Concept, Objective, Levels, Characteristics and Basic Requirements in Teaching

Teaching: Concept, Objectives, Levels of teaching (Memory, Understanding and Reflective), Characteristics and basic requirements.

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(1. a.) Meaning of Teaching       

Teaching is the process of inculcating moral values, abilities, skills by an experienced person to an inexperienced person in order to ensure positive change in behavior useful in developing oneself and the society. Teaching is shaping one’s thought and action through giving instructions and performing practices that create a new behavior and capacity.

In simple words- Teaching is important part in the process of Education. Its special function is to impart knowledge, develop understanding and skill.

Teaching can be both formal and informal. Informal teaching is carried out within the family or in community, during initial years of life. It is also called home schooling. On the other hand, formal teaching is carried out by paid professionals called editors, teachers or faculty.

Definition of Teaching:

Teaching is a form of interpersonal influence aimed at changing the behavior potential of another person.

-American Educational Research Association Commission

Teaching is stimulation, guidance, direction and encouragement of learning.

– Burton

Teaching refers to activities that are designed and performed to produce change in student behavior.

– Clarke

Teaching is an intimate contact between the more mature personality and a less mature one.

– H. C. Morrison

(1. b.) Concepts/Models of Teaching

Two basic models of teaching-

(1) Pedagogy Model

  • This model is also known as instructor-based teaching or traditional teaching.
  • It is a conventional method.
  • Here teacher controls the material to be learned as well as pace of learning.
  • Only purpose of this method is to acquire and memorize new knowledge or learn new skills.
  • Learner/student is dependent upon the instructor for all learning.
  • Learning within the four walls of the classrooms.
  • Teacher evaluates the learning processes of the students at the end of class.
  • This method of teaching is not accepted by modern educators.

(2) Andragogical Model

  • This model is also known as learner-centred teaching or Modern Teaching.
  • It is a modern method of teaching.
  • Learner centred and flexible process of teaching.
  • Learner is mostly self-directed.
  • Learning through discovery.
  • Learning in the wider social context.
  • Teacher offering opportunities to learner to learn themselves and acquire new knowledge and develop new skills.
  • Self-evaluation.

(1. c.) Aims & Objectives of teaching:

A good objective should be specific, outcome based and measurable. The objectives of teachings are:

  • To bring the desire changes in the attitude of students.
  • To shape behavior and conduct.
  • To impart the knowledge.
  • To motivate the students.
  • To improve the learning skills.
  • Formation of belief.
  • To improve the ability.
  • To make them social & efficient members of the society.

(1. d.) Different levels of teaching:

Teaching takes place at three levels, such as memory level of teaching, understanding level of teaching and reflective level of teaching.


(1) Memory level of teaching (MLT):

  • This level is given by Herbart.
  • It is the initial stage of teaching.
  • It includes the habit of rote memorization of facts and bites of information.
  • It enables the learner to retain and also to reproduce the learnt material whenever required.
  • The evaluation system mainly includes oral, written and essay-type examination.
  • Good memory includes rapidity in learning and stability of retention.

(2)  Understanding level of teaching (ULT):

  • This level is given by Morrison.
  • It is ‘memory plus insight’ as it goes beyond just memorizing of facts.
  • It focuses on mastery of the subject.
  • It makes pupil understand the generalizations, principles and facts.
  • It provides more and more opportunities for the students to develop ‘intellectual behaviour’.
  • The evaluation system mainly includes both essay and objective-type questions.

(3) Reflective level of teaching (RLT):

  • This level is given by Hunt.
  • It is the highest level of teaching and it includes both MLT and ULT.
  • It is a problem-centric approach of teaching.
  • The students adopt research approach to solve the problem.
  • Classroom environment is to be sufficiently ‘open and independent’.
  • The learners are motivated and active.
  • The aim is to develop the reflective power of learners so that they can solve problems by reasoning, logic and lead successful and happy life.
  • Essay-type test is used for evaluation. Attitude, belief and involvement are also evaluated.


(1. e.) Nature of Teaching:

Teaching has been viewed differently in different eras by different philosophers/educationists in different regions of the world.  The basic nature of teaching is discussed below.

(1) Teaching is a tripolar process:

Teaching is tripolar process. The three interconnected poles are teacher, pupil and subject matter.

(2) Teaching is an interactive process:

Teaching is an interactive process. Interaction means participation of the teacher and student for mutual benefit to achieve objectives.

(3) Teaching takes place at multiple levels:

There are multiple levels of teaching such as memory level, understanding level and reflective level.

(4) Teaching must be planned: Teaching is a planned activity. It is a systematic and organized process.

(5) Teaching needs effective reciprocal communication:

Teaching can be made effective through the process of communication. Various communication skills dominate the process of teaching as it is between two or more persons influencing each other by their ideas.

(6) Teaching is the motivation to learn:

Burton considers teaching as the stimulation, guidance, direction and encouragement for learning.

(7) Teaching is guidance:

Students are guided to learn the right things in the right manner and at the right time through teaching.

(8) Teaching is a professional activity: Teaching is a professional activity involving the teacher and the student resulting in student development.

(9) Teaching is an art as well as science:

Teaching is a science as well as an art. The teacher has to adapt to various situations by using different techniques. Children are the raw materials the teacher has to deal with. A teacher’s work is nothing less than that of an artist. Teaching has architectural functions to perform. It also involves art in the selection of proper techniques. The art of teaching is the ability to choose correct techniques at the right time.

(10) Teaching helps attain information, knowledge and skills:

Teaching helps the learner attain information, knowledge of facts and skills for future use.

(1. f.) Characteristics of Good Teaching:

Teaching has the following main characteristics

(1) Planned and systematic:

Good teaching is always planned and systematic. Planning involves careful selection, division and systematic revision of the subject matter.

(2) Professional activity:

Teaching is a professional activity involving the teacher and students and results in student development’.

(3) Preparation for life activities:

Good teaching helps the child develop physically, emotionally and spiritually to enable him to participate in life activities. According to Ryburn, ‘teaching is a means of preparation and helping the pupil to live his life fully at a particular stage, it is also helping him to prepare for the future.

(4) Training the emotions:

According to Ryburn, teaching should include training the child’s emotions. Good teaching helps the students channelize and sublimate their emotions through activities like drama, singing, painting and games.

(5) Matter of drawing out: Good teaching is matter of drawing out rather than putting in anything. It provides suitable environment and activities for the development of a child’s natural capacities.

(6) Liberates the learner:

Successful teaching liberates and widens the intellectual horizon of the students. The ideal of good teaching is to liberate the student’s mind from any fear he may identically feel and develop independence in thought and method of procedure so that he may able to solve his problems independently and work out solutions.

(7) An active process:

Good teaching emphasizes the importance of active participation in learning.

(8) Stimulating and progressive: Good teaching inspires and stimulates students for independent study, self-development and self-advancement.

(9) Giving guidance: Guidance is the core of teaching. The teacher guides the students to the right path. As Burton rightly remarked, ‘teaching is the stimulation, guidance, direction and encouragement of learning.

(10) Establishing relationship:

Teaching is a tripolar process comprising the teacher, students and the subject. Hence the teacher has to know:

The nature of students, their individual differences in terms of abilities, aptitudes, interests, achievements and emotional development.

Himself through his feelings for students, knowledge and method of the teaching-learning process.

The subject and its orderly presentation to enable the students quickly grasp it.

(11) Means of adjustment:

Good teaching helps students adjust themselves to their environment in an effective manner. The teacher helps the students adjust to the environment where they live in.

(12) Democratic:

Good teaching is democratic. A good teacher creates a democratic environment in the class and provides opportunities for democratic training of the students.

(13) Kind and sympathetic:

Good teaching is sympathetic and kind. It is the duty of a good teacher to provide situations where every student is treated sympathetically and kindly without room for scolding. Every student should get an opportunity to develop to his capacity.

(14) Diagnostic and remedial:

Good teaching is both diagnostic and remedial. The teacher knows the difficulties and problems of the students with a view to remove them.

(15) Creative and recreational: Good teaching proves to be a source of creativeness and recreation. It awakens a desire in the learners to be creative and engages them in activities that are a source of pleasure to them. According to Silverman, ‘a good teacher like a doctor is one who adds creativity and inspiration to basic activity.


(1. g.) Basic Requirements of Teaching:

(1) Teacher

(2) Learner (Students)

(3) Subject

(4) Environment


(1) Teacher:

  • The teacher is an innovator of information and knowledge.
  • He is the creator and transmitter of knowledge, values and ethos to our youngsters for latter’s physical, mental, emotional and social development.
  • In the process of teaching-learning, the teacher is the main vehicle, and he knows what is right and what is wrong in the society.
  • This teacher masters over his subject and uses and effective language for the communication in order to bring positive change in the behavior of the learner.
  • Since, it is the age of science and technology, the teacher ought to have a sound knowledge of science and technology, the teacher ought to have a sound knowledge of science and technology.
  • He should therefore use the latest means of media communication in the process of teaching,
  • Teachers always look to make things better and improve things in and outside of the classroom.

(2) Learner (Students):

  • The learner is a dependent one and immature.
  • He has to cooperate in the teaching-learning process with the teacher and try to get as much information and knowledge as possible from him.
  • He must follow the teacher for understanding and getting knowledge.
  • The leaners may be categorized as the students of primary schools, elementary schools. Secondary schools. Senior secondary schools, colleges or universities.

(3) The Subject:

  • The subject is the main concern in the whole endeavor of teaching and learning process.
  • The topic is generally decided by the teacher but the learner can also contribute in deciding a topic, so that, a balanced and harmonious development takes place.
  • It is for the teacher to prepare necessary charts, maps, tables and models that pertain to the decided topic.
  • Media based technological and scientific aids may also be made available by the teacher to make the teaching more interesting and understandable.

(4) The Environment:

  • The learner’s growth and all round development are the main objectives of teaching.
  • This is possible only when there is a suitable environment for the teaching-learning process.
  • The teacher as such creates such environment and nurtures the learner in that environment.

(1. h.) Essential Maxims of Teaching

Following are some of the essential maxims of teaching:

(1) From simple to complex or easy to difficult:

The nature of this maxim is more psychological that a child learns easy things and then proceeds towards complex things.

(2) From known to unknown:

This maxim is based on the appreciative mass theory of learning. It assumes that student-acquired knowledge is given by linking with actuarial knowledge so the student can learn better and retain for a longer time. Students have some knowledge and teachers should enlarge this knowledge. If we link new knowledge with the old knowledge we can make teaching clearer and effective. This maxim makes a link between the old and the new. If the teacher does not follow this maxim, then it is possible that students may be confused and may be interested in learning.

(3) From part to whole:

B.F. Skinner gives emphasis on the part to whole maxim of teaching. He assumes that a student learns well if content is presented in small parts.

(4) From whole to part:

According to the Gestalt school of psychology, whole is more important than parts. The whole is more motivating, understandable and effective than the study of various parts. A teacher should organize his activities in such a way that students can perceive the whole and then its parts because the whole attracts first. For example, while teaching chambers of heart, the teacher should show the entire heart first and then proceed with teaching the structure and functions of each part of the heart.

(5) Proceed from concrete to abstract:

This is also a psychological rule of learning. Herbert said ‘our lessons should start from the concrete and end in abstract’. A child’s imagination is greatly aided by concrete material. ‘Things first and words after’ is a common saying. Rousseau said, ‘things, things and things”. Children cannot think in abstractions in the beginning. Young children learn first from the things they can see and handle. Students learn from perception and experience about objects. After perception, concepts which are partially concrete and partially abstract in nature are formed.

(6) From particular to general: Particular facts are easy to understand as compared to general facts. Particular facts and examples should be presented to the children before giving them general rules and principles. Particular is an inductive method and general is a deductive method. The process of induction is easier to comprehend than the so-called deductive one.

(7) From analysis to synthesis:

Analysis and synthesis both are intellectual processes. This maxim is most-frequently used in creative teaching. Analysis is an intellectual process. When a student comes to school, his knowledge is incomplete, indefinite and imperfect. Analysis makes the student’s incomplete, indefinite and incoherent knowledge complete, definite and coherent. A teacher should begin teaching with analysis, so that complex problems are divided into systematic and comprehensible-units. Synthesis must be performed in the end to make the knowledge definite and fixed. Analysis is useful for understanding and synthesis is useful for fixing this knowledge in students’ minds.

(8) From empirical to rational:

Empirical knowledge is based on the observations of students and has a significant role in a student’s learning process. A student acquires most of his learning through observations. Learning by imitation is also based on observation. The activities of the teacher should be so organized that they can provide new experiences through observation and the teacher should then proceed with the logical aspect.

(9) From psychological to logical:

The psychological approach takes into consideration student interests, abilities, aptitude, developmental level, needs and reactions. Logical approach considers the subject matter and its arrangement into logical steps and orders. An eminent writer remarked, ‘logical procedure has its place in the middle of a lesson but the approach must be determined psychologically. First, the teachers should keep in mind the selection of the subject matter to be presented. After this, the teachers should have a logical approach to arrange the matter into logical orders and steps.

(10) From actual to representative:

The child learns more easily and quickly from actual, natural and real objects rather than from representative objects like models, charts and other aids. For example, while learning about a milk plant, an actual visit to the milk plant will make the learning more vivid and rapid rather than from a picture or model.

(11) From induction to deduction:

Induction means drawing a conclusion from a set of examples. The process of induction calls for perception, reasoning, judgment and generalization. The teacher should proceed from induction to deduction, i.e. first present the principle or generalization before students and then verify the truth of this principle by applying it to particular instances. Induction discovers knowledge and deduction is the consequence of such discoveries.

(12)  From general to specific:

Explain general rules first and then specific ones.

* For example, while teaching paediatric nursing, the teacher explains the principles of paediatric nursing and then teaches about various disease conditions and the procedures related to child health.

(13)  From specific to general:

In certain situations, it is imperative to proceed from specific to general.

* For example, the role of iron in the body has to be specified before generalizing the consequences of anaemia on the body.

(14) From indefinite to definite:

The ideas of students in initial stages are vague. These ideas should be made definite, clear, precise and systematic by adopting effective teaching methods. To make these ideas definite, the teacher can use audiovisual aids and other strategies as needed.

(15) From observation to reasoning:

The teacher has to provide an opportunity for the students to see and notice the factors involved in a particular topic or context before explaining the reasons associated with it or eliciting reasons from the students.


(16) To follow nature: This maxim of teaching is based on the philosophy of naturalism. Rousseau has given the concept to follow nature. The child is the centre of educational processes. A child should be given full freedom to learn according to his own ways. The teacher’s role is to observe his behaviour and learning activities. There should be one teacher and one student in an ideal situation.

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