Tag Archives: Review

10 Research Based Principles of Instruction for Teachers

I recently read an American Educator article from 2012 by Barak Rosenshine that set out 10 principles of instruction informed by research, with subsequent suggestions for implementing them in the classroom. It was also one of the articles cited in the “What makes great teaching? Review of the underpinning research” by Rob Coe et al and provided further elaboration on one of their six components of great teaching thought to have strong evidence of impact on student outcomes, i.e. quality of instruction.

Here’s my summary of the key messages from each of the 10 principles.

1: Begin with a short review of prior learning

Time-for-Review

Students in experimental classes where daily review was used had higher achievement scores. A 5-8 minute review of prior learning was said to strengthen connections between material learned and improve recall so that it became effortless and automatic, thus freeing up working memory.

Daily review could include, for example:

  • Homework
  • Previous material
  • Key vocabulary
  • Problems where there were errors
  • Further practise of knowledge, concepts and skills

2: Present new material in small amounts or steps

problem-solving-steps

Working memory is small and can only cope with small chunks at a time. Too much information presented at once overloads it and can confuse students, who won’t be able to process it. Sufficient time needs to be allocated to processes that will allow students to work with confidence independently. More effective teachers in the study dealt with the limitation of working memory by presenting only small amounts of new material at a time.

3: Ask a large number of questions and check the responses of all students

lots-questions

Questions allow students to practise new material and connect new material to prior learning. They also help teachers to determine how well material has been learned and whether additional teaching is required. The most effective teachers asked students to explain the process they used and how they answered the question, as well as answering the question posed.

Strategies suggested for checking the responses of all students included asking students to:

  • Tell their answers to a partner
  • Write a short summary and share it with a partner
  • Write their answers on a mini-white board or similar, followed by “show me”
  • Raise their hands if they know the answer or agree with someone else

4: Provide models

chemical modelStudents require cognitive support to reduce the cognitive load on their working memory and help them to solve problems faster. Examples include:

  • Providing clearly laid out, step-by-step worked examples
  • Identifying and explaining the underlying principles of each step
  • Modelling the use of prompts
  • Working together with students on tasks
  • Providing partially completed problems

5: Guide student practice

guidanceNew material will quickly be forgotten without sufficient rehearsal. Rehearsal helps students to access information quickly and easily when required. Additional time needs to be spent by students summarising, rephrasing or elaborating on new material so that it can become:

  • Stored in long-term memory
  • Easily retrieved
  • Used for new learning and problem solving

The quality of storage relies on:

  • Student engagement with the material
  • Providing feedback to the students to correct errors and ensure misconceptions aren’t stored

The rehearsal process can be facilitated and enhanced by:

  • Questioning students
  • Asking students to summarise the main points
  • Supervising students during practice

In one study, the more successful teachers spent more time guiding practice, for example by working through initial problems at the board whilst explaining the reasons for each step or asking students to work out problems at the board and discuss their procedures. This also served as a way of providing multiple models for students to allow them to be better prepared for independent work.

6: Check for student understanding

thinking aloud

More effective teachers frequently checked for understanding. Checking for understanding identifies whether students are developing misconceptions as well as providing some of the processing required to move new learning into long-term memory.

The purpose of checking is twofold:

  1. Answering questions might cause students to elaborate and strengthen connections to prior learning in their long term-memory
  2. The answers provided by students alert the teacher to parts of the material that may need reteaching

A number of strategies can be used to check for understanding, e.g:

  • Questioning
  • Asking students to think aloud as they work
  • Asking students to defend a position to others

7: Obtain a high success rate

80percentWhen students learn new material, they construct meaning in their long-term memory. Errors can be made though, as they attempt to be logical in areas where their background knowledge may still be weak. It was suggested that the optimal success rate for fostering student achievement is approximately 80%. Furthermore, it was said that achieving a success rate of 80% showed that students were learning the material, whilst being suitably challenged. High success rates during guided practice led to higher success rates during independent work. If practice did not have a high success rate, there was a chance that errors were being practised and learned, which then become difficult to overcome. The development of misconceptions can be limited by breaking material down into small steps, providing guided practice and checking for understanding.

8: Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks

Building site scaffoldingScaffolds are temporary supports that help students to learn difficult tasks, which are gradually withdrawn with increasing competence. The use of scaffolds and models, aided by a master, helps students to serve their “cognitive apprenticeship” and learn strategies that allow them to become independent.

Scaffolds include:

  • Thinking aloud by the teacher to reveal the thought processes of an expert and provide mental labels during problem solving
  • Providing poor examples to correct, as well as expert models
  • Tools such as cue cards or checklists
  • Prompts such as “Who?” “Why?” and “How? that enable students to ask questions as they work
  • Box prompts to categorise and elaborate on the main ideas
  • A model of the completed task for students to compare their own work to

9: Require and monitor independent practice

practiceIndependent practice follows guided practice and involves students working alone and practising new material. Sufficient practice is necessary for students to become fluent and automatic. This avoids overcrowding working memory, and enables more attention to be devoted to comprehension and application.

Independent practice should involve the same material as guided practice, or with only slight variation. The research showed that optimal teacher-student contact time during supervision was 30 seconds or less, with longer explanations being required an indication that students were practising errors.

10: Engage students in weekly and monthly review

calendar reviewAs students rehearse and review information, connections between ideas in long-term memory are strengthened. The more information is reviewed, the stronger these connections become. This also makes it easier to learn new information, as prior knowledge becomes more readily available for use. It also frees up space in working memory, as knowledge is organised into larger, better-connected patterns.

Practical suggestions for implementation include:

  • Review the previous week’s work at the beginning of the following week
  • Review the previous month’s work at the beginning of every fourth week
  • Test following a review
  • Weekly quizzes

The full report by Barak Rosenshine: Principles of Instruction – Research based strategies that all teachers should know is available here.

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Foldables

Foldables title slideThe final presentation at our lunchtime pedagogy picnic on Magic Monday 3 was by Suzanne Falconer from our Science department, who introduced us to foldables.

Foldables are essentially a type of graphic organiser that allow students to categorise information in lots of different ways.

They can be used to take notes, record questions, observations or findings and organise information.  They can be used to chunk information into smaller pieces or to consolidate topics into one package, for example when reviewing work prior to an assessment.

Foldables can be used in any subject and give students the opportunity to create something themselves that they can then refer back to.  As the foldable is created by the student, they have to think about how they will organise and present information themselves, as well as how concepts link together.

Foldables come in all shapes and sizes, although the most common types of fold are:

  • Accordion
  • Burrito
  • Hamburger
  • Hotdog
  • Mountain
  • Shutter
  • Taco

…which can be used to create all manner of foldables including:

  • layered books
  • door books
  • matchbooks
  • trifold books
  • envelopes
  • flip books
  • etc.

By letting students select which type to use themselves they get to organise the information in a way which makes sense to them.

Suzanne has been using them with her Year 11 students to review a GCSE unit of work on “chemicals of the natural environment”

Foldable 4

Foldable 1

You can use the template below if you want to have a go at making this type of foldable.

Foldable 5

Suzanne will be running a voluntary, hands on workshop for staff after school on the 31st of March.

A Pinterest  page on “foldables for the classroom” can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

http://www.pinterest.com/learningahoy/foldables-for-the-classroom/

Magic Monday 1

Our first Magic Monday on the 9th December was undoubtedly an overwhelming success.

MM1 invitation

Over 90% of our classroom based staff attended the Pedagogy Picnic at lunchtime (more if you don’t include those staff on lunch duty) plus we had virtually a full house at our Workshops Of Wonder after school.  When you consider that both sessions were entirely voluntary, the turnout was incredible! It was fantastic to see so many staff wanting to focus on developing their pedagogy further as well as showing their support to colleagues who presented.  A massive thank you to everyone who attended or presented, as well as to all of those who worked so hard “behind the scenes” to help organise the invitations, their delivery, the resources, the “goodie-bags”, both of the venues, the delicious catering, the I.T……….it really was a team effort.

MM1 Summary pics

Blog posts on all of the presentations and workshops from Magic Monday 1 can be accessed by clicking on the links below:

Pedagogy Picnic presentations

MM1 Ped Picnic summary pics

Workshops Of Wonder

MM1 WOW summary pics

The feedback from our first Magic Monday was overwhelmingly positive too.

MM1 feedback sheets

Staff told us they really liked:

  • the variety of presentations
  • the range of ideas / innovative ideas shared
  • the practical ideas / their relevance / the fact that ideas could be implemented straight away
  • the short / sharp nature / pace of presentations and workshops
  • the sharing of ideas that our staff have used
  • the sharing by our teachers for our teachers
  • involvement of different departments
  • the range of experience of teachers sharing ideas
  • the opportunity to work with other teachers / different departments
  • the chance to try out new ideas
  • being together / eating together / talking together
  • the provision of ready-made, adaptable resources to take away (the goodie bags!)
  • the refreshments
  • the choice of venues (our staffroom and Learning Resource Centre)
  • the atmosphere, enthusiasm, passion of presenters and having a common goal
  • the chance to think/reflect

MM1 Ped Picnic 1

For our next Magic Monday staff would love:

  • More of the same!
  • Even more ideas!
  • Even more departments involved!
  • More teachers sharing ideas
  • Another goodie-bag of resources (including chocolate!)
  • More time to discuss / share ideas / Q+A
  • More examples of impact on students / feedback from students / evidence of progress

MM1 Ped Picnic 2

As well as giving specific suggestions for topics staff would like to hear more about:

  • Feedback – especially peer assessment
  • Differentiation
  • More Kagan cooperative learning strategies
  • Using Twitter as a CPD tool
  • More about SOLO
  • More about using QR codes
  • Easy to adapt plenaries

Here’s a sneaky peak at what we’ve got planned for Magic Monday 2 on January 6th……..

MM 2 invite

  • all new ideas
  • all new presenters from Science, Maths, Humanities, Performing Arts, MFL and English – including co-presenters from different departments
  • a few minutes after each session for Q+A

We’ve had such a good response from our teachers that we’ve already got Magic Monday 3 planned to include:

  • differentiation
  • flipped learning
  • foldables – revision resources in the run up to exams
  • D.I.R.T.y feedback
  • cooperative learning with impact
  • takeaway homework
  • animoto
  • independent learning

…and that’s just for starters!

Plus after Christmas we will be running a voluntary “using twitter for CPD for beginners” session as well as giving staff the opportunity to see some of the things they’ve heard about already in action in classrooms.

It’s going to be an exciting year!