Explicit Instruction can be teaching that is
1. Focussed on producing specific and measurable learning outcomes
2. Is broken down into small parts.
It involves demonstration and practice under a structured teaching and learning framework and modelling of appropriate skills and behaviours as we focus on critical, creative and co-operative thinking.
To be explicit and clarify purpose, teachers could answer these four questions about any unit to be taught.
1. Why should my students enjoy this unit? Fun, teamwork, curiosity, risk taking.
2. What cognitive skills do I wish to encourage? e.g. analysing, finding unusual solutions
3. What technical skills do I wish to encourage? Working with machinery, ICTs, using formula
4. Which dispositions or attitudes do I wish to foster here? e.g. Tolerance, good listening, accuracy (look at Habits of Minds)
All of these will lead to answering the question “Why are we doing this?”
Explicit Instruction becomes a sequence of support involving all four of these key aspects.
1. Setting a purpose for learning (see four quadrant questions above).
2. Telling students what the tasks are.
3. Showing via modelling of appropriate cognitive and co-operative tools
4. Guiding their hands-on application of the learning.
So start with the verbs (the ‘WHY’) to determine the cognitive purpose. . Therefore a major rule in Explicit Instruction is matching the verb to the Cognitive Outcome, so share this with your students.
Focus on these skills more than the content (the ‘WHAT’) and with the use of the ‘HOW’ (the thinking tools,) the content comes alive. (see page 13 – opposite the Bloom’s Framework
Each level of Bloom has an icon and accompanying text to assist students in understanding the reasons for the VERB in learning.
I want you to think about ‘Digital Change’ in your life by
1. Rem. listing eight things that have changed in the past two years.
2. Und. explaining why one of these changes have happened. Use a Cause-Effect Map.
3. Apply. showing how one of these changes has made you have doubts about what is right or wrong. Use an Attribute Listing Organiser.
4. Analyse. Discussing what one of these changes is really about. Use an Icon Prompt.
5. Evaluate. Think of two changes important to you and decide which one has been best for you. Use a Decision Making Matrix.
6. Design. How could you make one of these changes even better for society at large? Use a MAS.
Junior Primary Example.
Hygiene at School
1. Remember. What is the definition of hygiene in a school?
What are four things we do not do properly which leads to the spread of nasties?
List five nasties occurring in schools
2. Understand. Explain why it is important to blow one’s nose in the proper way (e.g. the use of the belly) and why we should get rid of tissues.
3. Apply. Demonstrate how to a) blow your nose properly b) was your hands and c) clean tables. Flow Chart
4. Analyse. Discuss the issue of containment of disease and the role of parenting in this issue. Et PCQ
5. Evaluation. Decide whether bard games or physical games are better for building trust, strong relationships and self-esteem for four different students. DMM
6. Design. Modify any well-known game to encourage trust, sharing and caring and communication. (any other benefits can be added to this list) MAS
For more examples and resources see Eric's website for downloadable and for-purchase materials.
By Eric Frangenheim's book Reflections on Classroom Thinking Strategies has sold over 35000 hard copies and is now available as an ebook on Itunes. He is also the creator of Thinkdrive (see last video). In the video below, Eric demonstrates by teaching this class using classic sequencing with Bloom's aligned strategies.