Incorporate Features of Effective Instruction Into Daily Lessons
Model new instructional tasks and provide explicit instruction.
Explicit instruction sets the goals for learning and teaches material through modeling and systematic approaches. New material is presented in small steps and is always connected explicitly to previously presented material. Clear, consistent language is used during initial teaching, along with highly specific examples and non-examples, in order to limit and extend the range of interpretations students might reach. The teacher always provides scaffolded support through guided practice until students are able to use the strategies independently. For example, activities such as think-alouds can be used to explain specific learning tasks and processes.
Engage students during teacher-led instruction and encourage effort.
Student engagement begins with teachers gaining students’ attention prior to instruction and then pacing lessons quickly, with a high degree of interaction, to maintain a sharp focus. Effective pacing during instruction -- both within tasks and during transitions, increases student responding and decreases off-task behavior. Providing positive feedback for correct responses will increase the likelihood of future correct responses. The majority of feedback from teachers should be positive, emphasizing accuracy, effort and student success.
Provide multiple opportunities for students to respond and practice new skills.
Whenever feasible, teachers should use signals to elicit group unison responses to ensure that all students have multiple opportunities to practice skills. Group responses should be used during instruction whenever there is only one acceptable response. More complex tasks should be broken down into smaller parts, and practice should be provided after each step in the instructional sequence. Distributing practice over a period of time and in a variety of ways will increase fluency and maintenance of new skills.
Provide immediate error correction during instruction and independent work.
Teachers should provide specific affirmations for correct group and individual responses. When incorrect responses occur, they should be corrected immediately by providing the correct model, repeating the task with the whole group and going back to the beginning of the exercise. Additional practice may be warranted as indicated by the accuracy of student responses. This will ensure mastery of the skill before moving on to different or more complex skills, and will decrease the likelihood that errors will be repeated.
Engage students during independent work.
Specific routines and procedures should be taught and practiced prior to initiating independent work. Independent work should always be aligned with teacher-led instruction. Teachers should model the task and check for understanding before students begin the assignment. Effective teaching requires monitoring student behavior, checking work accuracy and providing additional practice on skills as needed.
Professional Development Presentation
- Part 1 (24:52)
When used in conjunction with high quality curriculum materials, employing these effective strategies will enhance and strengthen your instruction. All children will benefit from these teaching techniques that increase student engagement in the lesson, provide clear instruction with opportunities for all to respond, allow for sufficient practice and encourage their effort. This presentation will provide an overview of the essential features of effective instruction to increase student achievement and offer resources available to gain further knowledge on the topic.
Apply the Concepts
1. Five-Minute Observation Form
At the conclusion of the presentation, choose one of the three video clips to view again. Using the "Five-Minute Observation Form" as a guide, carefully observe the teaching for the features of effective instruction that were addressed in the four parts of this presentation. Not all features, or the same features, will be present in every lesson, especially in short segments such as these. Come back together in your group and share your observations. You are encouraged to practice this instruction-focused observation with other teaching videos and/or live lessons. One of the links (Links Section) will take you to other videos of Dr. Archer teaching kindergarten vocabulary, and structuring active participation with 7th graders. Share with your group which features are new ideas that you will incorporate into your teaching, or which methods of delivery you are already using, but may be able to strengthen. This tool is designed to be used schoolwide, to focus observations on improving instructional delivery and thereby improving student learning.
2. Phonemic Awareness Lesson Demonstration
After viewing slides 1-4, viewers should stop the presentation and form groups of 2 or 3. Each person in the group should first practice reading the script to become familiar with it, then take turns presenting to the others in their group. Participants will want to keep with the script, maintaining consistent language as they model the segmenting sounds task, lead the students through the task, then provide independent practice. Try to incorporate the “pause and punch” to make the focus word evident, present the instruction in a natural tone, and make eye contact with your “students."
3. Structuring Active Participation - Dr. Anita Archer
Connect to the Anita Archer Video Series.
Download or simply have ready to view the iTunes podcast entitled Structuring Active Participation – 2nd grade (6:29) from Dr. Anita Archer’s Strategic Literacy Instruction Video Series. After studying slide #12, viewers should stop the presentation and observe Dr. Anita Archer working with a group of 2nd graders using active participation techniques. You will also need the attached the “Practice Activity #3 Observation Notes” that accompanies this activity. In this lesson, students are learning routines and procedures that elicit active engagement and increase their participation during instruction. How does Dr. Archer structure this lesson? How does she gain students’ attention and maintain it while teaching the routines? Are students given only verbal explanations or does she show them what her expectations actually look like? How do students know if they are meeting expectations? Use the “Practice Activity #3 Observation Notes” as a guide, and then share your observations with the group. You may find it beneficial to watch the video first, then view it again to take your notes.
4. Sounds and Words Instruction, William Walker Coaching Series
After viewing slide #19, viewers should stop the presentation and observe a reading coach modeling explicit instruction. The coach is providing additional instruction in decoding skills to strengthen and enhance the 2nd grade core reading program. During this short (1 min. 34 sec.) video clip, observe the instructional sequence that is once again presented – setting the purpose for instruction and the explicit modeling of the new task. Pay particular attention to the signals that are used, the quick pacing of the lesson and how errors are corrected. Why do you think the teacher chose to have students respond together, rather than individually? Keeping in mind that you are not observing the entire lesson, do you see any teaching techniques that could be strengthened, based on the essential features discussed in this presentation?
5. Verbal Retell Strategy - Dr. Anita Archer
Connect to the Anita Archer Video Series at the following link.
Download or simply view the iTunes podcast entitled Modeling Verbal Retell – 1st Grade (8:26) from Dr. Anita Archer’s Strategic Literacy Instruction Video Series. Using the attached handout of slide 5 as a guide, observe Dr. Anita Archer modeling explicit instruction, as she teaches 1st graders how to verbally retell a previously read factual passage. Although this new instruction is not precisely scripted, how does she maintain consistent language? Does Dr. Archer model the skill, explaining the steps for students? How is guided practice provided? How many students have opportunities to practice the skill? When are students given independent practice? Make notes of these first features of effective instruction and then share your observations with the group.
Nine General Features of Effective Instruction
This is a much more comprehensive presentation on nine general features of effective instruction as outlined in the Oregon Literacy Framework. The presentation would best be used by groups of teachers looking to improve general instructional techniques within their classrooms. Due to the length of the presentation, it is recommended the presentation be viewed in parts rather than in its entirety.
Nine General Features of Effective Instruction – Observation Tool
This is an outline of the "Nine General Features of Effective Instruction". This tool can be used to help support teacher implementation of the features either through self-assessment or by observations from peers or leadership personnel. It would be best to focus on individual elements rather than all features when using the form for observations.
Specific Positive Praise Cards
"Specific Positive Praise Cards" are designed to assist teachers with changing non-specific praise to specific praise comments for students. It is reproducible for teacher use.
Active Engagement Techniques; Jill Jackson/Jackson Consulting
This resource is a two-page handout, describing nine different partner and group techniques that can be used within whole or small group instruction in order to increase student engagement.