Teaching New Skills

Teaching New Skills
December 1, 2006

George A. Clowes

George Clowes is a Heartland senior fellow addressing education policy. He served as founding... (read full bio)

After reviewing additional research studies on teacher performance and the mechanisms of student learning, Barak Rosenshine and Robert Stevens in 1986 developed a six-function teaching model to describe the necessary sequence of instructional steps that are involved in having a student learn new skills.

The principles apply equally well to classroom instruction and tutoring, and they are part of a growing movement toward direct instruction techniques, which studies consistently show to be superior to "experiential" instruction. Rosenshine and Stevens recommend the following approach:

1. Daily Review: Review prerequisite skills.

2. Presentation: Start with a brief statement of goals; introduce new material rapidly, but in small steps; demonstrate, illustrate, and provide concrete examples.

3. Guided Practice: Guide student practice initially; obtain response and check for understanding; achieve a high level of active practice.

4. Correctives and Feedback: Elicit specific responses; monitor and give specific advice.

5. Independent Practice (Seatwork): Practice until responses are firm, quick, and automatic.

6. Weekly and Monthly Reviews: Systematic review of previously learned material.

-- George Clowes


For more information ...

"What Characterizes an Effective Teacher? An exclusive interview with Barak Rosenshine," by George Clowes, School Reform News, May 2002, http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=9231

"Study: Student-Centered Learning Ineffective," by George Clowes, School Reform News, July 2001, http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=9903

George A. Clowes

George Clowes is a Heartland senior fellow addressing education policy. He served as founding... (read full bio)