A teachers perspective – the value of explicit instruction
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a teacher. All through my schooling years, I admired my teachers. I would copy and mimic their behaviours. I would sit at their feet and listen intently to every word they spoke. I would follow every instruction to a tee. It is one of my greatest achievements to have become an educator. Through Adventist Education, I have truly been blessed to reach a community of children to help grow and flourish.
Since beginning my journey at Macarthur Adventist College in 2015 I have witnessed such a monumental shift in educational practices across the school. In my first year of teaching, the school began its Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) journey. EDI is based on the approach that our baseline of success is viewed at a minimum of 80% of students reaching at least 80%. It uses the rule of 3, the repetition of concepts at least 3 times is the best way to achieve success. Being part of the Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan (LNAP) ensured that our school approaches learning with a focus on the direct and explicit teaching of skills and concepts with a gradual release method.
As a new teacher, I relished every opportunity to engage in professional development and implement explicit instruction in the classroom. As the program continued, I could feel the attitude in the classroom rise. The students were so engaged in all their work and on task at a much higher rate. This was not only a classroom observation but something that was visible across the entire school. Teacher confidence increased greatly, and the atmosphere had a buzz about it. Most importantly, the achievement of the students in my class was so much more evident.
Explicit instruction entails many different elements. Engagement strategies are a simple component of EDI that is easy to implement in every single lesson. The use of mini whiteboards for all literacy and numeracy classes allows for instant assessment and feedback. Choral reading involves every student in every single opportunity to read as well as hear modelled reading. It also is an additional way in which students are able to remember key details. Gestures has been the most effective tool in my teacher toolbox. Adding actions or movements to key terms or definitions has really improved my student’s ability to retain them. I often see them practicing on the playground and my teacher heart just sings with happiness.
EDI has undoubtably shaped the way I teach and my perspective of successful teaching. As explicit teaching as evolve in our school, we have seen students’ abilities soar as through progress each year. I am looking forward too many more years of developing students skills and confidence through the world of explicit direct instruction.