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Indicator 2 – Interrupts/Obscures Instruction

Managing the Classroom

Engaging Students in Learning

Indicator 2 - Interrupts/Obscures Instruction UETS 4a.

Effective teachers avoid any activity or speech pattern that interrupts instruction and disrupts the momentum of a class. They avoid indeterminate terms, choppy speech patterns and "uh." They do not switch back and forth excessively between activities, fragment lessons, or halt instruction to deal with management issues.


  1. Avoid interrupting or obscuring instruction by:
    • Referring to irrelevant stimuli
    • Using vague or indeterminate terms, e.g., pretty much, some, not many, not very, almost, could be, sometimes, somewhere
    • Using redundancies and false starts
    • Frequently starting and stopping
    • Correcting yourself excessively
    • Stringing questions together
    • Repeatedly using a distracting word or phrase, e.g., uh, ok, at this point in time
    • Hunting for materials or not having resources ready
    • Taking excessive time to set up or run needed technology
  1. Stay focused on the subject.
    • Have a clear goal or objective.
    • Guide students back to the task or topic if the discussion heads on a different tangent.
    • Avoid discussing irrelevant subject matter.
  1. As much as possible, deal with interruptions prior to or at the end of the lesson. Do not leave the class waiting; one minute should be the absolute limit.
    • Confer with tardy students at the end of an instructional activity, not in the middle of a lesson.
    • Engage the class in an activity before talking with an individual.
    • Have appropriate disciplinary procedures in place to avoid lengthy lesson interruptions.
  1. Know when it is time to move on to another part of the lesson; avoid "going on and on" unnecessarily.
    • Check for understanding frequently to determine appropriate pacing of the lesson.
  1. Make sure students know what they are supposed to be doing so you will not have to interrupt instruction to make clarifications.
    • Ask students to repeat key steps in the directions.
    • Write directions on the board for students to refer to.
  1. When student interest wanes or misbehavior begins, be ready to recapture student interest.
    • Change up the activity as needed to maintain student engagement.
    • Keep transitions to a minute or less to preserve the flow of the lesson.
    • Make your lessons creative, using a variety of teaching strategies.
  1. Pre-plan lessons.
    • Be prepared to present information in a logical order.
    • Anticipate questions that students may ask.
    • Have materials prepared and ready to use.
    • Check that needed technology is working before the lesson. Have a plan to fall back on if technology fails.



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