All methods of instruction can be classified
as telling, lecturing, or discussing; showing or
demonstrating; or any combination of these.
Often the best method of teaching combines the
various methods. You must decide which methods
to combine and the emphasis to place on each
unless the curriculum itself dictates the com-
bination needed. In making that decision, consider
(1) the nature of the trainees, (2) the subject
matter, and (3) the limitations of time.
The lecture is still the most frequently used
method of instruction. However, presenting a
lecture without pausing for interaction with
trainees can be ineffective regardless of your skill
as a speaker. The use of pauses during the lecture
for direct oral questioning creates interaction
between instructor and trainee. Unfortunately,
when classes are large, the instructor cannot
possibly interact with all trainees on each point.
The learning effectiveness of the lecture method
has been questioned because of the lack of interac-
tion; but it continues as a means of reaching
a large group at one time with a condensed,
organized body of information. Providing trainees
with lesson objectives before the lecture will
enable them to listen more effectively. It will help
them to take concise, brief notes concerning the
objectives rather than writing feverishly through-
out the lecture.
We discuss the lecture method first because
the techniques involved serve as the basis for other
methods of training. Those techniques apply not
only to lectures, but to many other kinds of
presentations in which oral explanations play a
secondary, but important, role. Every method
depends on oral instruction to give information,
to arouse attention and interest, and to develop
receptive attitudes on the part of the trainees.
Therefore, as an instructor, organize your oral
presentations with the following techniques in
1. Maintain good eye contact. As you speak,
shift your gaze about the class, pausing
momentarily to meet the gaze of each trainee.
Make the trainees feel what you have to say is
directed to each one personally. Your eyes as
well as your voice communicate to them; and
their eyes, facial expressions, and reactions
communicate to you. Watch for indications of
doubt, misunderstanding, a desire to participate,
fatigue, or a lack of interest. If you are dealing
with young trainees, you may sometimes need to
remind them that they must give undivided atten-
tion to the instruction.
2. Maintain a high degree of enthusiasm.
3. Speak in a natural, conversational voice.
Enunciate your words clearly. Make certain the
trainees can hear every spoken word.
4. Emphasize important points by the use of
gestures, repetition, and variation in voice
5. Check trainee comprehension carefully
throughout the presentation by watching the faces
of the trainees and by questioning.
Observing facial expressions as an indication
of doubt or misunderstanding is not a sure way
of checking on 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 difficulty lies.
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 chapter we discuss
techniques related to asking questions, calling
upon trainees to answer questions, and evaluating
6. 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.
7. Stimulate trainees to think. Think, as used
here, refers to creative thinking rather than to a
mere recall of facts previously learned. Use a
number of instructional devices for stimulating
trainee thinking. Among those devices are
thought-provoking questions, class discussions,