Principles of explicit instruction I use in my classroom
- Contiguity - ideas that need to be associated are presented together in sequence.
- Multi-literacies - material is presented in verbal, visual and multimedia forms.
- Testing Effect - testing is aligned with important content to facilitate learning.
- Spacing Effect - spaced schedules are used to optimise long-term retention.
- Exam Expectations - students’ skills are tested frequently before the exam to favour familiarity with the content.
- Generation Effect - students have to generate answers and not just recognise them.
- Multiple Examples - Use of grammar structures (for example article/noun/adjective agreement) is illustrated by multiple and varied examples.
- Feedback Effect - Immediate feedback is given to reduce the possibilities of learning wrong information, but also to enhance self-esteem.
- Desirable Challenges - students are presented with challenging tasks that make learning effortful, thus have positive effects on long-term retention.
- Goldilocks Principle - tasks are not too easy nor too difficult, they are just right for the students’ level of skills and prior knowledge.
- Segmentation Principle - a complex lesson is broken into manageable cognitive loads (for instance, key vocabulary for new units is taught over few lessons).
- Deep questions - students are encouraged to ask deep questions (Why? Why not? How? What if...?)
- Acknowledging students’ imperfect meta-cognition - students’ capacity to calibrate their comprehension, memory and/or general learning should not be trusted (for example, important information is reiterated even if the students said they understood it).
- Discovery learning - most students have trouble discovering important principles of their own, therefore careful guidance, scaffolding and individual tutoring are given in the classroom and outside.
- Self-regulated learning - students are trained to self-regulate their learning and cognitive processes (for instance, students are introduced to strategies for succeeding in long and/or demanding tasks).
Things that work
Things to improve