As both a trainer and student, I’ve learned a lot about giving clear instructions in a classroom. After explaining an activity in one of my sessions, more than once I’ve observed quizzical looks on participant faces and heard hushed whispers: Do you know what we do next? or Are we supposed to work together on this? As a student I’ve felt the same type of confusion.
In my recent video blog post I share some tips for giving instructions in a classroom training session so that people know what they’re supposed to do and why.
There are basically four things that people want to know when being asked to participate in a classroom activity:
1. Why are we doing this activity?
2. Who will I be working with?
3. What are we supposed to do?
4. How much time do we have?
Instructions need to be given slowly and clearly. Be sure to post instructions on a flip chart, slide or in the materials so that participants can refer back to them as they get working on their exercise or activity.
It’s best if you can break instructions down into bite-sized pieces.Whenever possible, have participants complete one instruction before moving to the next. For example, if participants are to work in pairs, give them that instruction and then wait while they pair up. If you immediately move to the next instruction in the activity, you’ll find that no one is listening as they survey the table and think, Who do I want to work with?, or I have to avoid working with that guy. You’ll only get their attention again once the pairs are set.
There are more tips in my video blog post on Giving Clear Classroom Instructions. I hope you find them helpful!