Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mastering Explicit Instruction - Part 4

By Dr. Deni Basaraba, RME Assessment Coordinator

We have come to an end on our series on explicit instruction (Please see our previous posts for more information!). Van de Walle (2013) characterizes explicit instruction as highly-structured, teacher-led instruction on a specific strategy. He explains how this approach can help uncover or make overt the thinking strategies that support mathematical problem solving for students with disabilities.
Here are our final thoughts on the elements necessary to carry out explicit instruction in the classroom.

Monitoring the performance of all students closely to verify students’ mastery of the content and help determine whether adjustments to instruction need to be made in response to student errors. Closely monitoring student performance can also help you determine which students are confident enough in their knowledge of the content to respond when signaled and which students are cueing off their peers by waiting for others to respond first.
Providing specific and immediate affirmative and corrective feedback as quickly as possible after the students’ response to help ensure high rates of success and reduce the likelihood of practicing errors. Feedback should be specific to the response students provided and briefly descriptive so that students can use the information provided in the feedback to further inform their learning (e.g., “Yes, we can use the written numeral 2 to show that we have two pencils”).
Delivering instruction at a “perky” pace to optimize instructional time, the amount of content that can be presented, the number of opportunities students have to practice the skill or strategy, and student engagement and on-task behavior. The pacing of content delivery should be sufficiently brisk to keep students engaged while simultaneously providing a reasonable amount of “think-time,” particularly when students are learning new material.
Providing distributed and cumulative practice opportunities to ensure that students have multiple opportunities to practice skills over time. Cumulative practice provides an opportunity to include practice opportunities that address both previously and newly learned content, skills, and strategies, facilitating the integration of newly learned knowledge and skills with previously learned knowledge and skills and supporting retention and fostering automaticity.

Thanks for joining us on our journey with explicit instruction! Please feel free to leave comments below with your thoughts or questions!
    Baker, S. K., Gersten, R., & Lee, D. (2002). A synthesis of empirical research on teaching mathematics to low-achieving students. The Elementary School Journal, 103, 51-73.

    Carnine, D. W. (1997). Instructional design in mathematics for students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 30, 130-141.

    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, 48-57.

    Van De Walle, J.A., Karp, K.S., & Bay-Williams, J.M. (2013). Elementary and middle school mathematics: Teaching developmentally, 8th edition. Boston: Pearson.

    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, 121-131.

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