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Journal of Teacher Education

Basic Teaching Skills Derived from a Model of Speaking and Listening

Ned A. Flanders
Journal of Teacher Education 1973; 24; 24
DOI: 10.1177/002248717302400104

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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
Ned A. Flanders
Basic Teaching Skills Derived from a
Model of Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening are fundamental elements of while the other person stops listening in order to spec
classroom interaction. Teachers and pupils talk to each A transition itself is instantaneous, or nearly so, a
other in a conversational sequence of speaking and must be described by the events that precede and fc

listening which is basic to the teacher-pupil inter- low it. In Figure 2, which emphasizes the transiti-
change. This article analyzes the elements of speaking points, the small circles highlight the preceding a:
and listening in order to identify basic teaching skills following verbal events. These preceding and follow!]
that are essential to teacher-pupil interaction. Al- events permit us to distinguish among different tram

though the major emphasis is on skills associated with tions. For example, if Person i asks a question
verbal communication, some aspects of nonverbal com- preceding event) and Person 2 answers it (the folloi
munication are also included in the analysis. ing event), there is a transition which belongs to
The procedure followed in this article begins with a class that could be called &dquo;question-response&dquo; tran:
description of a simple model of conversation. Then, tions. Thus, by describing the events that precede ai
the model is embellished and used to identify partic- follow, we can identify and classify different tran;
ular kinds of speaking-listening transitions. These tions.
transitions, in turn, suggest basic teaching skills as- As it has been presented thus far, this model er
sociated with speaking and listening. The skills thus phasizes verbal communication. Actually, nonverb
derived are considered to be basic precisely because communication also occurs during conversation. To
speaking and listening are essential elements of the speaker can process information from the listener
interchange between teacher and pupils. watching his reactions. At the same time, the liste
can interpret gestures, facial expressions, and ot
nonverbal events to give additional meaning to w
A Simple Model of Conversation
he hears. This emphasis on verbal events does n
The verbal communication events between two per- mean that nonverbal communication is unimporta
sons occur sequence, and this sequence occupies
in a it is primarily a matter of expediency. Conceptualizi
a segment of time. While one person speaks, the other the verbal events is the easiest way to distinguish o
listens. The speaker then stops and starts to listen while transition from another. In a later section of this ar
the person who was listening starts to speak. As time cle, I will emphasize verbal and nonverbal skills m
passes, the interchange can be represented with a time- equally in identifying basic skills of listening.
line display as shown in Figure i. Figures i and 2 are most appropriate to repres
Two features of Figure i are easily identified. First, conversation in which the two or more participa
in this simple model a participant has only two al- belong to the same general status class-for exam
ternatives-either he is speaking or he is listening. one teacher talking to another or one pupil talking

Second, the model displays reciprocal changes of par- his peers. To the extent that there is a difference
ticipation which occur as transitions. These transitions, authority between two participants, it is reasonable
numbered in Figure i from left to right, identify points suppose that transitions are controlled more often
at which one person stops speaking in order to listen the person who has greater authority. Most conver


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,s during teaching do involve persons who be-

not teacher behavior, even though their effectiveness may
; to the same statusclass. A teacher has more be judged by pupil behavior. The value of moving from
rer and authority than his pupils, and during most Figures i and 2 to Figure 3 is that we focus on what
hing encounters, subsequent events are more likely the teacher says-on teacher behavior. Figure 3 sug-
)e influenced by statements made by the teacher gests that a teacher’s first statements after a pupil stops
i by the pupils. It is possible for a teacher to cur- talking and his last statements just before a pupil starts
his authority-in-use (i) and thereby approach the to talk may be the most influential so far as the nature
litions of peer conversation, but when this happens, of pupil participation is concerned.
her statements take on a very different quality Before adding embellishments to this simple model
ch can easily be recognized. of conversation, let’s summarize what has been said.
;iven the status differences of the participants in Figures i, 2, and 3 present a model of conversation
t teaching conversations, it is desirable to build a which limits participation to either speaking or listen-
lel which focuses primarily on teacher statements. ing. No distinctions are made among different kinds
ire 3 illustrates one way this might be done. The of statements or among different kinds of listening.
11 circles in Figure 3 highlight the teacher state- The model takes into account the reciprocal relation-
its which occur at transitions-that is, the last ships between speaking and listening when two or
gs said by a teacher just before a transition to more persons interact. The model also focuses our at-
il talk and the first things said by a teacher follow- tention on transitions and on the fact that transitions
a transition to teacher talk. To focus on teacher can be classified in terms of preceding and following

~ments does not mean that what a pupil says is events.

nportant. Indeed, a teacher acts in order to achieve
icular kinds of pupil participation so that judg-
its of success and failure in teaching would at least Speaking and Basic Teaching Skills
; into account the quality of pupil participation. At this point, we will postpone a discussion of listen-
~ rtheless, basic teaching skills are evidenced in ing and deal only with speaking. We begin by model-


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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
ing the speaking element of classroom interaction and
identifying basic teaching skills. Then, a brief section
considers the issue of how elaborate the model should
be to serve as an effective guide for teacher training
which is followed by comments about procedures for
training teachers in the basic skills identified.
It is easy to see that as we admit more kinds of stz
A Model Involving Two Kinds of Speaking ments as events in the model, the number of result
In a single conversation circle, the teacher speaks, different transitions increases rapidly. Since it is
then one or more pupils, then the teacher, and so on. purpose to study a reasonable number of transiti
To illustrate the sequence, Figure 4 eliminates the dot- in order to identify basic communications skills, sc
ted lines to indicate listening and includes only a heavy limit to the total number of events is necessary. I
black line to represent speaking. haps a practical example will help.
Notice the significant restrictions that are being Suppose we permitted the four kinds of stateme
placed on the model. The listening events have been which Bellack, (2) identified as basic moves of clz
discarded. Whether one pupil is responding to another room instruction: soliciting, responding, structuri
pupil is not taken into account. Different kinds of state- and reacting. If these four kinds of statements are
ments are ignored. Nor have we decided how elaborate lowed for both teacher and pupil, then there are ei
the model should be in order to serve its purpose (an kinds of events in the model. This results in 56 c
issue discussed later). One principle to follow is that ferent kinds of transitions-a quantity that may be
the model should be as simple as possible and still pro- cumbersome, especially for the &dquo;first round&dquo; of ana
duce useful basic skills. sis in this paper.
The model in Figure 4 presents only two kinds of Another basis for limiting the events in the m
events-either the teacher is speaking or one or more is found in Flanders’ proposal (3) that both tea
pupils are speaking. This also provides us with two and pupil talk can be usefully classified into initia
kinds of transitions: first, from teacher to pupil and and response. It was shown that the proportion
second, from pupil to teacher. There is a mathematical teacher response to initiation is associated with s
relationship between the number of events and the total educational outcomes as pupil achievement and
number of different one-way transitions between these sirable pupil attitudes toward the teacher and to
events which is expressed by the formula, learning. In the studies reported by Flanders, to
tiate is to lead, to create a first event which then n
be- dealt with. To respond is to deal with an exis
event, to comply, to conform, and in other way
in which N is the number of events and T is the num- be influenced by the first event. It should be ackn
ber of transitions. So long as the model admits only edged that there is a residual error in making this
two events, teacher talk and pupil talk, there are only tinction. Some actions, particularly among pupils,
two transitions-2 X i = 2. Using the same formula, difficult to classify with this simple dichotomy. H
the following relationships hold: ever, the residual error is small compared with


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1 number of events that can be reliably classified. idea of his thus creating t9. The teacher then asks
is, the distinction does have practical value in a narrow to which a pupil gives a long re-
lyzing teacher and pupil communication. sponse, indicated by tio.
igure 5 presents a timeline which shows some of the The foregoing sequence is restricted to four possible
3ible transitions given these four possible events: events, permitting 12 possible types of transitions.
her response and initiation and pupil response and Figure 6 shows these 12 transitions. The first eight
iation. Suppose that just before t2 the teacher asks transitions occur during a teacher to pupil or pupil to
arrow question* and a pupil responds. At t3, fol- teacher interchange. Transitions 9 and io occur
ing the pupil response, the teacher initiates another during continuous teacher talk; m and 12, during con-
i. Before t4 the teacher may ask a more open ques- tinuous pupil talk. Note that these latter four transi-
, based on his own ideas, and the pupil responds tions elaborate on our earlier examples of a transition
First giving a direct answer to the question. How- as simply a change in speaker. A transition occurs

-, the pupil might then expand on his answer by whenever there is a shift between any of the events

ring his own opinions. These opinions are new admitted to the model.
is in the sense of not being required by the teacher’s

ement and thus create a transition from pupil re-

Basic Teaching Skills Inferred from the Model
isle to pupil initiation at t5. Before t6 the pupil con-

ies to expand his idea, and the teacher then reacts Proceeding from this model of speaking, we can
:he pupil’s ideas following t6 (a transition from identify basic teaching skills that are demanded by the
’1 initiation to teacher response). Before t7, the various transitions.
her may ask the pupil to show how his idea
ld work, and as a result, the pupil continues to Transitions 1 and 2
i and 2 involve teacher initiation and
lop his own train of thought. At ts, the teacher
ts to the expanded idea but then turns to a new pupil response. The incidence of these transitions is
above average when the purposes of instruction pre-
narrow question has one correct answer. An open
tion does not have one correct answer and is likely to sumably require active supervision and control by the
it opinion, explanation, etc. teacher. The more common examples would include


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the teacher’s lecturing, with or without questions to fourth, he formulates questions which make usc
check pupil understanding; giving directions and ex- pupil ideas.
plaining assignments; and conducting more structured
activities such as those associated with drill or correct- Transitions 5 and 6
ing seatwork or homework. The role of the teacher Transitions 5 and 6 involve teacher initiation
in these situations is to start activities, to move to a pupil initiation. The incidence of these transition
new idea or new phase of activity when he thinks it above average when the pupils and the teacher apI
is appropriate, to check on pupil understanding-in to be on an equal footing, when both are express
short to be very active in initiating classroom activities. their own ideas as is likely to occur in a debate am
&dquo;The role of the The role of the pupil is to respond, to comply, and to equals. In these situations, there will probably l;
teacher is to start act in accordance with the expectations of the teacher strong element of testing the ideas expressed anc
activities, to move or the structure the teacher has created. There is con- deciding which ideas are to prevail. There mayi
to a new siderable evidence, (i, 2) that these transitions are used be occasions in which these transitions represent co
idea, to check the most frequently-actually too frequently when terdependence, that is, points at which the pupils t
on pupil
understanding. The judged by measures of desirable pupil growth. exception to the purposes of the teacher and init
role of the pupil Basic teaching skills which these transitions demand counteralternatives. These transitions reflect a de~
is to respond, to might include the following. First, a teacher expresses of maturity which seldom occurs in the interactior
comply... &dquo; and explains ideas clearly; second, he gives directions the average classroom, regardless of age level.
so that they are clearly understood; third, he has a Perhaps the most common form of Transition 5
number of skills that are associated zvith giving cor- curs when a teacher initiates an open question to wr
rective feedback or criticisms in a constructive man- there is no specific, expected answer. These m
ner ; fourth, he knows how and when to ask nar-
and thought-provoking questions serve as an invitatior
row questions to which correct and incorrect answers the pupil to express his own ideas which may be gi’
can be easily identified.. in the form of opinions, explanations, proposed la
possible generalizations, and so on.
Transitions 3 and 4 The basic teaching skill most often associated v
Transitions 3 and 4 involve pupil initiation and these transitions is suggested first; the others are rr
teacher response. The incidence of these transitions is speculative. A teacher formulates open quest
higher whenever the teacher has succeeded in encour- which encourage pupils to express their ozvn id
aging pupils to express their own ideas, to make sug- second, he introduces his own ideas without inhibi
gestions about the conduct of learning, or to present further expression of pupil ideas; third, he anal
their own opinions about the issues at hand. The main ideas objectively and is less influenced by the bi
skill probably lies in the fourth transition, when the which pupils express; and fourth, he deals satis f a
teacher is responding to what pupils have said, rather rily with unexpected statements (e.g., a pupil initi
than in the third transition. A skillful teacher can make when the teacher was expecting a response; this c
use of pupil ideas in a number of different ways. He vary from friendly jokes to aggressive statement
can merely acknowledge them, he can attempt to clari- topic) .
&dquo;A teacher fy and expand them, he can compare the ideas ex-
expresses and pressed by one pupil with those of another, and he Transitions 7 and 8
explains ideas can build questions which are based on pupil ideas. Transitions 7 and 8 involve teacher response
clearly, gives These occasions often occur during the latter stages of pupil response. The incidence of complete cycles
directions clearly,
and processes inquiry lessons or when current events and current volving both of these transitions is not likely t
social issues are discussed. In more advanced lessons, high in normal classroom interaction, but Trans’
these patterns occur when pupils are proposing func- 8 is unusually critical in moving from a cond
tional relationships (rules or laws) or attempting to of high teacher initiation to a condition of high
formulate generalizations (applying rules or laws). initiation. Assuming that interaction is frequ
There is some evidence (4) that even a small increase teacher-initiated, one way to encourage pupils t
in the use of these skills, in one classroom compared press their opinions or make procedural sugges
with another, is associated with desirable pupil out- is to become genuinely concerned with their ideas.
comes. ing the skill of responding to pupil responses is a
Basicteaching skills which these transitions demand step in moving away from the predominant pa
might include the following. First, a teacher reiterates, of teacher initiation. Transition 8, rather than 7
paraphrases, or expands ideas suggested by Pllpils; cilitates this stratagem.
second, he compares one pupil idea with another or The basic teaching skills which are involved are
makes use of pupil suggestions to move one step fur- tered primarily on how a teacher reacts to pupil s
ther in problem solving; third, he guides the inductive ments made in response to teacher initiation. A t

thought cycle tozvard higher levels of cognitive er inventories pupil ideas as he listens and select

thought, according to a model such as Taba’s; (5) and tain of these ideas for further development; a
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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
eacher acknowledges those ideas zuhich are not se- the other hand, patterns of nonresponse may include
ected so as to encourage continued pupil participation. teacher initiation of a new topic, thereby moving to
the next phase of problem solving, or introduction of
transitions 9 and 10 a new unit of thought. The skills listed below reflect
Transitions 9 and io involve teacher response and these two alternatives.
eacher initiation and, therefore, occur within an ex- Responsive skills When a teacher chooses to re-
:ended period of teacher talk. Transition 9, from re- spond to what a pupil has just finished saying, several
,ponse to initiation, has a higher incidence of occur- skills come into play.
’ence since a teacher may respond to what a pupil A teacher can-
ias just said before going on to introduce his own
deas. Transition io is somewhat awkward but can i. inventory pupil ideas as he listens and select &dquo;A teacher
certain of these ideas for further development reiterates and
)e used to relate what the teacher has just said to some-
(from Transitions 4 and 8). expands pupils’
:hing a pupil has mentioned earlier. 2. reiterate, paraphrase, or expand ideas suggested ideas, compares
A basic teaching skill which might be inferred is
by pupils (Transitions 4 and 8). one idea with
:hat the teacher has the ability to respond to pupil 3. acknowledge pupil ideas not selected for fur- another, initiates
’deas and then show how those ideas are related to ther development and thereby sustain pupil par- problem-solving
he train of thought that the teacher wishes to follow. ticipation (Transition 8). and guides the
4. show how ideas previously expressed by pupils inductive thought
rransitions 11 and 12 arerelated to his own ideas (Transitions 9 and cycle toward higher
Transitions m and involve initiation and 10). levels of
12 pupil
jupil response. These transitions occur during ex- 5. react constructively to the surprise of unex- cognitive thinking.&dquo;
:ended periods of pupil talk and, therefore, are not pected pupil statements (Transition 6).
lirectly under the control of the teacher. Perhaps the Initiation skills When a teacher chooses to take
nore frequent transition is the shift from pupil re- the initiative and introduce his own point of view or
;ponse to pupil initiation. For example, a teacher may his own ideas after pupil talk, there are several skills
isk a narrow question to which a pupil may at first
which come into play. A teacher can-
-espond but then continue to develop his answer in
6. criticism and corrective feedback in a con-
Nays that go beyond the scope of the original question.
3ome open questions can also be answered with this structive manner (Transition 2).
?attern of pupil talk. 7. introduce his own ideas in ways that do not
inhibit further pupil participation (Transition
If there is a basic skill to be inferred from these
;ransitions, it is that the teacher can ask questions 8. react toideas in a way that fosters an objective
hich stimulate the transition from pupil response to analysis of ideas (Transition 6). (Skill 8 could
upil initiation. occur in a responsive mode. It is classified under
initiation because the teacher’s point of view is
more often &dquo;new&dquo; to the pupils who are in-
lassification of the Basic Skills
In the preceding section, i5 basic skills were identi-
prom an analysis of 12 transitions. Here they are
eorganized and grouped according to two dimensions: Skills Used Immediately Preceding Pupil Talk
’rst, whether the skill is more likely to be used just Just before a pupil starts talking, the teacher may
fter a pupil stops talking or just before a pupil starts extend an invitation for pupil participation or he may
talk; and second, whether the skill involves teacher direct the pupils to participate. Under the conditions
itiation or teacher response. Two of the skills do of Transitions 5 and 6, when both teacher and pupils
ot fit easily into this two-by-two classification and initiate, the opportunity to talk may occur just be-
re dealt with separately. cause the teacher paused for breath. It is interesting
that Borg (6) found it necessary to train teachers to
kills Used immediately Following Pupil Talk pause for three to five seconds after asking a question
At the moment a pupil stops talking, the teacher (a euphemism for &dquo;keeping your mouth shut&dquo;) in order
as the choice of responding to what has been said to give pupils time to answer. It is reasonable to sup-
r of more or less ignoring the pupil’s statement by pose that &dquo;pausing for breath&dquo; will provide opportuni-
rning to another topic. Both actions are necessary ties to enter the conversation for only the most alert
teaching, but the teacher’s predominant choice is a pupils and that most will require a genuine invitation.
ature of the interchange over a period of time. Pat- Responsive skills When a teacher chooses to sup-
rns of response as the teacher starts to talk include port the continuation of pupil initiation or when he
inforcement in general, selective reinforcement in is trying to create opportunitics for pupil initiation,
rticular, and various ways of using pupil ideas. An- he can ask questions about what pupils have said or
ther possibility is criticism or corrective feedback. On otherwise develop selected pupil ideas. A teacher can-
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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
9. ask questions which solicit comparison of pupil these ideas seems to me absolutely critical. Seconc
ideas, call for further development, extended ex- skills 10 and m form a core of initiatory acts whic
planation, etc., or otherwise make use of pupil solicit pupil participation and are likely to occur ju:
ideas (Transition 3). before pupils participate. Here we are concerned wit
io. ask open or narrow questions about pupil ideas the skills of formulating and pacing different kind
(Transitions 3 and 7). of questions as well as directions.
A teacher can offer invitations to
Initiation skills
participate his own terms, so to speak, by asking
for reactions to his own ideas or actions. A teacher Glaring Omissions
can- Based my own writing and thinking about basi

teaching skills, the foregoing list fails to include th

&dquo;A teacher iz. ask narrowand open questions based on his basic teaching skills which are more or les
inventories pupil own ideas (Transitions i and 5). following
related toverbal communication.
ideas and selects 12. give directions that can be clearly understood
certain ones for (Transition i). First, the most effective and artistic teachers wh
further 13. ask questions which stimulate a pupil to expand have turned up in my research studies knew how t
development.&dquo; beyond the expected answer (Transition :11). integrate what educators often identify as the &dquo;affec
(This could be considered a special case of ask- tive&dquo; and the &dquo;cognitive&dquo; elements of communicatior
ing broad questions.) It is my impression that these teachers did not con
sider these as separate and distinct elements as is s
Not Classified Above often done in educational writing. Instead, they seeme
Two of the 15 suggested basic skills are not clas- to know that cognitions about subject matter usuall
sified at this point. It is difficult to classify these skills
prevail but that discussion can turn to cognition
because it is not obvious whether they would occur about feelings and attitudes. In fact, logical analysi
just before a pupil starts to talk or just after he finishes. can be applied to the affective components of a prof
The two skills are listed below. A teacher can- lem whenever this is necessary. The skill, if there i
one, is the ability to know how and when to interrul
14. express and explain his ideas clearly (usually
Transition z). the prevailing subject matter emphasis and instead f
13. guide conversations according to models of in- cus on the feelings and attitudes of the pupils. Trans

ductive and deductive thinking (Transitions 3, tions from a cognitive to an affective focus would a
1, 2, and 4). pear in our simple model of conversation if initially
and responsive statements were further divided in
Toward a Core of Basic Skills these two divisions.
Second, there is some evidence (4) to suggest th
The 15 skills listed in the previous section would more effective teachers create interaction patter
make an interesting curriculum for skill training in which display a degree of &dquo;flexibility.&dquo; In terms (
teacher education. However, it is possible that this list our model, a flexible teacher would be one who h
is too long for application in a preservice teacher edu- a wide repertoire of initiative and responsive acts a
cation program. First, skill training of all kinds is can arrange these acts into a great many differe
but one part of the professional education of a teacher,
sequences. The skill, if one exists, is to know how a
even though an important part. Teachers will also need
when to shift from a responsive to an initiative mo
to learn something about the history, philosophy, and and vice versa in terms of the exigencies of the situ
psychology of education, and then there are also the tion. Further, a skillful teacher might actually pl
fields of curriculum development and teaching meth- this kind of flexibility as part of a lesson plan. T
ods within the specialized areas of the curriculum. Sec- only way considerations of this kind could be inferr
ond, there are other kinds of basic teaching skills. It from our simple model of conversation would be
is possible that some preactive skills for planning in- extend the time span and trace teacher and pupil initi
struction, skills associated with classroom manage- tion over longer periods of time.
ment, skills of individualizing and evaluating pupil Third, a model of conversation is not likely to le
learning, and perhaps others will also be considered to what I think is the most basic of basic teachi
essential. The z5 skills just listed are based on verbal skills, namely, the ability to inquire into one’s o
communicalioi-i and thus refer to that one part of
teaching behavior regularly using systematic pro
teaching. dures in order to analyze whether different teachi
If I were to nominate two skill clusters from among skills are being used appropriately. Stated another w
the skills that have been identified, I would choose there is the skill of choosing the right skill. Perh
and combine as follows. First, skills i and 2 form a one shouldn’t fault a model of conversation for t
core of responsive acts which can occur just after a
omission; a person interested in developing the ski
pupil stops talking. The teacher’s ability to use pupil of using skills would more likely start with a mo
ideas so that he can reiterate, paraphrase, or expand of inquiry and apply it to procedures for self-devel
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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
nent. Nevertheless, skills of inquiry are clearly re- which would permit approximately 4,830 different
ated speaking
to listening. If different kinds of
and transitions. Some of these transitions can be eliminated
;peaking were incorporated in our model, inferences because of low incidence, awkwardness, or redundan-
ibout this kind of inquiry would become possible. cy. Nevertheless, it is clear that with more elaborate
category systems that make use of multiple coding,
finer distinctions will give more information.
iome Tentative Conclusions
There is a relationship between the two categories
Starting with a simple model of conversation, it has of initiation/response and the four moves of solicit-
>een possible to identify about -15 proposed basic ing, structuring, responding, and reacting. This rela-
;kills of verbal communication. It was suggested that tionship can be shown by the decision ladder which
:he pressure to include many different kinds of train- the encoder moves down in order to classify.
ng in preservice and in-service teacher education may Given the practical limitations of educating both
imit the total number of skills primarily related to experienced and future teachers, it should be possible
verbal communication which can be given attention. to agree that identifying too many skills based on too
rwo core skill areas were nominated as essential: (a) many transitions would make training impossible and
’esponsive acts which make use of pupil ideas and that too few transitions would make the training in-
Nhich occur just after a pupil stops talking; and (b) effective, or at least inconsequential. This is to say that
nitiatory acts which solicit pupil participation and there must be an optimum number of transitions which
Nhich often occur just before a pupil starts talking. could be analyzed to identify the fewest number of
Jne or two omissions were noted, and these appeared basic teaching skills. In this context, the word &dquo;fewest&dquo;
:o be the result of starting with a highly restricted means that some small number (one, two, or three?)
nodel of conversation. of basic skills within each of several classes of basic
skills (communication, planning, evaluation, class-
room management, etc.) is selected for the first round
low Elaborate the Model?
of teacher training. If successful, the first round of
This section contains a short discussion of the con-
training with selected basic skills would prepare a
equences of making finer distinctions in initiation and trainee for further self-directed training and inquiry
response, the two kinds of events incorporated in into his own teaching behavior in each skill area.
ur model of conversation. The thesis is that the model
essentially independent of the number of distinctions Inclusiveness and Cycles of Training
ne may wish to make in order to identify basic teach- One purpose of
showing the three steps of the en-
skill. coding procedure the preceding page is to illustrate

that each concept used to describe behavior can be

sing Bellack’s Four Moves subdivided to make finer distinctions. What Flanders
Bellack’s (2) total system for analyzing the language means by initiation is quite similar to what Bellack
f the classroom involves the multiple coding of single means by soliciting and structuring, and response is

vents; in fact, no less than eight classifications are quite similar to responding and reacting. The concept
ade of each event. Each of the eight classifications of initiation is more inclusive since it comprehends
as its own category system: the first classification both soliciting and structuring.
categorized into teacher talk and pupil talk; the One might defend using a model of conversation
cond involves distinguishing between soliciting, which permitted only four events (and therefore pro-
ructuring, responding, and reacting; and the six sub- duced only 12 transitions) by proposing the fol-
antive/logical/instructional classifications which lowing principles. First, the events of the model should
llow each make use of many subdivisions involving be conceptualized at the highest level of inclusiveness
few as nine or as many as 22 categories. The total (in the sense of abstraction) that still permits practical
mber of distinctions is very large since all possible distinctions in terms of behavior. The point here is
mbinations are theoretically possible. In the total sys- that any event that is abstracted must be described so
m, the number of distinctions is of the order of 70 that a trainee can determine the presence or absence

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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
of this event in order to practice the skills which are Designing Practical Training Programs
involved. Second, since the events chosen are more The purpose of proposing basic teaching skills is tc
inclusive, subsequent training can proceed by several
identify a core of skills for teacher training. If th(
cycles of subdividing in which more subtle distinctions skills proposed do not lend themselves to practical
are made at each new cycle. Third, as recycling intro-
duces more refined and subtle distinctions, the trainee training procedures, one can question the utility of th(
proposals. Preservice teacher education is especially
can practice teaching skills which become increasingly limited in terms of time, space, and instructional re-
complex and difficult. sources, and the same is true of in-service education I
&dquo;A teacher Perhaps an illustration will help. Suppose the first although the time pressure may be somewhat less strin
responds to pupil cycle of training in the basic skills of communication gent. In either case, the contribution is incomplet
ideas and relates began with making a distinction between teacher and
them to the train when only basic skills are proposed because practica
of thought to be
pupil talk and between initiation and response. The training procedures are equally important from th
basic four event model could be introduced, the notion
of transitions could be clarified, and the significance standpoint of a viable teacher education program.
Given the limitations of teacher education, the con
of behavioral events just before and just after transi-
tions identified. The skills involving each type of tran- ceptualization of basic skills should be parsimonious
and the training procedures should be efficient. Th
sition would be practiced. At the transitions from
teacher to pupil, the trainee learns that the skills are simple model of conversation used in this position pa
related to the question, &dquo;How do I (the teacher) pro- per helps to identify certain behavioral events of ver
bal communication. These behavioral events can b
vide an opportunity for pupil participation that is most
strung together to form patterns of interaction. Th
appropriate at this point?&dquo; At the transitions from pu-
patterns can be called basic skills and the ability t
pil to teacher, he learns that the skills are related to identify these patterns, to create them, and to strin
the question, &dquo;What can I (the teacher) do with the
them together into teaching strategies is what we mea
contribution that the pupil has just made?&dquo; Certain
skills and methods of analyzing teaching behavior by applying basic teaching skills to instruction. T
be parsimonious, there are relatively few concepts
have been learned, and the trainee has learned how a
such as transition, classes of transitions, sequence, ini
model can be used to guide thinking. As soon as he
learns this much, if not before, the trainee will identify tiation, response, and so on-and each of these co
cepts should lend itself to subdivision in order to per
problems which require more subtle distinctions mit dealing with more complicated problems. To b
among behavioral events. He may decide, for example,
that he would like to divide initiation into soliciting efficient, the training procedures should establish tech
and structuring. Hopefully, he has the necessary skills niques for analyzing teaching behavior which can the
be applied to a number of different skills.
in analysis and behavior modeling to make this ex-
When concepts and training procedures fit neatl
tension in his thinking. He has started down a road
that leads to more advanced problem solving. His together, efficiency is more likely to result. The co
cepts have to be recognized as behavior or featur
learning is automatically arranged to proceed from of behavior. Training provides opportunities to pra
less difficult tasks to the more difficult.
tice these behaviors under conditions which permit co
structive feedback to occur. The skills and associate
training procedures are more efficient when they a
A Parsimonious Solution arranged into a sequence that is compatible with adu
The thesis that the model of conversation which has learning.
been presented is independent of the number of dis- Training procedures which are compatible with t

tinctions to be made among behavioral events can now concepts introduced by the model of conversation ha
suggest a parsimonious solution. First, the most simple
already been published. (i) Below is an outline of t
more salient features of what might become an eff
model should provide an opportunity for the trainee
to learn transitions, sequential analysis, and a limited
cient, compatible training program, given further d
number of basic teaching skills. Second, through re- velopment.
finement and subdivision, the number of events taken A. Two models might be combined.
into consideration can be increased in subsequent cy- s. A five-step inquiry model which guides profe

cles of training, and this, in turn, may permit an anal- sional self-development when one’s own b
havior is to be an object of inquiry is o
ysis of more complex teaching skills and teaching model.
strategies. In the second stage, the model itself is rea- 2. A flexible system of interaction analysis, wi
sonably independent of the number of distinctions be- categories which be subdivided and whi
cause the trainee can move on to more complex skills
supports microteaching experiences and pr
by using more categories for classifying verbal com- vides a &dquo;timeline display&dquo; ready at the insta
munication, while the model itself remains intact. observation ceases is a second model.

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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
L Successively more complex training using the verbal behavior has not seriously weakened the prop-
above two models are possible. ositions that have been identified as basic teaching
i. Level z : Three patterns involving lecture, drill- skills.
review, and giving assignments are usually Listening and the skills associated with it may not &dquo;A teacher asks
skills teachers already use. lend themselves to the same treatment. Here we are questions that
2. Level a : Three patterns involving open ques- stimulate the
concerned with the activities of the silent member of

tions, responsive skills, and &dquo;because exten- a conversation circle. Attention to nonverbal behavior transition from
sions&dquo; is a useful place to start training. pupil response to
may now play a more significant part in analyzing
3. Level 3: Advanced self-development projects pupil initiation.&dquo;
that include strategies for controlling pupil in- teacher-pupil interaction, especially when the teacher
~ is listening to pupil talk. However, our purpose is not
dependence and teacher initiation, analyzing
to carry out an extended analysis of listening itself.

feelings and the affective domain, identifying

~ levels of thinking, and further refinement of Instead, our goals are restricted to the teaching skills
Level One skills. associated with listening. The nonverbal behaviors
The training techniques outlined above and devel- that will play a part in the analysis are those which
a pupil exhibits as he talks, and thus they become part
ped further in Analyzing Teaching Behavior are di- of the phenomena with which a teacher is concerned
ectly applicable to analyzing, identifying, and prac- when he listens. In short, a teacher not only receives
icing skills which appear just before a teacher stops
information by sensing tempo and hearing sound, in-
ilking and just after a teacher starts to speak fol-
)wing a pupil. As a result of contemporary work on flections, and emphasis; he also sees shapes and colors
and perceives motion. In this section, we assume that
raining modules for teacher education, (6) it now both hearing and seeing are essential to the analysis
vould appear that carefully developed training mod-
as well as to the skills of listening itself.
les covering different steps of the process will be help-
ul, if not necessary. Any practical system which might
esult would have to be continuously evaluated and A Model for Analyzing Listening
ppropriate revisions carried out. It is hard to any aspect of teaching that is
more critical than receiving, classifying, ab-
to success
istening and Basic Teaching Skills stracting, storing, and then acting on the information
Both speaking and listening are included in the that is inferred from pupil behavior. The total process
iodel of interaction presented earlier (see Figures is extremely complex and deserves a more extended
, 2, and 3). This model has been used to identify treatment than is possible in this article. The approach
asic teaching skills that are involved in speaking; I will take is to present a model of the critical steps of
re now turn to an analysis of listening. The goal is listening and then see if this leads to the identification
) identify the fewest number of listening skills that of basic skills of listening for the teacher. An outline
rill enhance initial training and then will lead natural- of this model is shown in Figure 7. To read this dia-
i to learning more complex skills. The procedure is gram, begin with pupil behavior represented in the
peculate about the mental processes which occur upper left-hand box. The verbal and nonverbal ele-
~hen a teacher listens to pupils and then to analyze ments of this pupil behavior are heard and perceived
e teaching skills that are involved. by the teacher. It is quite possible that the activities of
In the analysis of speaking, nonverbal behavior re- Phases i, 2, 3, and 4 occur simultaneously or at least
ived very little attention. One consequence of ignor- cannot be considered as distinct and separate activities,
g the nonverbal behavior of a speaker, especially a one following another.

acher, is that a good deal of communicative behavior In Phase i, behavioral phenomena are received and
ignored. For example, teachers can give directions subjected to mental operations which give them mean-
ith the movement of a finger, or they can focus at- ing. Expected events may trigger a quick recycle of
ntion with eye contact or by pointing while they teacher listens, teacher reacts, and pupil acts.
e at the blackboard; and this list of nonverbal be- In Phase 2, the consistency of verbal and nonverbal
viors could be extended until it is quite long. Yet phenomena is checked in terms of the teacher’s pur-
is not clear how much the omission of nonverbal poses or the purposes of the pupil which a teacher can
haviors in the first sections of this article actually infer. In the event of inconsistency, a teacher may
ited the main purpose of identifying important initiate questions designed to clarify his interpretation
ills of teaching. The responsive and initiative skills of what he has seen or heard which creates a recycle to
at were identified in the analysis of speaking could pupil behavior.
ve been derived from an analysis of nonverbal be- In Phase 3, the teacher may decide that the affective
vior by using essentially the same procedures be- component of the behavior is so predominant that it
use these skills can be performed verbally or non- should be dealt with separately rather than letting it
rbally. Thus, it may be argued that ignoring non- remain an unidentified feature of the main subject mat-


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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
Downloaded from by Lucia Na on November 3, 2007
© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
r emphasis which characterizes most teacher-pupil come excited about the inductive emphasis of &dquo;inquiry
interaction.Again, the recognition of anomalies may teaching&dquo; since it presents a new way to guide pupil
imulate teacher questions for clarification and there- thinking, one that many teachers have not experienced
recycle to pupil behavior. very often.
Phase 4 proposes that there is a continuing atten- Hilda Taba (5) believes that principles of inductive
on to completed events and a continuing anticipation
thinking can be taught to both teachers and youngsters
F what will happen next which create a dynamic bal- providing enough is known about the steps involved
ice or tension system within the teacher. This ten- and providing repeated practice in using these steps
on system builds conjectures about what will happen can be arranged. A few teacher educators with whom
~xt compared with the presumed purposes of the inter- I am acquainted have developed instructional materi-
:tion such that at some moment the teacher acts. He als for this purpose. Many of these materials permit
lay stop listening and start to talk or simply instigate the adult learner to: first, inventory objects, the at-
nonverbal behavior while he continues to listen. tributes of objects, or simply the concepts which rep-
his might be described as a shift from passive to resent ideas; second, group these items into clusters
:tive participation. The classification of the teacher’s according to some stated logic; third, label the clusters
aive behavior will depend on the category system with a concept; and fourth, use labels in forming sen-
[at the observer prefers. This action usually leads to tences which stand for functional relationships or
ore overt pupil behavior. tentative generalizations. Such materials follow the
procedures recommended by Taba for teaching social
studies or science in the elementary grade levels.
inferring Basic Teaching Skills The activities in Phases do suggest basic teaching
iase 1-Creating Meaning skills. These may be a family of skills which are in-
Pupilbehavior impinges on the senses of a teacher volved in the inductive thinking processes: the ability
i small bits. My preference in theorizing about these to perceive bits of information, to classify these bits,
Its is to borrow the &dquo;foreground-background&dquo; no- to organize them into clusters with labels, and to for-
ons from Gestalt psychology. Because a teacher has
mulate functional relationships using the labels. A sec-
purpose and looks for certain events he expects will ond skill or family of skills may some day be formu-
appen, the occurrence of an expected event is quickly lated which is concerned with thinking simultaneously
!cognized, assumes a position in the foreground, and about expected events as well as those events which
m be acted on immediately. Thus, a single bit, such
are stored and dealt with at a slower pace. It requires
; a word or a gesture, has sufficient meaning for the
good judgment to decide when it is appropriate to turn
acher to react. A rapid interchange between teacher
away from the expected events and attend to a growing
rid pupil illustrates this pattern. Simultaneously,
syndrome of background events, originally assigned
.any other events occur, but these assume positions to storage, by retrieving and acting on them because
L the background where they may be inventoried,
they create a higher priority.
ustered, and stored, if not ignored. As the bits as-
gned to the background gradually assume meaning, Phase 2-Checking Inconsistency
te teacher may choose to react to them, providing Once events assume some kind of meaning, a teach-
s can develop a useful relationship among the mean- er may wish to check the consistency of these mean-
gs of a cluster, the present state of affairs, and his ings. When a teacher asks a pupil whether he is inter-
structional purposes. ested in arithmetic, the reply may be, &dquo;Well, I guess
The steps of thinking in perceiving, classifying, so,&dquo; but the pupil may speak indifferently and
stering, and abstracting meaning are largely induc- slumped back in his withdraw. The verbal
seat as if to
e. However, the skills of using inductive thought and nonverbal information is inconsistent. Alterna-
ocesses may well be unfamiliar to most teachers. tively, a few pupils may be actively providing expected
achers have little formal training in logical thought behavior while the majority of the class presents un-
ocesses and their other learning experiences, such expected symptoms of indifference. This is a case of
contacts with parents and former teachers, seldom inconsistency between foreground and background in-
courage the individual to become self-conscious formation. Inconsistencies such as these, along with
out the steps that are involved in thinking. Further- many others that could be imagined, provide informa-
re, the thought processes exemplified by instructors tion from which an alert teacher may infer that the
teacher education have a more deductive than in- goals of teaching are not adequately accepted by the
ctive character. Usually generalizations are stated pupils. Planning activities that actively involve the
st, and then examples are given to illustrate what pupils in clarifying the goals of instruction and estab-
generalization means. These observations suggest lishing individual learning tasks may consequently be
t the basic skills of inductive thinking are likely activated to correct the situation.
be underdeveloped in many teachers. It may be this If a basic teaching skill can be proposed with regard
k of familiarity that causes many teachers to be- to Phase 2, it could be to have the teacher know how

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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
and when to initiate questions that attempt to clarify explain why a teacher will suddently shift from moi
inconsistencies between verbal and nonverbal informa- passive listening and engage in more overt particip:
tion and between the goals the teacher infers from tion.
pupil behavior and the instructional goals the teacher According conjectures thus far, a teach4
to our
has in mind. makes sense out of what has happened by placin
some events in the foreground and others in the bad
Phase 3-interpreting the Cognitive/Affective Emphasis ground of his thinking. (How he does this may i
&dquo;Conceptualizing This section is included with some misgivings. First, lustrate a teacher’s biases, his stereotypes, and the pr
teacher listening we educators cling to the affective/cognitive dichot- orities of his value system.) Expected events may moi
skills has been omy without really understanding its utility in the often be placed in the foreground since they are moi
ignored too long analysis of teaching; and second, the phenomena to be likely to be associated with his teaching purposes. Ur
in teacher
discussed in this section might better be conceptualized important events and those that are unexpected in tt
in Phase 2 as an inconsistency between goals and sense of being less related to the teacher’s purpose
needs of pupils and the goals and needs of the teacher. are inventoried, classified, and put into clusters, cor

Nevertheless, circumstances arise in teaching in ceptualized in some way, and then stored in the bad
which the predominant emphasis on subject matter ground of his thinking. Some dramatic unexpecte
cognitions is better set aside to attend to cognitions events, of course, assume positions in the foregroun
about pupil attitudes, feelings, and the general because they cannot be ignored, but this is an exceptio
emotional tone of the class. It is unfortunate that rather than the rule. Since the phenomenal field prc
the examples usually suggested to illustrate attention vides constant input and since we may presume th,
to the affective domain often stem from negative at- there are limitations in our capacity to store informc
titudes expressed as disruptive pupil behavior. There tion for immediate recall, there must be a fairly cor
may be a far greater pay-off when a teacher chooses stant loss of specific events as they are gradually rye
to attend to the more constructive feeling tones of
placed by higher order abstractions. As a result, a s(
enthusiasm, happiness, and the sheer joy of success. ries of encounters which occurred during the first fiv
A teacher may also find it useful to anticipate posi- minutes of instruction may be almost lost so minute
tive feelings, talk about them with the pupils, and later because they are hidden under the abstract labe
even generate excitement and curiosity about how &dquo;the introduction was successful in stimulating cla~
these feelings will develop. interest.&dquo; Once this inference is reached, the teache
The reason for considering the affective domain in may be less sensitive to cues which indicate that
this separate section is that there is a particular skill particular child is not interested in his learning tasl
which teachers who are more effective usually possess. The dynamic balance of past explanations and fu
This is the skill of knowing when and how to focus ture predictions that is in the mind of the teacher ca
attention on feelings and attitudes in ways that support create a tension system because his teaching strate
rather than detract from the subject matter goals of is based on learning goals and particular purposes c
learning. Probably several steps are involved. First, instruction. The events that are now occurring a
awareness and sensitivity to pupil feelings and atti- the past events which have been stored are constant
tudes may reflect special skill in Phase i activities being reevaluated in terms of goals and purpose. Let
such that behavior clues which express emotional tone assume that there are two basic ways that the teach
are perceived with greater sensitivity, are stored with can act. First, he can respond to current events a
a higher priority, and conceptualized more accurately. support their continuation because he sees them
Second, judgments are made in Phases 2 and 3 in which consistent with goals and purpose. Second, he can i
the affective elements in the situation are compared tervene to initiate a new direction by modifying wh
with the purposes of the teacher and the inferred pur- is going on. This modification may be very slight, (
poses of pupils, and these judgments may make pre- it may be quite abrupt and apparent, but in either cas
dicting more accurate in Phase 4. To summarize, the the intervention occurs because the teacher sees so
skill is knowing when and how to clarify feelings and inconsistency between goals and purpose compar
attitudes in order to support anticipated learning ac- with anticipated next events. How long a teacher w
tivities or to avoid detracting from them. tolerate a trend in the events which is away from h
goals and purpose probably varies greatly within t
Phase 4-The Dynamic Balance of the Moment same teacher and certainly between teachers. There
It was H. A. Thelen (7) who said: &dquo;Time is a moun- also great variation in what action is most often tak
tain whose peak is the present. The past slopes off one once the teacher does decide to act. For example,
side and the future off the other. Looking in one direc- teacher may take matters into his own hands and i
tion we make explanations: looking in the other, pre- tiate corrective action. On the other hand, he m
dictions.&dquo; As a teacher listens, he tries to make sense choose to ask questions designed to help pupils s
out of what is happening and predict what will happen the inconsistency that he sees and in other ways sha
next. Phase 4 is inserted into this analysis in order to the responsibility for taking corrective action. Ho
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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
rer a teacher does act, what he does will depend on Some Reflections on Teacher Listening and
le skills associated with phases i, 2, and 3. In this
ay. Phase 4 summarizes and incorporates the first
iree phases of the model.
The conceptualization of teacher listening skills has
Are there any particular teaching skills associated been ignored too long in the field of teacher education.
ith Phase 4 activities? I don’t really know, but I These skills are basic to all teacher-pupil encounters.
old like to think that we teacher educators would Listening and speaking skills are so intimately inter-
e smart enough to conceptualize the behaviors of de-
related that in some instances they seem to be almost
ding when and how to intervene and that we could identical. For example, responsive speaking skills may
ien design training experiences which would improve actually be listening skills since they often serve to
iis aspect of teaching. Here are some skills that might improve listening accuracy and correct a teacher’s mis-
e nominated as worthy of further investigation. First, conceptions.
,e could train teachers to use response actions which
The dynamic balance described in Phase 4 of the
lould encourage pupils to share in diagnosing incon- model for teacher listening may suggest some kind of
.stencies between what is happening and what needs decision-making model. How does a teacher decide
> happen in order to reach agreed upon goals of in-
when he should intervene? How does he choose among
:ruction. Second, we might find a way to train teach- alternative interventions? Here again, the close inter-
rs to be more tentative in formulating their abstract relationship of listening skills with speaking skills is
immaries of past events and thereby be more sensi- quite apparent since a decision point recognized by
ve to unexpected events that suggest misconceptions listening will most often provoke a verbal interven-
i summarizing past events. A third skill might result
tion. It is quite possible that the skills of speaking and
:om giving teachers training experiences which show listening should not be taught separately to teachers
even though they are conceptualized in different sec-
iat sometimes it is possible to change the goals of in-
:ruction and still achieve desirable educational pur- tions of this article.
oses. A fourth skill is to learn to use various inter-
The central challenge to those of us who seek to
ention techniques so that teachers have a large reper- identify basic teaching skills is to select for the first
>ire and can choose the most appropriate type of inter- round of teacher education those skills of speaking and
ention. listening which have the greatest potential for subse-
quent professional self-development. These would be
basic skills because they are pervasive whenever teach-
ummary of Listening Skills for Teachers ers and pupils interact and because they provide heu-

From Phase i comes the most important set of ristic experiences that facilitate continuing education
Kills: A teacher has the ability to perceive bits of in- for teachers.
)rmation from pupil behavior, to classify these bits,
) organize them into clusters with labels, and to for-

mlate functional relationships using the labels.

Phases s, 2, and 4: A teacher reacts to expected
vents one after another and, at the same time, in- 1 Ned A. Flanders, Analyzing Teaching Behavior
uctively processes information in such a way that (Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley, 1970), p. 314
le summary labels are kept tentative so they do not 2 A.A. Bellack, H.M. Kliebard, R.T. Hyman, and F.L.
ihibit the receiving and processing of conflicting in- Smith Jr., The Language ofthe Classroom (New
Jrmation. York: Teachers College Press, Columbia Univer-
Phases 2, 3, and 4: A teacher has the sensitivity, sity, 1966), p.4.
kills, and convictions necessary to initiate questions 3 Flanders, Analyzing Teaching Behavior, p. 35.
iat will help to clarify inconsistencies among the be- 4 Ned A. Flanders, Teacher Influence, Pupil Atti-
avioral phenomena whenever such inconsistencies are tudes, and Achievement, Cooperative Research
oticed-especially in regard to cognitions about feel- Monograph No. 12 (OE-25040), U.S. Office of Ed-
its, attitudes, subject matter, and group processes. ucation (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan
All Phases: A teacher is quite self-conscious about School of Education, 1965).
iaintaining a balance which rests on a fulcrum of 5 H. Taba, "The Teaching of Thinking," Elementary
greed upon goals of instruction which compares the English, 42:5 (May 1965), p. 534-42.
xplanations of past events with the predictions of next 6 W.R. Borg, M.L. Kelley, P. Langer, and M.D. Gall,
vents; the teacher can establish flexible patterns of The Minicourse: A Microteaching Approach to
ltervention because he has a wide repertoire of inter- Teacher Education (Beverly Hills, Calif. : Mac-
ention skills; a teacher develops the courage, patience, millan Educational Services, 1970).
d convictions necessary to use intervention judi- 7 H.A. Thelen, Education and the Human Quest
ously. (New York: Harper Bros., 1960), p. 188.

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© 1973 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.