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Teaching: Concept, Objectives, Levels of teaching (Memory, Understanding and Reflective), Characteristics and basic requirements. UGC net paper 1

 Teaching Concept : Teaching is a complex process that brings a socially desirable behavioural change in a person. In traditional concept, teaching is the act of imparting instructions to the learners in the classroom situation.

But in modern concept, teaching is to cause the pupil to learn and acquire the desired knowledge, skills and also desirable ways of living in society.

It is a process in which learner, teacher, curriculum and other variables are organised in a systematic and psychological way to attain some pre-determined goals.

Teaching Concept

Teaching is a part of the teaching-learning process. It is required to bring specific changes in a person according to the need of his society and environment in which he is living. ‘Teaching is not an act as it is dynamic in nature, so it is termed as a process.” It is also not a fundamental concept as it is greatly influenced by social and human factors.

Some Expert Views about Teaching Concept:

  • Ryburn’s view: “Teaching is a relationship which keeps the child to develop all his powers.”
  • Burton’s view: “Teaching is the stimulation guidance, direction, and encouragement of learning.”
  • Smith’s view: In words of B.O. Smith, “Teaching is a system of actions intended to produce learning.”

Objectives of Teaching Concept

Major objectives of teaching concept are as follows:

  • To bring desired changes in pupils.
  • To shape behaviour and conduct.
  • Acquisition of knowledge
  • To improve the learning skills of students.
  • Formation of belief.
  • To provide a social and efficient member of society.

Nature and Characteristics of Teaching

Nature of Teaching:
  • Dynamic, Social, and Humane: Teaching is not a fundamental concept because it is greatly influenced by social and human factors that are dynamic in themselves.
  • Both Art and Science: Teaching is both art and science. It calls for the exercise of talent and creativity making it an art and involving repertoire of techniques, procedures, and skills that can be studied systematically, described and improved making it science.
  • Diverse in Application: In application, teaching is of diverse nature. It may have various forms as formal, informal, directional, instructional, formational, training, conditioning, in­doctrination, talking, showing, doing, remedial, etc.
Characteristics of Teaching
  • System of actions: Teaching is a system of actions varied in form and related to content and pupil behaviour under the prevailing physical and social conditions.
  • Professional activity: It is a professional activity involving a teacher and student with a view to the development of students’ personality. Professionalism helps students in being regular and making harmony with their objects towards those they are concentrated.
  • Subjected to analysis and assessment: Teaching can be analysed and assessed and analysis and assessment provide feedback for further improvement.
  • Interactive process: Teaching is highly dominated by communication skills. Teaching is an interactive process carried with purpose and objectives.
  • Specialized Task: It is a specialized task and may be taken as a set of skills for the realization of certain objectives.
  • Collection of various modes: Teaching is a collection of various modes of itself. It is a broader term. Terms like conditioning, training, instruction, indoctrination denote a kind of teaching. They are a part of teaching but not a synonym with teaching. These are various modes of teaching contributing to teaching.
Goals of Teaching

The aims of teaching concept with respect to its various modes are as follows-

  • Teaching – To bring changes in the behaviour of students.
  • Conditioning – To improve the learning skills of students.
  • Training – Shaping behaviour and conduct.
  • Instruction – Acquisition of knowledge.
  • Indoctrination – Formation of belief.

Levels of Teaching

We all know that teaching is a purposeful activity. Through teaching, a teacher brings a desirable change in the learners. Both the concepts of teaching and learning are interrelated to each other. The development of the all-round personality of the learner is the final goal of teaching and learning. During teaching, an interaction takes place between an experienced person (teacher) and an inexperienced one (student). Here the main aim is to bring change in the behaviour of the student.

Teachers teach students at three levels. They have to keep in mind about the developmental stage of the learners so that desired educational objectives can be achieved. These three levels are

  1. Memory level: Thoughtless teaching
  2. Understanding level: Thoughtful teaching
  3. Reflective level: Upper thoughtful level

Hierarchy of Levels of Teaching

Memory Level of Teaching (MLT)

The objective of the Memory Level of teaching is just to impart information or knowledge to the learner. This knowledge or information is factual in nature, which is acquired through a mechanical process (i.e. memorization or rote learning).


Memory Level of teaching covers only the knowledge-based objective of Bloom’s taxonomy where the students learn to identify, recall, or remember the objects, events, ideas, and concepts and retain them in memory.

Memory level teaching lacks insight. Psychologically, it is cognitive level teaching.

Important Points of Memory Level of Teaching (MLT):

  • It is supported by Herbart Theory of Appreciation, which states that this level of teaching seeks the learner to acquaint himself with the relationship between the facts and principles.
  • It is the first stage of teaching to get factual information.
  • Useful for children in the lower classes because of their intellect is under development, and they have a rote memory.
  • MLT aims to get factual information, to train memory, to retrain the learning material in-memory storage, to reproduce and recognize the learned information when required
  • Teacher dominated methods are used- like drill, review, and revision and asking questions.
  • The evaluation system mainly includes oral, written, and essay-type examinations.
  • Good memory includes rapidity in learning, stability of retention, rapidity in recalling, and ability to bring only desirable contents to the conscious level.
  • Memory level teaching acts as the first step for understanding and reflective levels of teaching. It is a pre-requisite for understanding level teaching.

Merits/ Advantages Memory Level of Teaching:

  • Useful for young children
  • Useful for the acquisition of facts, information of models and structure
  • Help children learn a new concept
  • Useful for slow learners
  • The basis for understanding and reflective level of teaching.

Demerits / Disadvantages of Memory Level of Teaching:

  • Not suitable for higher classes
  • Use of rote memory
  • Dominance of teacher
  • Little interaction in the classroom
  • No room for initiation and self-learning for the students
  • Not intrinsic motivation
  • Problem of classroom management
  • Loss of retention and recall

Understanding Level of Teaching (ULT)

It comes in between the memory level and reflective level. This stage of teaching involves a moderate level of thoughtful behaviour. It is a pre-requisite for the reflective level teaching-learning, which requires the use of higher mental processes. The term “understanding” literally means to comprehend, to grasp, and to have knowledge of, to learn, to interpret and to infer, etc.

Morris, L.Bigge, in his book, ‘Learning theory for Teachers’, defines that understanding level teaching, “seeks to acquaint students with the relationships between generalizations and particulars, between principles and solitary facts, and which show- the use to which the principles may be applied.”

Herbart mentions three forms of mental reality which play an important role in teaching-learning at the understanding level. They are sense impressionsimages, and elective elements of pleasure and pain. In Herbart’s arrangements, the teacher is conceived as an architect as well as the builder of the minds of the students by manipulating ideas to construct a student’s circle of thought.

He advocated six steps of teaching:

  • preparation,
  • presentation,
  • comparison,
  • generalization,
  • application, and
  • evaluation

Morrison very clearly stated that understanding is not merely being able to recall something; it is not mere generalization deduced from specific facts; it is an insight into how it may be used in future situations. Morrison asserted that the outcome of all teaching is ‘ Mastery’ and not memorization of facts. He proposed a unit plan, each unit representing an insight which is relatively complete in itself.


Important points:

  • Morrison is the main proponent of understanding level of teaching.
  • It is ‘memory plus insight’ as it goes beyond just memorizing facts. It focuses on the mastery of the subject.
  • It makes pupils understand generalizations, principles, and facts.
  • It provides more and more opportunities for the students to develop ‘intellectual behaviour’.
  • It provides an active role for both the pupil and the teacher for the assimilation of facts. 
  • The evaluation system mainly includes both essay and objective-type questions.

Merits/ advantages of Understating level of Teaching (ULT):

  • Effective learning
  • Development of different cognition abilities
  • Sets stages for entering into the Reflective Level of Teaching
  • Effective classroom interaction

Demerits or disadvantages of Understanding Level of Teaching (ULT):

  • Ignores higher cognitive abilities
  • Less emphasis on intrinsic motivation
  • No individualized learning
  • Teacher centred

Reflective Level of Teaching (RLT)

This Level of teaching is the highest level of teaching-learning activity. It is the stage of learning when students do not merely repeat and revise or answer the questions as asked for; nor do they only understand, learn, interrelate or interpret the concepts but also they ponder upon, contemplate and pay serious thoughtful consideration to the presented contents.

The main objectives of Reflective Level of Teaching are:

  • To develop insight into the learner to solve problems.
  • To develop rational and critical thinking in the students.
  • To develop the ability of independent thinking and decision making in the students.

Important Points:

  • Hunt is the main proponent of reflective level of teaching.
  • It is the highest level of teaching and includes both ULT and MLT.
  • It is problem-centric approach of teaching.
  • The students are assumed to adopt some sort of research approach to solve the problem.
  • Classroom environment is to be sufficiently ‘open and independent’. The learners are self-motivated (intrinsic) and active.
  • The aim is to develop the reflective power of learners so that they can solve problems of their lives by reasoning, logic, and imagination, and lead successful and happy lives.
  • The pupil occupies the primary place and teacher assumes the secondary place.
  • Essay-type test is used for evaluation. Attitude, belief, and involvement are also evaluated.

Merits or Advantages of Reflective Level of Teaching (RLT):

  • It is the most thoughtful mode of operation.
  • Learner-centred approach
  • Development of problem-solving ability
  • Useful for gifted children.
  • Provides maximum flexibility
  • Self-motivation
  • Development of creativity

Demerits of Reflective Level of Teaching:

  • It is not suitable for lower classes
  • It is a time-consuming process.
  • It is not applicable for dull students.
  • There is an excess burden to the teacher.

Requirements of Teaching

The teaching process involves the following variables:


1. Dependent Variable:

The student is a dependent variable. He is subjected to changes and developments through the efforts of the teacher and teaching process. In the process of teaching, the dependent variable plays the functional or active part.

2. Independent Variable:

The teacher is an independent variable. He is responsible for the functioning of students, the dependent variables. He is free to act in the process while students are quite dependent on him. The teacher does plans, organizes, leads and controls the process of teaching. Like dependent variables, independent variables also play the functional or active part.

3. Intervening Variables

There is a need for desirable interaction between the dependent and the independent variable to achieve the goals of teaching. This role is played by the intervening variables. The content of teaching, methods and techniques, tactics and strategies management of instructional material and teaching environments, etc., are the Intervening Variables.

Basic requirements of teaching are:

  • All three variables of teaching
  • Professionalism
  • Suitable environment
  • Teacher-student relationship
  • Student’s discipline
  • Teacher’s devotion to teaching, and also, on the other hand, student’s devotion to learning.

Related Words:

  • characteristics and basic requirements of teaching
  • levels of teaching wikipedia
  • learners characteristics
  • who propounded memory level teaching
  • concept of teaching
  • proponents of reflective level of teaching
  • memory level of teaching herbart
  • limitations of teaching at understanding level

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