Teachers need to be clear in all forms of instruction. Saying this much is obvious, but how to actually be clear is less so. We must first take our audience into account, our students. How old are they? Are they native speakers? How much do they already know?
Once we have a working knowledge of this, we have the hope of being clear.
Planning brings clarity.
Plan out your instructions/procedures beforehand. Do not plan the activity and neglect to plan the how-to.
Routines bring clarity.
Develop routines for daily tasks. Routines are especially helpful during transition times. When routines are established, students can instantly know what to do just by observing a teacher’s hand motion.
Teachers must be concise. Being concise helps to bring clarity because it is easier for students to remember a short set of instructions than a long set.
Editing brings conciseness. Look over your plan, cut out what you do not need. Remember, to base your cuts on your students’ background knowledge.
Start with clear and detailed explanations and then fade the explanations out over time to help your students master the content. “To tie an overhand knot we will first…then…and finally…”
|Overhand Knot Tying Example|
(with teacher demonstrations and assistance)
For concise explanations, start with the goal. “We will tie an overhand knot.”
This helps your students follow the instructions because they know the end/goal at the beginning.
Cut what you say. Do you like, um, you know, use filler words? Be cognizant of how you speak and actively work to reduce how often you use unneeded words.
The meaning of clarity and conciseness is obvious, but actually being clear and concise is difficult. You should intentionally work at it.