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DEMONSTRATION AS A METHOD OF TEACHING

Demonstration method of teaching is a traditional classroom strategy used in technical and


training college and in teacher education. This method of teaching focuses to achieve
psychomotor and cognitive objectives. Demonstration is based on simple, yet sound principle
that we learn by doing. Students learn physical or mental skills by actually performing those
skills and the supervision. An individual learns to write by writing, to weld by welding and to fly
an aircraft by actually performing flight maneuvers. Students also learn mental skills such as
speed reading by this method. Skills requiring the use of tools, machines and equipment are
particularly well suited to this instructional method. According to Heather Coffey, demonstration
method of teaching shows learners how to do a task using sequential instruction with the end
goal of having the learners perform the task independently.
Every instructor should recognize the importance of student performance in the learning
process. Early in a lesson that is to include a demonstration and performance, the instructor
should;
i.
ii.
iii.

Identify the most important learning outcomes.


Explain and demonstrate the steps involved in performing the skill being taught.
Allow students time to practice each step so they can increase their ability to perform the
skill.

The demonstration method of teaching has five essential phases.


1)
2)
3)
4)
5)

Explanation
Demonstration
Student performance
Instructor supervision
Evaluation
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Explanation phase
Explanations must be clear, pertinent to the objectives of the particular lessons to be
presented and based on the known experience and knowledge of the student. In teaching a skill,
the instructor must convey to the student the precise actions they are to perform. In addition to
the necessary steps the instructor should describe the end results of these efforts. Before leaving
this phase the instructor should encourage students to ask questions about any step of the
procedure they do not understand.
Demonstration phase
The instructor must show students the actions necessary to perform a skill. As little
extraneous activity as possible should be included in the demonstration. If students are to clearly
understand that the instructor is accurately performing the action previously explained. If, due to
unanticipated circumstances the demonstration does not closely conform to the explanation, this
deviation should be immediately acknowledged and explained.
Student performance and instructor supervision phase
Because these two phases, which involve separate actions, are performed concurrently,
they are discussed under the same heading. The first of these phases is the students performance
of the physical or mental skills that have been explained and demonstrated. The second activity
is the instructors supervision.
Student performance requires students to act and do. To learn skills, students must
practice. The instructor must, therefore allot enough time for meaningful student activity.
Through doing, students learn to follow correct procedures and to reach established standards. It
is important that students be given an opportunity to perform the skill as soon as possible after a
demonstration. For example, in flight training, the instructor may allow the students to follow
along on the control during the demonstration of a maneuver. Immediately thereafter, the
instructor should have the student attempt to perform the maneuver, coaching as necessary. In
another example, students have been performing a task, such as a weight and balance
computation, as a group. Prior to terminating the performance phase, they should be allowed to
independently complete the task at least once, with supervision and coaching as necessary.

Evaluation phase
In this phase, the instructor judges the student performance. The student displays
whatever competence has been attained, and the instructor discovers just how well the skill has
been learned. To test each students ability to perform, the instructor requires students to work
independently throughout this phase and makes some comments as to how each performed the
skill relative to the way it was taught. From this measurement of student achievement, the
instructor determines the effectiveness of the instruction.
Characteristics of a demonstration
i.
ii.

Action: you have to show a physical example of a process or technique.


Verbal explanation: you have to explain the concept that links the process and technique

iii.
iv.

also describing the reason why.


Student audience: have the students gathered round, prepared and listening.
Student action and response: after demonstration, students display competency of the
skill and concepts they observed.

Variations of a demonstration
a)
b)
c)
d)

Physical demonstration.
Written or visual demonstration: holding up a; painting, chart etc.
Audio demonstration: for example hearing a musical note.
Method demonstration: that is illustrating how to do something in step by step.

Planning a successful classroom demonstration


Careful planning will contribute to the success of a classroom demonstration.
Suggestions
1. Identify the intended learning outcome of the demonstration so that you can communicate
them to your students.
2. Consider the various steps involved in the demonstration, listing the equipment and other
materials that you will need to collect together before the lesson.
3. Check whether you require teaching aids such as charts, pictures, posters, and models to
complement the demonstration. The board may be used to highlight key words and
important point.
4. Check that the classroom seating arrangements provide your student with a clear view of
the demonstration.
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5. Rehearse the demonstration so that you are sure of the order in which to do things and
can address any possible problem.
6. List the questions that you can ask your students before, during and after the
demonstration to engage them and focus the attention.
7. Identify as many opportunities as possible to develop scientific enquiry. Allow your
students to predict what will happen, observe any perceptible changes, record their
observations and draw their own conclusion.
A good classroom demonstration should capture your student interest from the start, with
an appropriate introduction to the topic, reference to the intended learning outcomes and some
explanatory questions to establish their current knowledge and understanding.
As you undertake the demonstration you should explain, what you are doing. It is
important to carry out the demonstration neatly and systematically. The intention is to provide a
good example to your students if they later carry out the activity themselves.
Rules for using the demonstration performance method
1. Give a perfect demonstration or if not practical show finished product. For example,
when teaching map preparation, show a map with a cross-country trip all marked outstudents will see the standard expected in the preparing their own maps.
2. Give a step by step explanation of the required task-use reasons or examples, and
3.
4.
5.
6.

comparisons to make the explanations clean.


Have the students imitate the steps of the skill while you provide close supervision.
Continue until the students have imitated each step.
Provide students practice with assistance as necessary.
Ensure that the amount of time allocated for student practice equals or exceeds the
amount of time the demonstration, explanation and student performance under very close

supervision. Students should take as much time to practice as you take to teach.
7. Overall rule-while you are demonstrating and explaining your students listen and
observe; while your student is performing, you should listen and observe. NEVER ask
the students to perform while you are explaining.
8. Complete the exercise with an evaluation (final check-up) in which students have the
opportunity to prove what they can do.

NB: Never just explain and demonstrate a skill or procedure for students. Always have students
perform the skill to ensure that the skill or the procedure is done properly. Stick with them until
the skill is done correctly.
Advantages of demonstration method
i.
ii.
iii.
iv.
v.

It helps in involving various senses to make learning permanent.


It develops interest in the learners and motivates them for their active participation.
It helps in achieving psychomotor objectives.
Any simple or complex skill becomes easy to understand.
Though teacher behavior is autocratic he invites the cooperation of pupils in teaching
learning process.

Disadvantages of demonstration method


i.

Only the attention of the learner is invited towards the activity demonstrated. They are

ii.

not free to discuss about it.


Due to poor economic conditions of the government schools, there is scarcity of audiovisual aids and equipment and the teachers are not so creative to produce handmade

iii.
iv.

models for demonstration.


It can only be used for skill subjects.
There is a general lack of sincerity and diligence among teachers who wish to complete
the syllabus at the earliest without putting sincere efforts.

References

Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques.


Barnard, J. D. (1942). The lecturedemonstration versus the problemsolving method of teaching
a college science course. Science Education, 26(34), 121-132.