Direct instruction

Principles of instruction by Barak Rosenshine The International Academy of Education.

This pamphlet presents ten research-based principles of instruction, and suggestions for classroom practice. These principles come from three source. The complete text can be found here: Principles of Instruction Rosenshine

(a) research on how our brain acquires and uses new information; The first source of these suggestions is research in cognitive science. This research focuses on how our brains acquire and use information. This cognitive research also provides suggestions on how we might overcome the limitations of our working memory when learning new material. These suggestions appear in these ten principles.

(b) research on the classroom practices of those teachers whose students show the highest gains; The second source of the instructional ideas in this pamphlet comes from observing the classroom practices of master teachers. Master teachers are those teachers whose classrooms made the highest gains on achievement tests. These teachers were observed as they taught, and the investigators coded how they presented new material, how and whether they checked for student understanding, the types of support they provided to their students and a number of other instructional activities. The activities that were used by the most-successful teachers are incorporated into these ten principles.

(c) findings from studies that taught learning strategies to students. The third source of suggestions for classroom practice came from the research of cognitive scientists who developed and tested cognitive supports and scaffolds that helped students learn complex tasks. Instructional procedures, such as thinking aloud, providing students with scaffolds and providing students with models, came from this research and these procedures are also described in these ten principles.

Each of these three sources has suggestions for classroom practice that are included in this pamphlet. An interesting finding is that there is no conflict at all between the instructional suggestions that come from each of these three sources. In other words, these three sources supplement and complement each other. And the fact that the instructional ideas from three different sources supplement and complement each other gives us faith in the validity of these findings. The following is a list of some of the instructional procedures that have come from these three sources. These ideas will be described and discussed in this pamphlet:

  1. Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning.
  2. Present new material in small steps with student practice after • each step.
  3. Limit the amount of material students receive at one time.
  4. Give clear and detailed instructions and explanations.
  5. Ask a large number of questions and check for understanding.
  6. Provide a high level of active practice for all students.
  7. Guide students as they begin to practice.
  8. Think aloud and model steps.
  9. Provide models of worked-out problems.
  10. Ask students to explain what they had learned.
  11. Check the responses of all students.
  12. Provide systematic feedback and corrections.
  13. Use more time to provide explanations
  14. Provide many examples.
  15. Re-teach material when necessary.
  16. Prepare students for independent practice.
  17. Monitor students when they begin independent practice


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