the verbal and visual method of teaching is deemed the most effective way of communication between the teacher and his students.
this method helps the teacher to have more control on the classroom and to deliver information to the students in an effective manner. we will explain hereinafter some rules for the verbal and visual communication to help teachers in performing their task efficiently and we will quote the prophetic examples in this regard.
first: the verbal communication
a) the manner of speaking (narration – explanation):
aisha, may allah be pleased with her, said: “the prophet, peace be upon him, does not speak (narrate) quickly like you; contrary, he speaks clearly and gives intervals. it was easy for people to understand and memorize what he says”.
explaining the academic subjects quickly causes confusion for the student and deprives him from benefiting from his study. similarly, speaking slowly causes boredom and drowsiness.
the best delivery method is to speak clearly, separate words from each other and avoid overlapping of words in a way that the narration/ explanation should not be very quick or very slow.
b) avoid ranting & rhyming:
ranting means high-sounding language, without importance or dignity of thought; and the ranting person is the one who uses artificial language and moves his lips and mouth in strange manner while speaking and exaggerate in pronouncing the letters.
1. jaber, may allah be pleased with him, narrated that the prophet, peace be upon him, said: “the best and closest of you to me at the day of judgment are those who have good manners and morals, and the most abhorred and farthest of you from me at the day of judgment are those who chatter, drawl and behave in haughty manner".
2. abdullah bin amr, may allah be pleased with him, narrated that the prophet, peace be upon him, said: "allah the almighty abhors the eloquent man who drawls/exaggerates moving his tongue (while pronouncing words) like a cow moves its tongue".
al-gazali said that the abhorred eloquence is that when the man exaggerates in using the artificial rhyming language, drawls, and exaggerates moving his mouth and tongue while pronouncing words. speech should be limited to the words which convey the message and demonstrate the meaning, without using artificial contexts.
c) raising voice (or changing the tone):
abdullah bin amr said: once we travelled with the prophet, peace be upon him, and he was a distance behind us. he reached us while we were making ablution (wodu’) to perform the prayer and “out of tiredness”, we wiped our feet instead of washing them. seeing that, the prophet said with high voice: ((woe to heels from hell-fire)) two or three times. from this hadith, the scholars concluded that there is no problem for raising the voice in teaching when necessary due to distance or large number of people. the high tone can be used also when delivering sermons. jaber, may allah be pleased with him, said: “when the prophet, peace be upon him, delivers a sermon and speaks about the day of judgment, he becomes angry and raises his voice …). narrated by muslim.
this shows that it is recommended sometimes to raise voice while teaching in order to illustrate important issues and attract the attention of the audience. sometimes, raising voice may serve as sign for simulating, reminding or warning any student if the teacher doesn’t want to stop delivering information.
d) continuous delivery of lesson:
some students may interrupt their teacher while explaining the lesson in order to inquire about certain point or to request repeating some ideas. the teacher may respond and may not, but if he responds, several negative effects will happen: first: by responding to such student, the teacher is giving the priority to one or two students on the account of the other students in the classroom. second: the context of speech will be affected and will not be spontaneous or continuous. third: the other students will be disturbed or confused due to such interruption. fourth; the teacher himself will be confused and will lose the sequence of his ideas.
1. abu huraira, may allah be pleased with him, said: while the prophet was saying something in a gathering, a bedouin came and asked him, "when would the hour (doomsday) take place?" the prophet continued his talk, so some people said that the prophet had heard the question, but did not like what that bedouin had asked. some of them said that the prophet had not heard it. when the prophet, peace be upon him, finished his speech, he said, "where is the questioner, who enquired about the hour (doomsday)?" the bedouin said, "i am here, o prophet of allah ." then the prophet said, "when honesty is lost, then wait for the hour (doomsday)." the bedouin said, "how will that be lost?" the prophet said, "when the power or authority comes in the hands of unfit persons, then wait for the hour (doomsday). narrated by al-bukhari. this hadith demonstrates that the prophet, peace be upon him, answered the question after he finished his speech.
e) keeping silence for a while
while delivering a lesson, it is recommended sometimes to keep silence for a short while in order to attract the attention of the students. when the teacher speaks about certain topic and stops talking suddenly, such thing will attract the attention of the students. such short period of time will help the student to get short rest and will give the teacher a chance to arrange his ideas within few moments.
1. abu bakra, may allah be pleased with him, narrated that the prophet, peace be upon him, asked, "which month is this?" we said, "allah and his prophet know better." he kept silent so long that we thought that he would call it by a name other than its real name. he said, "isn't it the month of dhul-hijja?" we said, "yes." he said, "which town is this?" we said, "allah and his prophet know better." he kept silent so long that we thought that he would call it by a name other than its real name. he said, "isn't it the town (of makkah)?" we replied, "yes." he said, "what day is today?" we replied, "allah and his prophet know better." he kept silent so long that we thought that he would call it by a name other than its real name. he said, "isn't it the day of nahr?" we replied, "yes." he then said, "your blood, properties and honor are as sacred to one another as this day of yours, in this town of yours, in this month of yours …”
you can notice here how the silence of the prophet, peace be upon him, attracted the attention of the companions and made them eager to know what will follow.
second: visual communication:
a) the continuous visual communication between the teacher and his students:
keeping visual communication with the students helps the teacher to keep control and follow up. the teacher can notice the students who don’t pay attention or the drowsy students and can urge them to pay attention. it is recommended that the teacher looks at all directions so that each student will think that the speech is directed to him. some teachers focus on one direction, but this will cause losing control and will make the other students not attentive. it is recommended also that the teacher stands on a higher place to see all students and to enable all students to see him. that is why the pulpit in the mosque is high. the pulpit of the prophet, peace be upon him, was three steps higher than the normal ground so that all congregations and the prophet, peace be upon him, can see each other easily.
jaber bin abdullah, may allah be pleased with him, narrated that a man entered the mosque and sat down directly while the prophet, peace be upon him, was delivering the friday sermon. seeing him, the prophet said: o man, have you prayed (before sitting down)? he said: no. the prophet said: “stand and pray ….”. this hadith demonstrates that the prophet, peace be upon him, was looking at the congregation from all directions of the mosque.
2. abu saeed al-khudri, may allah be pleased with him, said that “the prophet, peace be upon him, sat once on his pulpit and we sat down around him”. ibn hijr commented on this hadith saying: it is recommended that the imam sits in front of the congregation so that the congregation can hear his speech and see his manners. this will help them to understand his sermon in the best manner.
b) using facial expressions:
most of teachers don’t pay attention to using the facial expressions in the teaching process. the facial expressions help the teacher to avoid speaking in many cases. like using the facial expressions to express pleasure, comfort, denial, anger ...etc. for some students, giving them smiles is better than saying “excellent”. the prophet, peace be upon him, used this method.
1. aisha, may allah be pleased with her, said: “the prophet entered upon me while there was a curtain reflecting pictures (of animals) in the house. his face got red with anger, and then he got hold of the curtain and tore it into pieces. the prophet said, "the people who paint these pictures will receive the severest punishment on the day of resurrection ."
2. anas bin malik narrated that the prophet, peace be upon him, saw some sputum in the direction of the qibla (on the wall of the mosque) and he disliked that and the sign of disgust was apparent on his face. so he got up and scraped it off with his hand and said, "whenever anyone of you stands for the prayer, he is speaking in private to his lord or his lord is between him and his qibla. so, none of you should spit in the direction of the qibla but one can spit to the left or under his foot." the prophet then took the corner of his sheet and spat in it and folded it and said, "or you can do like this”. when the companions saw the sign of disgust on his face, they understood that the prophet, peace be upon him, was angry for such action. even if we supposed that the prophet, peace be upon him, did not demonstrate the reason of his anger, the companions would understand from such sign that he is angry for such action.
3. jarir bin abdullah al-bujali said: “the prophet, peace be upon him, did not screen himself from me since i embraced islam, and whenever he saw me he would receive me with a smile”. this demonstrates how such smile was having positive effect on jarir.
1) it is recommended to speak moderately, not too quick and not too slow, while giving a lesson.
2) speaking moderately will help the students to receive information and understand.
3) the religion and logic are against using artificial speech.
4) using artificial strange words causes disconnection between the teacher and his students.
5) raising voice is good mean to attract the attention of the students and to object against any action.
6) interrupting the delivery of a lesson confuses the students and confuses the teacher’s sequence of ideas.
7) the teacher should ask his students to delay the questions until finishing the explanation of the lesson.
8) keeping silence for a short while, during the lesson, attracts the attention of the students and helps in arranging the ideas.
9) exchanging visual communication helps the teacher to have more control and helps the student to have more understanding.
10) using facial expressions helps the teacher to achieve his objectives.
11) the individual differences should be taken into consideration while using the facial expressions, because it is feasible for some students and not so for others.