At Dawson Park Primary, we have adopted a framework for lessons centered around Explicit Instruction, a research-based approach designed to create well-structured lessons that effectively teach new concepts and enhance learning outcomes for all students. This model, developed by John Hollingsworth and Dr. Sylvia Yabarra, is embedded in research, data analysis, and direct instruction.
At Dawson Park Primary, our teachers emphasise clear teaching practices, where they explicitly demonstrate the necessary steps and methodologies to students. They define learning objectives and success criteria, ensuring transparency, and provide examples and models for illustration. Throughout the lesson, teachers continuously check for understanding. At the lesson’s conclusion, they revisit the learning objectives and success criteria, aligning with Professor John Hattie’s findings on Visible Learning: Clear teaching demonstrates an effect size of 0.57.
Clear instruction is grounded in two key principles:
- The information processing model, which posits that learners retain information actively considered and maintained in thought.
- The cognitive load theory, which suggests limitations on how much new information the human brain can process and retain in long-term memory.
Our school, Dawson Park Primary, embraces a whole-school approach to lesson design and delivery to ensure the best possible outcomes for our students. Key elements of our lesson design include:
Instructors clearly communicate to students what they will achieve in the lesson.
Teachers inform students about the necessary steps to achieve the learning objective, using self-talk and presenting sequential steps.
Teachers lead the instruction, employing the TAPPLE method (Teach, Ask a question, Pair-Share, Pick a Non-volunteer, Listen, Effective Feedback) to assess understanding. Teachers explicitly model skills and articulate self-talk.
Teachers collaborate with students to practice skills through examples and gradually shift responsibility to students. This step-by-step method ensures thorough understanding and allows for affirmative or corrective feedback at each stage.
During this phase, students engage in meaningful activities that allow them to practice or demonstrate their understanding of the concept and apply the skill without assistance from the teacher. They do so independently, with peers, or in small groups. At the end of this phase, students are encouraged to self-assess their progress based on the success criteria or learning objectives and share their work.
Teachers regroup the class to review the Learning Objective, Success Criteria, and Self-Talk.