Explicit teaching practices and feedback
What is it?
Explicit teaching practices, including the effective use of feedback, are key elements of effective teaching. Such practices ensure that students have a clear understanding of why they are learning something, how it connects to what they already know, what is expected of them, and how to do it (explicit teaching). They also ensure that students are given opportunities to ask questions and get clear feedback about their performance against learning outcomes (effective feedback).
Explicit teaching is an important teaching process, which involves a series of steps whereby the teacher:
- decides the learning intentions and success criteria
- makes the intentions and criteria transparent to students
- evaluates if they understand what they have been told by checking for understanding
- retells students what they have been told by tying it all together with closure.
Why is it important?
Students who experience explicit teaching practices, accompanied by effective feedback, make greater learning gains than students who do not experience these practices, and the evidence for this is long standing. Cognitive load theory provides theoretical and empirical support for explicit models of instruction. The research demonstrates that for novice learners, explicit instruction, incorporating direct guidance accompanied by practice and feedback, is more effective than partial guidance.
School improvement links
|School Excellence Framework element||What works best theme|
|Effective classroom practice||Explicit teaching|
Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) (2017). Cognitive load theory: Research that teachers really need to understand. Prepared by NSW Department of Education.
Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) (2014). What works best: Evidence-based practices to help improve NSW student performance. Prepared by NSW Department of Education.
Hattie, J., (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.
Kirschner, P., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 75-86.
Mostafa, T. (2018). How do science teachers teach science – and does it matter? PISA in Focus, No. 90. Paris: OECD Publishing.
Rosenshine, B. (2012, Spring). Principals of instruction, research-based strategies that all teachers should know. American Educator, 36(1).
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