Back to: Module: Helping with Instruction

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Slide 1: You may have heard the term explicit instruction before and wondered, “What is that exactly and how do I do it?” The goal of this presentation is to provide you with an explanation of what explicit instruction is and how to implement it. So what is explicit instruction?

Slide 2: Explicit instruction is just that. It is teaching in an explicit way, but what does explicit mean? Merriam-Webster provides us with the definition of explicit as, “Fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, implication or ambiguity: leaving no question as to meaning or intent.”

Slide 3: Some skills are learned through inquiry or exploration while other skills need to be explicitly taught. For example, you may be able to figure out how to use the remote for a TV by trial and error, but if you want to learn how to tie a bowtie explicit instruction would be best for you. The best way for you to learn how to tie a bowtie would be to be shown the steps involved in tying a bow tie as well as be shown how to do it. Someone might even need to show you first and provide feedback to you while you are doing it. This would be an example of explicit instruction.

Slide 4: In other words, explicit instruction involves teaching a skill in a highly structured way, or showing and telling the students what to do. Some academic or social skills may need to be taught using explicit instruction.

Slide 5: Explicit instruction may be beneficial when students are learning new material or complex concepts. In math, oftentimes students are encouraged to use whatever strategy they are comfortable with to solve a problem or even count money. However, sometimes students need to be given a consistent way to solve a problem.

Slide 6: So how do you provide explicit instruction? Because explicit instructions involves teaching a skill in a highly structured way it is important to take the following steps:

Select critical content – what is most important when teaching a particular skill?

Break down content into smaller pieces – what are the steps needed in completing the skill?

Sequence skills logically.

Provide models – When providing the models make sure to demonstrate and think out loud when completing the task. Don’t just explain it, do it.

Give students many opportunities to respond. This helps with learning and engagement.

Provide immediate feedback. Let the students know what they are doing right.

Highlight examples and nonexamples. It is also important to show them examples of doing the task right but also some common mistakes that occur.

And finally I DO, WE DO, YOU DO. These are the stages of gradual release of responsibility. The instructor models the process, the student and instructor do it together and finally the student does it alone.

Slide 7: Let’s do an example. Our example is to teach the student how to do simple multiplication problems using manipulatives. The first step is to think about the critical content and how you would like to teach this. When we think about multiplication we typically think about groups of objects. Multiplication can also be referred to as repeated addition or can use arrays to solve problems. There are different approaches to teaching multiplication. For this example, we are going to have the multiplication symbol represent the words “groups of.” So the multiplication problem 3 X 4 can be read as three groups of four. We will then think of the specific steps that are involved in solving this problem using manipulatives. Take a moment and pause this presentation to list the specific steps involved in doing this math problem with manipulatives using the concept of “groups of.”

Slide 8: On this slide there are four steps to doing a multiplication problem with manipulatives. They are:

Read the problem with the words “groups of” in place of the multiplication symbol.

Draw the number of circles for the first number.

Put the number of objects in each circle for the second number.

Count all of the objects in all of the circles. That is your answer or product of the multiplication problem.

These are the smaller steps that are sequenced logically so that any simple multiplication problem can be solved.

Slide 9: Now let’s apply these steps to the multiplication problem 3 x 4. The first step is to read the problem with the words “groups of” in place of the multiplication problem. So I would say, “3 groups of 4.” The second step is to draw the number of circles for the first number. Since the first number is 3 you need to draw 3 circles. The next step is to put the number of objects in each circle for the second number. Since the second number is 4 you need to put 4 objects in each circle. The final step is to count all of the objects in all of the circle. Let’s look at what this would look like.

Slide 10: Here is a picture of what should have happened during this example. The first step was to read the problem. The first number is 3 so there are three circles. The second number is 4 so there are four ducks in each circle. And finally you count all of the ducks to find the answer, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. So 3 x 4 = 12.

Slide 11: The two elements of explicit instruction that you just saw an example of were selecting critical content, or deciding to think of multiplication as “groups of” and sequencing the skills logically, or coming up with those four simple steps to solve a simple multiplication problem. In addition to these elements you need to make sure to model doing the task and not just explain it. When you model the procedure you need to make sure to . . .

Slide 12: Give the students many opportunities to respond, While they are responding you need to give them feedback as well as provide examples and nonexamples.

Slide 13: Once you have demonstrated or modeled the process you need to give the students opportunities to respond. You might ask questions like, “How should we read this problem? What words do we use for the multiplication symbol? What is the first number? Which is the second number?”

Slide 14: As the students are answering or providing responses you need to give them feedback. “Great job!” “Yes, we say, ‘groups of’ for the multiplication symbol.” “That’s right, the first number is 3, so we draw three circles.” ” Perfect, you are going to put 4 items in each circle.” “ You’re close, you almost have the answer. The answer is 12”

Slide 15: It is also important to provide many examples and non examples. Non examples are when you intentionally do it wrong so that the students can see.

Slide 16: One of the most important components of explicit instruction is referred to as I Do, We Do, You Do. This involves the actual teaching and modeling of the skill or process. During the I Do stage the instructor clearly demonstrates the process that is being taught while verbally talking through what they are doing. It is important to remember that the instructor is not only talking through the example but also doing the example. The instructor may ask the student to respond through this stage with a thumbs up or repeat what the instructor says, but they are not expected to know how to do the example yet. During the We Do stage the instructor and student do a different example together. At this point the student may be asked questions about the process and to help the instructor do the example. The final stage is You Do. This is when the student is doing an example by themselves. However, the instructor will be providing feedback to help ensure success for the student. The number of examples that are done in each stage will vary according to the student responses and understanding of the process.

Slide 17: Thanks for watching. Hopefully you have a better understanding of what explicit teaching is and how it is implemented.