Planning and instructional design
Including particular elements in your lessons leads to higher levels of student learning.
While there are multiple ways to plan effectively in your teaching practice, research tells us that there are certain things that you can do when planning and teaching lessons that will promote students’ learning.
Orienting: Explaining the objectives and success criteria of task/lesson.
Structuring: Structuring and highlighting material through overviews and outlines, clear transitions and regular reviews throughout lesson.
Questioning: Asking questions which open up the dialogue in the classroom and which unpack students’ understandings.
Modelling: Teaching students to use and/or develop strategies for solving problems.
Application: Providing practice activities while monitoring progress and providing feedback.
Interactions: Focusing teaching interactions on creating a knowledge- and learning-centred, assessment-rich environment accompanied by high expectations, and providing opportunities for students tutoring and helping each other, and giving feedback to facilitate each other’s learning
The instructional core – the interactions and inter-relationships among the teacher(s), the students and the content in the classroom context – that is, what happens at the classroom level underpin the whole teaching and learning process, are what predict the performance of an education system. Ensuring that the teaching and learning opportunities and activities that teachers design are structured to effect the greatest impact on students’ learning and development is critical.
There is a robust body of research, drawn from cognitive psychology and education, and incorporating both large-scale quantitative and smaller-scale qualitative studies, which support the 7 components of planning listed above.
- Make sure you always explain the objectives for a particular task, lesson or series of lessons.
- Plan backwards by determining what success of a lesson should look like first before planning activities.
- Build formative assessment opportunities into each lesson, to provide feedback both to your students and to yourself as the teacher
- Organise material and learning into progressive steps, which are framed in a way that reinforce the key ideas
- Use higher order questions to promote deep thinking and learning in your students
- Create opportunities for students to apply in new ways knowledge and skills they have learned
- Create an environment in which students share a sense of purpose and investment in the learning goals with you, and where they feel comfortable and safe to share the ups and downs of their learning journey.
- How do you communicate the purpose and objectives to a lesson or activity to students, and how do you enable students to assessment whether these have been met?
- Do you break the learning down into progressive steps for students to master?
- How many different ways do you collect assessment information, outside of testing?
- What kinds of question encourage higher-level thinking skills such as reflection, explanation or justification?
- What opportunities do you provide students to apply their knowledge in new contexts or in new ways?
"There is so much good information in this for teaching. It’s applicable for all ages. It’s so valuable I am devoting tonight’s staff meeting to read and discuss"