Research (Baker, Gersten, & Lee, 2002; Carnine, 1997; Doabler et al., 2012; Witzel, Mercer, & Miller, 2003) indicates that all students, but particularly struggling learners, benefit from the provision of explicit instruction, which can be defined as a direct an unambiguous approach to instruction that incorporates instructional design and instructional delivery procedures (Archer & Hughes, 2011).
Moreover, students benefit from having strategies for learning content made conspicuous for them but only when these strategies are designed to support the transfer of knowledge from the specific content being taught (i.e., the mathematics problems that are the focus of instruction during a particular class period) to a broader, more generalizable context (e.g., similar mathematics problems with similar or more complex types of numbers, similar mathematics problems presented during whole group instruction to be solved collaboratively, in pairs, or independently as part of homework) (Kame’enui, Carnine, Dixon, & Burns, 2011).
What is explicit instruction?
As noted previously, the idea of explicit instruction includes both instructional design and instructional delivery features, and requires that we carefully consider not only the content we plan to teach and the order in which that content is sequenced but also the methods we used to deliver that instruction to our students. In this series of blogs, we will provide you with elements of explicit instruction as well as examples and/or steps to carrying out these recommendations.
Focusing instruction on critical content (e.g., skills, strategies, concepts, vocabulary) that is essential for promoting student understanding of the target content as well as future, related content.

Organizing instruction around “big ideas” that can help students see how particular skills and concepts fit together. This will provide students with a clearer understanding of how content, skills, and strategies are related and can help students organize that information in their minds, making it easier for them to retrieve that information and integrate it with new material. Example: Fractions are numbers that can be represented in different ways.

Sequencing skills in a logical fashion so that (a) students learn all prerequisite skills before being asked to perform the target skill, (b) highfrequency skills are taught before those needed less frequently, (c) skills and strategies that are similar and may be confusing to students are not taught in close proximity within the scope and sequence, and (d) easier skills are taught before more difficult skills. 
Breaking down complex skills and strategies into smaller units in an effort to minimize cognitive overload and the demands placed on students’ working memory. Teach skills in small, discrete steps that can be added to one another to form the target skill.

Archer, A. L, & Hughes, C. A. (2011). Explicit instruction: Effective and efficient teaching. New York NY: Guilford.
Baker, S. K., Gersten, R., & Lee, D. (2002). A synthesis of empirical research on teaching mathematics to lowachieving students. The Elementary School Journal, 103, 5173.
Carnine, D. W. (1997). Instructional design in mathematics for students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 30, 130141.
Doabler, C. T., Cary, M. S., Jungjohann, K., Clarke, B., Fien, H., Baker, S., Smolkowski, K., & Chard, D. (2012). Enhancing core mathematics instruction for students at risk for mathematics disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 44, 4857.
Kame’enui, E. J., Carnine, D. W., Dixon, R. C., & Burns, D. (2011). Introduction. In M. D. Coyne, E. J. Kame’enui, & D. W. Carnine (Eds.) Effective teaching strategies that accommodate diverse learners (4th ed.) (pp. 723).
Witzel, B. S., Mercer, C. D., & Miller, M. D. (2003). Teaching algebra to students with learning difficulties: An investigation of an explicit instruction model. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 18, 121131.
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