Chapter 4. The Teaching Process

Types of Instructional Aids

Some of the most common and economical aids are chalk or marker boards, and supplemental print materials, including charts, diagrams, and graphs. Other aids, which are usually more expensive, are projected materials, video, computer-based programs, and models, mock-ups, or cut-aways.

Chalk or Marker Board

The chalk or marker board is a widely used tool for instructors. Its versatility and effectiveness provide several advantages for most types of instruction. First, the material presented can be erased, allowing the surface to be used again and again; and second, the boards serve as an excellent medium for joint student-instructor activity in the classroom. The following practices are fundamental in the use of the chalk or marker board:

  • Keep the chalk or marker board clean.
  • Erase all irrelevant material.
  • Keep chalk, markers, erasers, cleaning cloths, rulers, and related items readily available to avoid interruption of the presentation.
  • Organize and practice the chalk or marker board presentation in advance.
  • Write or draw large enough for everyone in the group to see.
  • Leave a margin around the material and sufficient space between lines of copy so the board is not overcrowded.
  • Present material simply and briefly.
  • Make only one point at a time. A complete outline tends to distract students and makes a logical presentation difficult. If writing has been previously prepared, it should be covered and then revealed one step at a time.
  • If necessary, use a ruler, compass, or other devices in making drawings.
  • Use colored chalk or marker for emphasis.
  • Underline statements for emphasis.
  • Use the upper part of the board. In many classrooms, students may not be able to see the lower half.
  • Stand to one side of the board to avoid hiding the essential information.
  • Use a pointer when appropriate.
  • Adjust lighting as necessary to remove glare.

Supplemental Print Material

Print media, including photographs, reproductions of pictures, drawings, murals, cartoons, and other print materials are valuable supplemental aids. Charts, diagrams, and graphs are also in this category. Many of these items are suitable for long-term use on bulletin boards and in briefing areas. Pictures, drawings, and photographs are especially effective because they provide common visual imagery for both instructors and students. In addition, they also provide realistic details necessary for visual recognition of important subject material. In many cases, this type of supplemental training media may be reproduced in a format for projection on a screen or other clear surface.

Charts, diagrams, and graphs include any printed material which gives information in tabular form. There are several types of charts that can be used in presenting data such as pie charts, flow charts, and organizational charts, among others. The type of chart selected for use depends largely on the type of information the instructor wants to convey. An important factor is chart format. Since charts may consist of a series of single sheets or be tied together in a flip-chart format with several pages, the location and handling of them should be planned in advance.

A graph is a symbolic drawing which shows relationships or makes comparisons. The most common types are the line graph and the bar graph. The selection of a graph for use in any given situation depends upon the type of information the instructor wants to convey.

Charts, diagrams, and graphs can be used effectively to show relationships, chronological changes, distributions, components, and flow. They are easy to construct and can be produced in the same manner as pictures. In addition, they can be drawn on a chalk or marker board and can be duplicated. Care must be taken to display only a small amount of material and to make the material as simple but meaningful as possible.

Numerous other useful print items may be considered as supplemental training aids. Some of these include study guides, exercise books, course outlines, and syllabi. Well-designed course outlines are especially useful to students because they list the key points and help students organize note taking during a lecture.

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