Educational research summarised: American Educator – Principles of instruction; strategies that all teachers should know

This article by Barak Rosenshine is from a US periodical; the American Educator, but has a list of 10 instructional strategies that can impact pedagogy in any classroom. Most if not all of these you may be implementing already, but I thought it was a useful document to have ten effective strategies that have come from a triangulation of research. Also, to look at this good practice altogether. Teaching is always a case of juggling balls, but it’s often helpful to have reminders of effective pedagogy.

The research that validates them comes from three sources:

  1. Cognitive science – ‘how our brains acquire and use information’
  2. Master teachers
  3. Cognitive supports – ‘effective instructional procedures – such as thinking aloud, providing students with scaffolds, and providing students with models – come from this research’

Here’s my summary of the 10 strategies from the full article.

  1. Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning: Daily review can strengthen previous learning and can lead to fluent recall. NB Effective review seen was between five-eight minutes, it may be vocabulary, knowledge, concepts, skills or errors.
  2. Present new material in small steps with student practice after each step: Only present a small amount of new material at any time, and then assist students as they practice this material. NB This ties in to mastery.
  3. Ask a large number of questions and check the responses of all students: Questions help students practice new information and connect new materials to their prior learning. NB these can be done in different ways, and the article details 5 different ways of doing this and great prompts.
  4. Provide models: Providing students with models and worked examples can help them learn to solve problems faster.
  5. Guide student practice: Successful teachers spend more time guiding student’s practice of new material. NB this is an argument of the flipped classroom model – there is more opportunity for guiding.
  6. Check for student understanding: Checking for student understanding at each point can help students learn the material with fewer errors. NB Great examples include asking students to summarise, ask for opinions or agree/disagree, defend positions, think aloud, ask questions to elaborate on elements.
  7. Obtain a high success rate: It is important for students to achieve a high success rate during classroom instruction. NB This also ties in to the idea of mastery.
  8. Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks: The teacher provides students with temporary supports and scaffolds to assist them when they learn difficult tasks. NB This may be in the form of modelling, or additional materials or examples. Teaching students to ask questions themselves is useful.
  9. Require and monitor independent practice: Students need extensive, successful, independent practice in order for skills and knowledge to become automatic.
  10. Engage students in weekly and monthly review: Students need to be involved in extensive practice in order to develop well-connected and automatic knowledge.

As you will have seen, I have selected a key word to bold and review begins and ends the list, although in different forms.

Obviously the full article gives you much more, but I hope this summary has been interesting to look at. Please use the comment box below!

Article: Principles of instruction by Barak Rosenshine

Related resource: Teach thought (a great website) have published Marzano’s 9 effective instructional strategies in an infographic.

Please use the comments box below to record any thoughts; we’d love to hear from you!

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