and past experiences, ask specific
questions about those areas which might give trainees the
most trouble. Some instructors make the mistake of
waiting until the end of the presentation to ask questions.
The best time to clear away mental fog is when the fog
develops. Mental fog tends to create a mental block that
prevents the trainee from concentrating on the subject
matter being presented. (Later in this section you will
find techniques related to asking questions, calling upon
trainees to answer questions, and evaluating answers.)
Instruct on the class level. Use words,
explanations, visual illustrations, questions, and the like,
directed to the needs of the average trainee in the class.
Stimulate trainees to think. Think, as used here,
refers to creative thinking, rather than a mere recall of
facts previously learned. You can use a number of
instructional devices for stimulating trainee thinking.
Among those devices are thought-provoking questions,
class discussions, problem situations, challenging
statements, and rhetorical questions (a question to which
no answer is expected). Another device is the use of
suggestions, such as I want you to think along with me
and Consider your reaction to this situation.
Discussion methods are effective in getting the
trainees to think constructively while interacting with the
rest of the group. Conduct discussions with large or
small groups; however, small groups are more desirable.
You can control and direct a small group more easily
than you can larger groups of 10 or more trainees. If a
group is extremely large, break it into smaller groups or
teams with a discussion leader for each team.
The use of the terms class discussion and directed
discussion in this text refer to methods in which you
facilitate verbal exchange in the class. To use these
methods, first lay a suitable foundation for the discussion
by asking one or more challenging questions. Then
stimulate the trainees to discuss the basic questions;
finally, guide the discussion to a logical conclusion.
In the directed discussion, you act as the chairman or
moderator. As a result of your questions, suggestions,
and redirection of ideas, the trainees in the class become
genuinely interested in exploiting all angles of the central
problem. They forget the normal classroom restraints and
begin to talk to each other as they would when carrying
on an ordinary conversation. A true class discussion
requires a trainee-to-trainee interchange of ideas. An
instructor-to-trainee interchange of ideas during a typical
question-and-answer period is not a class discussion.
To conduct a class discussion, you must make more
extensive and more thorough preparations than you
would for a lecture. Although the trainees supply the
ideas, you must have a thorough knowledge of the
subject matter to be able to sift out pertinent ideas. Be
aware of ideas that may lead the trainees off on a
tangent; steer the discussion away from those ideas.
Guide the trainees away from irrelevant ideas and toward
the desired goals without dominating the discussion.
You can adapt some ideas to discussions more easily
than other ideas. The most easily adaptable areas require
trainees to compare, contrast, and weigh facts, concepts,
and ideas. They also require trainees to solve problems,
particularly those dealing with human relations, and to
glean hidden or obscure information from scattered