The teacher spends much classroom time explaining or demonstrating something to the whole class, a small group, or an individual. Student resource materials typically do not provide extensive explanations of concepts, and students often need a demonstration in order to understand procedures.

Some explanations are given to help students acquire or deepen their understanding of a concept, while others help students understand generalizations. Concerning the former, the teacher must select an appropriate concept definition and appropriate examples and nonexamples. Regarding the latter, Shostak (1986) suggests that an explanation can show:

  • a cause and effect relationship (for example, to show the effect of adding an acid to a base);
  • that an action is governed by a rule or law (for example, to show when to capitalize a noun);
  • a procedure or process (for example, to show the operation of solving a mathematical equation); or,
  • the intent of an activity or process (for example, to show the use of foreshadowing in drama).



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