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Great Teaching at Emerald North through Explicit Instruction

​In this article we would like to briefly talk about a highly effective teaching method that we use throughout the school called Explicit Instruction.  The reason why we want to share this information with you is that we believe it is important for you and other parents to know ‘What’ we are teaching, but also on ‘How’ we teach.  So what does Explicit Instruction involve?
Explicit Instruction is a teaching approach that involves clear teaching steps, teachers continually checking to make sure students are getting what is being taught, and teachers making sure students are active and engaged in the lesson.  Explicit Instruction requires that Concepts and Skills be taught in a very clear and deliberate manner.  The basic steps of explicit instruction involve:
Rapid Recall Routines:  This is a strategy when the teacher gets students to practice concepts or skills learnt previously at a quick (rapid) rate.  This normally takes about 5 minutes and is helping students move key concepts from their short term memory to their long term.  This is used over all subject areas and can be used as a warm-up activity to the lesson or separate to the lesson.
Lesson Opening: This is the part of the lesson when the teacher introduces what the lesson will be about.  The teacher will have a clear learning objective for the students to see either on the board or on a poster. In this stage teachers are very explicit about what students will need to Know, Do and Why/Where this fits in to other learning. The terms that we use throughout the school for these three key elements are WALT (We Are Learning Today) and WILF (What I’m Looking For). 
Activating Prior Knowledge: This is the part of the lesson when the teacher reviews previous concepts or skills that are important (underpin) the current lesson topic (i.e. if they don’t have this, then they may not be ready for the lesson content).  This might involve the teacher getting students to answer a question or complete a quick activity.
I Do – Model:  This is the part of the lesson when the teacher models and explains the concept or skill of the lesson.  This is the part when the teacher shows very clearly to students what they need to understand and be able to do through lots of examples.
We Do – Guided Practice: This is the part of the lesson when the teacher guides students in practicing the skill or concept.  This involves everyone having a go together in a highly supported way.
I Do – Independent Practice:  This is the part of the lesson when students have proved that they understand the lesson’s concept or can do the lesson’s skill.  They then have a go at it by themselves.
Lesson Close: This is the final part of the lesson when the teacher will go back over key ideas in the lesson and then let students know what the next lesson or lessons will involve related to the topic taught. 
Overall, research has shown this approach to teaching to be highly effective and actually leads to significant gains in student learning.  At Emerald North, this approach to teaching is central to our students learning new concepts and skills over the course of the year.