Research says there are Nine Essential Areas of Effective Instruction
I. Instruction is guided by a preplanned curriculum learning goals and objectives are developed and prioritized according to district and building guidelines, selected or approved by teachers, sequenced to facilitate student learning, and organized or grouped into units or lessons
1. Instruction is guided by a preplanned curriculum unit or lesson objectives are set in a time line so that the calendar can be used for instructional planning instructional resources and teaching activities are identified, matched to objectives and student development levels, and recorded in lesson plans… alternative resources and activities are identified, especially for priority objectives
1. Instruction is guided by a preplanned curriculum resources and teaching activities are reviewed for content and appropriateness and are modified according to experience to increase their effectiveness in helping students learn.
II. Students are carefully oriented to lessons teachers helps students get ready to learn… explain objectives and refer to them throughout the lesson objectives may be posted or handed out to help students develop a sense of direction the relationship of the current lesson to previous study is described – previous material is reviewed students are challenged to learn – especially at the start of a difficult lesson
III. Instruction is clear and focused lesson activities are previewed; clear written and verbal directions are given; key points and instructions are repeated; student understanding is checked presentations are designed to communicate clearly to students – digressions are avoided students have plenty of opportunity for guided and independent practice of new skills and concepts
III. Instruction is clear and focused to check understanding, teachers ask clear questions teachers select problems and other academic tasks well matched to the lesson so the success rate is high Homework is given in small increments and provides additional practice – work is checked and students are given quick feedback
IV. Learning progress in monitored closely teachers frequently monitor student work – formally and informally classroom assessments match learning objectives students hear assessment results quickly; reports to students are simple and clear and help them understand and correct errors; reports are tied to learning objectives
IV. Learning progress in monitored closely grading scales and mastery standards are set high to promote excellence teachers encourage parents to track student progress
V. When students do not understand, they are retaught teachers reteach priority lesson content until students show they have learned it regular, focused reviews of key concepts and skills are used throughout the year to check on and strengthen student retention
VI. Class time is for learning teachers follow a system of priorities for using class time and allocate time for each subject or lesson…class time is for learning teachers set and maintain a brisk schedule for instruction Students are encouraged to pace themselves – if they do not finish during class, they work on lessons before or after school, during lunch, or at other times so they keep up with what is going on in class
VII. There are smooth, efficient classroom routines class starts quickly and purposefully; teachers have assignments or activities ready for students when they arrive students are required to bring materials they need in class each day administrative matters are handled with quick, efficient routines that keep class disruptions to a minimum
VII. There are smooth, efficient classroom routines there are smooth, rapid transitions between activities throughout the day or class
VIII. Instructional groups formed in the classroom fit instructional needs when introducing new concepts and skills, whole-group instruction, actively led by the teacher, is preferable smaller groups are formed as needed to make sure all students learn thoroughly teachers review and adjust groups often – moving students when achievement levels change
IV. Standards for classroom behavior are explicit teachers communicate high standards for behavior in the classroom classroom behavior standards are written, taught, and reviewed rules, discipline procedures, and consequences are planned in advance
IV. Standards for classroom behavior are explicit consistent, equitable discipline is applied for all students; procedures are carried out quickly and are clearly linked to students inappropriate behavior teachers stop disruptions quickly in disciplinary action, the teacher focuses on the inappropriate behavior, not on the students personality
Additional Research 10 critical items for Effective Instruction
1. Product Focus Is the work assigned clearly linked to some product, performance, or exhibition? Are students aware of the product toward which the work or activity is directed? Do they understand the connection between what they are doing and what they are expected to produce?
1. Product Focus Do students place value on the product or performance they are being asked to create or provide? Do they care about, want to produce, or see meaning in this performance or product?
2. Clear and Compelling Product Standards Are the standards by which the product or performance is to be assessed clearly articulated (concrete examples, prototypes, or rubrics that show what the finished product will look like)? Are the attributes and qualities desired in the performance or product identified and distinguished sufficiently for students to assess the progress of segments of the performance or product as well as progress toward the whole?
2. Clear and Compelling Product Standards Are students persuaded that it is important for them to produce products and performances that meet the desired standards? Do they perceive that they have a realistic prospect of doing so?
3. Protection from Adverse Consequences Are students provided with feedback and judgments about the quality of their products and performances other than on occasions when they are being graded and evaluated for the record?
3. Protection from Adverse Consequences Are people other than the teacher invited to inspect the students products and performances and to provide feedback in settings where that feedback will not affect the students status among their peers or within the evaluative structure of the school?
3. Protection from Adverse Consequences When the students performance or product fails to meet the standards that have been set, are the students provided with additional opportunities to produce a product or a performance that meets these standards without having the failed effort count against them in some subsequent evaluation?
3. Protection from Adverse Consequences After a reasonable number of tries, do all students produce products and performances that meet standards in nearly all cases?
4. Affirmation of Performances Are the students products and performances made sufficiently public (observable by others) so that people other than the teacher – such as parents or peers – who are significant in the lives of the students have the opportunity to inspect them, comment on them, and affirm their importance and significance?
4. Affirmation of Performances Do people other than the teacher inspect students performances and products and affirm their worth, importance, and significance?
5. Affiliation Are tasks designed in ways that encourage cooperative action among students as well as between students and adults? Are many of the products and performances that students are encouraged to produce complex enough that their successful completion requires and encourages cooperative action?
5. Affiliation When tasks assigned to students require independent work and work in isolation, is the result of the work linked to products and performances that require cooperative action for completion?
6. Novelty and Variety Do the tasks assigned call upon students to employ new or varied means of completing the tasks, and are the products and performances students are expected to produce varied in kind, complexity, and length of time anticipated for completion?
6. Novelty and Variety Are students tasks designed so that students are called on to use new skills as well as new and different media, approaches, styles of presentation, and modes of analysis?
6. Novelty and Variety Are the information and knowledge students are called upon to process, consider, think about, and command presented in a variety of formats and through a variety of means?
7. Choice When students are given limited choice with regard to the product they are to produce and the performance they are to provide, are they given a wide choice in the means they will employ as well as in the amount of time, sequence, and order used for the completion of the tasks?
7. Choice When students are given minimum choice in the time to complete tasks and the sequence and order with which tasks are to be completed, are they given optimum choices with regard to the product to be produced and the nature of the performance to be provided?
8. Authenticity Are the products to which the tasks are related perceived by students to be real? For example, do they perceive that the quality of their products will have consequences for them, and do these consequences have meaning and significance for them?
8. Authenticity Are the conditions under which the work is done similar to those under which similar work is done in the real world? For example, is the interaction between a teacher and a student author of an essay like that of an editor and an author of is it more like that of an inspector and a supplier
9. Organization of Knowledge Are information and knowledge organized in ways that make them accessible and inviting to students?
9. Organization of Knowledge Is the knowledge students are expected to master and use organized in a way that makes it accessible and focused? For example, if they are presented with problems that require the use of information from a variety of subjects, is the knowledge presented in a way that encourages them to see the connections between disciplines?
9. Organization of Knowledge Are students provided with opportunities to develop the skills they need to access the knowledge and information they are expected to process and master? More specifically, are they provided with explicit instruction in the use of tools relevant to scholarly crafts, such as seeking context clues when reading, examining the logical structure of arguments, and distinguishing fact from opinion?
10. Content and Substance Is the content with which students work – facts, opinions, cultural artifacts, books, and materials – rich and culturally relevant? When content from the various disciplines is presented, are the ideas, propositions, facts, and insights presented consistent with those generally agreed upon by scholars in these disciplines?
10. Content and Substance Is the content with which students are expected to work appropriate to their maturity level, experience, and background, and is it packaged and presented in a way that optimizes its attractiveness?
Sources Creating the New American School: A Principals Guide to School Improvement by Richard DeFour and Robert Eaker Working on the Work by Phillip C. Schlechty