Australia’s national education evidence body
Clearly explaining and effectively demonstrating what students need to learn

Overview

Explicit instruction involves breaking down what students need to learn into smaller learning outcomes and modelling each step so that students can see what is expected of them. Providing explicit instruction limits the mental effort for students allowing them to process new information more effectively.

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Explicit instruction is related to Focus Area 3.3: Use teaching strategies in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Research

Explicit instruction has a strong evidence base that meets our highest standards of evidence. For more information about the evidence base, see below.

Two A4 paper sheets with the AERO explicit instruction tried and tested practice guide

Tried and Tested practice guide

This guide describes a set of teaching practices that have been found to improve student achievement by making instruction explicit.
 Two A4 paper sheets with a list of references from an AERO research paper

Annotated reference list

An overview of the research evidence cited throughout our explicit instruction resources.

Using the practice

To be effective, explicit instruction needs to be implemented well. See below for more information on the ‘things to know’ when using the practice.

Planning for explicit instruction

Archer and Hughes (2011) provide a useful planning guide with their 6 teaching functions of explicit instruction. By cycling through this planning process, you can deliberately embed explicit instruction in your lesson processes.

To plan explicit instruction activities and supports as referenced by Archer and Hughes, it may also be helpful to work backwards from where you want your students to be at the end of the learning session to see how you can slowly remove scaffolds and supports to enable student mastery.

Using modelling

Snapshots of practice

Explicit instruction may look different in different contexts. See below examples of explicit instruction in a variety of classrooms and settings. 

Two A4 paper sheets with the AERO explicit instruction teacher vignette

Teaching vignette

Short stories from practitioners about how they use an evidence-based practice in their classroom.
Video thumbnail for Explicit instruction at Loxton Primary School

Explicit instruction at Loxton Primary School

See how the Year 1 teachers at Loxton Primary School use explicit instruction in their classroom. 

Implementation tools

Here you will find tools to help you implement explicit instruction in your classroom or setting.

Two A4 paper sheets with the AERO explicit instruction implementation checklist

Implementation checklist

Practical steps you can take to support the use of explicit instruction in your setting.
A group of 5 adults sitting and standing in front of a computer screen in discussion

Free high-quality curriculum resources

AERO has partnered with Ochre Education to provide Australian teachers free access to hundreds of high-quality curriculum resources to help drive excellence and equity in educational outcomes.

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