Stimulus variation, in the Stanford sense, focuses mainly on the latter. Some of the things the student teacher is trained in are the use of movement in a systematic way and the avoidance of teaching from one spot, the use of gestures, and the development of verbal and non-verbal methods of focusing children’s attention, the development of teaching methods other than the teacher monologue by encouraging pupil participation, the systematic use of pauses, and the controlled use of different sensory channels by switching primary modes of communication,

Meaning and Nature. The skillful change in the stimuli is known as the skill of stimulus variation. ,Just  to avoid boredom, it is the teacher’s skills to stimulate the students, increase their active participation, enthusiasm and spirit of study

The chief aim of the teacher’s teaching in the class room is to make the lesson impressive and interesting. For this, use of various types of methods and techniques are an essentiality . In order to attract the students, teacher  may present various type of stimuli and can function as stimulus. He/she presents various stimuli, and herself/ himself can function as stimulus. He/she presents various stimuli such as movement of the body, gesture, changes in speech, focusing of the feeling, change in the interaction style in the students , pause and change in the order of audio visual aids. He/she can attract the learners by changing all these aspects which function as stimuli

Stimulus variation is a way of enhancing children learning by helping them remain attentive. It is a way of maintaining students ‘ attention. If the teacher talks too long students are bound to lose  interests or eye conduct to the teacher. The teacher should reduce talking such that pupils has interest in what they are doing through varying stimulus. A teacher who is able to vary stimulus his/her  lesson become effective as there is high participation with learners and great achievements of the lesson objectives.  Positive results of learners who given a task in a more interesting lesson can perform well resulting no disciplinary problems.

Student learning largely depends upon ‘attending’ to the relevant source of information. It is a fact that, the learner has to attend to information attentively. Attention is an essential condition for effective learning. What will  the teacher  do as a teacher in order to sustain students’ attention ? he /she should deliberately use  attention drawing behavior in the  class to draw and sustain students’  attention towards what he / she  want to convey.

The skill of stimulus variation involves deliberate change in attention drawing behavior of the teacher in order to secure and sustain students’ attention to what is being taught. The skill of  stimulus variation implies attracting and  focusing students’  attention by changing stimuli in the environment. The variation in the stimuli generates interest among students in their learning and hence helps in their academic achievement.

It is relatively unusual for students to attend to same thing continuously. It is very  difficult for one to attend to the same stimulus for more than a few minutes; in some cases a few seconds and even less. Therefore, for securing and sustaining the attention of the pupils to the lesson it is imperative to make variations in the stimulus. This is because attention is the necessary pre-requisite for learning.

A resourceful teacher, have to develop the skill in him /her to attract and hold the attention of his / her  students throughout the teaching. He/she should deliberately change his/ her  attention-drawing behavior in class.

Training in the skills of stimulus variation is aimed at helping student teachers to avoid teaching styles likely to induce boredom in their pupils. A stimulus situation that changes in different ways is one of the most powerful influences in maintaining orienting activity by the pupils. Carefully structured teaching material and approaches to the subject can have an important effect here, but so can the way a teacher conducts his lesson.

For the success of any lesson, it is essential to secure and sustain the attention of the pupils learning is optimum when the pupils are fully attentive to the teaching-learning process. How to secure and sustain the attention is main theme of this skill. It is known

that attention of the individual tends to shift from one stimulus toothier very quickly. It is very difficult for an individual to attend to the same stimulus for more than a few seconds

There are a number of  factors which influence what the students are likely to attend to.

Intensity : A louder sound, a brighter light can capture any one’s attention. However, continuity of loudness and brightness tend to have a quick decreasing effect in attracting attention,

Contrast : Anything which is bigger than other things in the surrounding environment attracts attention. One’s perceptual field makes a difference in attracting

Movement : A moving thing attracts our attention more in comparison to a h e d  thing. Self activity: Attention is sustained if the students are asked or motivated t o  engage themselves in instructional activities,

Audio-visual aids : It has been proved  that audio-visual aids have great potential to help students in their learning. For example, AV aids  are  a powerful medium to attract and hold students’ attention. You should use a variety of audio-visual media to make your teaching more effective and meaningful.

Teacher’s personal behavior: If the teacher is enthusiastic, stimulating, energetic, and expressive,  he/ she  gets more attention than when he/she  is dull and monotonous.

Component Skills of Stimulus variation

The behaviors associated with the skill of stimulus variation are;

Teacher movement :

Varying movements by continuously changing location within the classroom ,means making movements from one place to another with some purpose. As for writing on the black board, to conduct experiment, to explain the chart or model, to pay attention to the pupil who is responding to some question etc. This captures pupils’ attention and every position they are sitting they do not  feel the distance. Pupils feel that the teacher is with them .The movements are in a way of reducing the distance from students..

The physical movements of the teacher in the class carry much importance. While excess of physical activities is undesirable the teacher is like a stone idol without these activities.. It is observed that the teachers’ movement in the classroom draws the attention of the students. This behavior of  the teacher makes the student feel that  his participation in instructional activities is being supervised by  the teacher.

The movements in the  classroom  should always  be meaningful and related to the teaching that means the movements should have  a pedagogic perspective . There should not be any aimless wandering in the classroom.

The body movements perform numerous pedagogical functions :

Like emphasizing  the  importance  of  shape, size, and  movements  of  the  object  being taught.  explaining emotions and feelings.

Combining verbal exposition with gestures.  for example, if discussing the shape of an object, one  can use the hands to show the shape of the object.

Teacher Gestures

Gestures are the movements of the parts of the body the teacher’s body movements – which communicate certain meaningful ideas to the students, These include movements of head, hand and body parts to arrest attention, to express emotions or to indicate shapes, sizes and movements. All these acts are performed to become more expressive.

Gestures also prove helpful is making the lesson effective in the class room. These include facial gestures (laughing, raising eyebrows, emotions etc.), signals of eyes, nodding, hand signals (signal to stop, signal to continue the task and signal to keep quiet) etc. Gestures can be displayed by purposeful movements of the parts of the body. As a teacher

One should consciously attempt to extend the range and frequency of  your gestures, For it

1.            Move hands and fingers to describe things, measurements, etc;

2.            While talking with the students, show agreements by nodding heads so

as to encourage the students to go on explaining;

3.            Show adoration or wonder by raising eyebrows high so as to show

interest in what the students are talking about;

4.            Use mimics to show agreements, disagreements, wonder and disbelief,

anger, or incomprehension, etc;

5.            Clasp hands to attract the students’ attention or to show happiness,wonder etc.

Changes in Speech Pattern Silence / Pause.

The use of pitch in voice projection as a stimulus ,should indicate ,relative important of information. That’s it should indicate happiness or sorrow. In other words slowing speech pattern is a way of stimulating pupils’ interests. Variation can be in volume or accent of voice When the teacher wants to show emotions or to put emphasis on a particular point, sudden or radical changes in tone, volume or speed of the verbal presentation are brought out. The change in the speech pattern makes the pupils attentive and creates interest in the lesson.

The pupils feel boredom with the speech at the same pitch, and they get deviated from the lesson. The teacher should bring fluctuations in his voice. Change in tone, volume or speed of verbal communication is known  as  change in speech pattern. Take modulation of voice for example. Sudden variation in voice   will attract the attention of the students. It should be noted that while teaching one should not speak in a monotonous tone. One  should be able to change the  speech pattern at proper points and situations, according to the need  of. students to draw their attention and the subject to emphasize a point. Speak using different speech patterns to avoid boredom;

Do not be monotonous; Speak attractively and energetically; Speak loudly enough for the students at the back to hear what the teacher is saying, but not too loud so that the students at the front get shocked.


As and where the need arises the teacher should use pauses in his teaching process.Make use of short pauses properly to attract the students’ attention and to increase the students’ desire to listen further to what the teacher is talking about; do not talk in a hurry so as to lose breath;

Pausing means “stop talking” by the teacher for a moment. When the teacher becomes silent during teaching, it at once draws the attention of the students with curiosity towards the teacher. The message given at this point is easily received by the pupils.

Silence can indicate that what has just said is important or it can indicate that what happened is unacceptable. Silence can also indicate the opportunity allowance for pupils to think and respond to the asked question. Remain silent until pupils are also observe silence

Change in Audio-Visual Sequence

. A continuous change in the sequence of using audio visual aids concentrates the attention of the pupil upon the teacher. He should use sometime visual and sometimes audio-aids.

Vary Methodology :

For example use of demonstrations, ,group work ,songs .group work projects or individual projects ,like in Art and craft, music social studies etc. Introducing variation is because each and every pupil would have something which is interested in. Dramatization  ,story telling and jokes are part of stimulating learners at every angle. Give children current reading publications ,oral reports ,outdoor activities ,guest speakers ,tests in small groups and individual tests. Different pupils prefer to learn in different modes so a teacher has to vary methodology

Variation in Questioning :

Questions is also a stimulus as it provide pupils with the opportunity to express..Questions themselves should be varied,from low order and high order questions. .When asked, do not directly answer the question; let the student finish his question first so as to give time to you to prepare for a suitable and right answer; do not cut off the student’s question or explanation

Focusing :

It is used to concentrate the attentions of the pupils on some specific point or event. It includes verbal focusing, gesture focusing and verbal or oral gesture focusing        The teacher draws the attention of the pupils to the particular point in the lesson either by using verbal or gesture focusing. In verbal focusing the teacher makes statements like, “look here” listen to me” “note it carefully”. In gestural focusing pointing towards some object with fingers or underlining the important words on the black board.

Focusing can be used when the teacher want to direct the students’ attention to  a particular point which they are required to observe. Focussing can be obtained through verbal communication or gesture or both.

Varying of Non -verbal Gestures:

In the lesson delivery the teacher should be able to use hands ,eyes ,body or even clap ,stamp feet as a way of maintaining pupils interest in the lesson.

The teacher can even make strategic movements around the classroom or pointing to something written on the wall. These gestures should have a specific purpose ,so that pupils should be able to decode what those gestures mean . Over use of gestures might end up becoming a habit and then defeat the purpose of being a stimulus.

When the teacher  want to emphasize some particular aspect during the teaching and direct students’ attention to it, he/she should use statements like – ‘Listen carefully’, ‘Look  at  this  chart’,  Watch this  experiment’,  Now, ‘This  Is  really very important’. These statements help the teacher draw student’s attention to key learning point

Gestural focusing :

With the use of gestures only i.e. the movements of head and hand the teacher can attract the attention of the students to a particular point. Even if he/she underline the point  on  the  blackboard,  the  students  will  be  attracted  more towards  it  when appropriate gestures are used for this purpose.

Verbal and gestural focusing :

In the verbal focusing, the word are repeated again and again to concentrate the attention such as “Look here, attend to me, don’t see outside because I am going to announce something important.” In the gesture focusing, the attention of the pupils is concentrated with the help of gestures towards some desirable direction or an object When both verbal and gestures focusing devices are used to focus the attention of  students, it has more impact on them. For example, when the teacher ask the students: “Look at the diagram” and at the same time draw the diagram on the blackboard or  overhead projector transparency, he/she will be able to help your students properly  understand  the  concept.  Thus  a changes the  sensory channel-from listening (verbal speech) to looking (visual display), from speaking to doing, from writing to demonstrating, etc, will helps in  maintaining  the level of  attention and motivation of  the students. Such changes can be brought about through judicious combination of  various means  of  communication.

Oral  to  visual : Oral-Visual Switching

The teacher gives information to the class verbally about something. This is called oral medium. When the teacher is showing maps, charts and object without saying something, this is called visual medium. If the teacher is giving information to the pupils through any one medium (oral, visual, oral visual) for a long time, it is possible that the students may lose attention to what the teacher is conveying to them. Therefore it is essential for the teacher to change medium rapidly in order to secure and sustain pupils’ attention to what he says

To  make teaching effective and also to break monotony one can change the focus of attention from verbal (oral) stimulus to visual stimulus. While explaining a point if one show a chart or a model (switching from oral to visual) and after showing the chart the teacher again start speaking (switching from visual to oral mode) it is known as oral to visual sensory focusing.

Oral- oral  visual

When the teacher while speaking shows objects, charts and models and explains their various parts. It is switching from oral to oral-visual. The teacher can shift focus from the verbal (oral) stimulus to the audio -and  the visual stimulus and vice-versa. For example, if a teacher has just introduced the topic and is explaining the meaning of the concept and then shows a chart or  a model and using it explains the parts of the concept and asks the students to observe the chart/model (visual), he/she is using audio to audio-visual switching., This switching involves the use of more than one sense.

Visual oral – visual

When the teacher demonstrates the experiment silently and then explains the phenomenon with the help of charts, maps, diagram etc. This is visual-oral switching. This involves the  shifting of  focus from  visual stimulus to audio-visual stimulus and vice-versa. For example, the teacher can demonstrate experiments and then explains the phenomenon with the help of a diagram.

Oral visual

When the teacher while speaking, shows objects, maps, charts, globe etc. It is switching form oral to visual.

Student  movement

The teacher  can change the  focus of  attention  of  the  students by involving them in  physically  doing something. He/she  can involve them in experiments, handling apparatus, or dramatization. By  doing so, he/she  can sustain their interest in the teaching-learning process.

Variation in Interaction Style :

Interaction between the teacher and the pupils is very essential in the class room teaching otherwise it become monotonous. Therefore the style of interaction in the class room should go on changing.  Interaction style can be used as stimulus ,for example teacher/student or student/student or student /teacher .Variation in interaction so as to stimulate students inerests .Some variation interaction styles are used in group work or individual work

Sensory Change or Variation in Sensory Channels:

Varying the senses that students are using. Student might require to touch ,see ,smell or ,feel. If these senses are not varied it means those pupils who interested in hearing are going to benefit and those pupils who are interested in touching are not benefiting.The introduction of addition sensory modes in a lesson will make the lesson interesting..


Components of skill of stimulus                                         7 Point Scale

Min.   Normal   Max.

0      1 2 3      4 5 6

1.            Body movements were made.

2.            Teacher used gestures.

3.            Verbal focusing was made.

4.            Gesture focusing was made.

5.            Verbal gesture focusing was made.

6.            Fluctuations in the voice were made.

7.            Teacher and pupil interaction took place.

8.            Pupil-pupil interaction took place

9.            Teacher class interaction took place.

10.          Pause were used.

11.          changes in Audio visual sequence were made.

12.          Stimulus variation motivated the pupils.

Every lesson is a unique thing influenced by the emotions of the teacher and learners.The teacher can make lesson more interesting through the effective use of stimulus variations to make learners motivated on grasping concepts.


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