Pedagogy Market Research | Review #3


Principles of Instruction
By Barak Rosenshine

Professor, Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois

Research-Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know

Review Summary by Diya Jaishankar
Grade X Student, Market Research Intern, Adaptive Instruction

Diya Jaishankar is a tenth grade student in Bangalore. She is curious and observant and enjoys playing the piano, watching crime shows, solving puzzles and chatting with her friends.

This is a summary of a research paper written by Emeritus professor of Educational Psychology, Barak Rosenshine at UIUC. The article presents ten Principles of Instruction that have been collected from three separate fields of research. These are Research in Cognitive Science which frees up space in the working memory for effective learning, Research on Master Teachers which studies the difference in methods of instruction, student achievement and activities adopted by more effective and less effective teachers and finally Research on Cognitive Supports in which teachers use scaffolding techniques.

On further study of each principle, the researchers found the practices and techniques used by teachers in the study of 4th Grade Math students increase their students’ achievement with the more effective teachers having 82% students achieve accurate answers while the less effective teachers had just 73% students achieve the same.

The ten principles are as follows

  1. Daily review (8 mins) of previously taught topics to minimize effort in recalling them while learning newer material.
  2. Teach topics progressively in small steps using examples and techniques such as modelling and scaffolding to prevent re-explanation of topics to students individually
  3. Focus on asking questions to all students involving the student’s explanation of the problem-solving procedure and questions posed by them to fellow students in order to strengthen comprehension
  4. Provide worked examples where students are given a mixture of different types of problems with worked examples and partially worked problems for independent practice after which feedback is given, to master each step of solving the problem
  5. Emphasize on guiding student practice with feedback from teachers including asking students questions that require recall of past knowledge for remembrance in the long-term which prevents storage of incorrect knowledge and ameliorating students’ working during independent practice
  6. Examine student understanding by asking specific questions, asking students to explain answers to prevent storage of wrong information in long-term memory
  7. Higher success rate during guided practice fosters higher success rate during independent practice
    For this, background knowledge must be rehearsed to prevent incorrect construction of mental summary of the topic, and Mastery learning – tutoring students by teachers/other students to master a specific area of a subject–should be encouraged
  8. Use cognitive apprenticeship
    Provide students with models and scaffolds for tough tasks which should be gradually removed as they become comfortable with the problems. Teachers should also inform students of likely errors and compare their work with an expert’s and help them organise the study material
  9. Plenty of independent practice by students with tracking by teachers
    This promotes overlearning which reduces strain on working memory by increasing fluency in basic topics and provides cooperative learning allowing all students to attain same level of understanding
  10. Provide frequent review and practice of the study material
    Weekly review and monthly review promotes development of patterns and connections between various related subjects, thus reducing pressure on working memory and bettering the overall performance of students

The fact that the inferences drawn from all three distinct fields of research complemented and supplemented each other, amplified the validity of these principles.

Link to the published paper: Principles of Instruction