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


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’ and ‘Focus Area 1.2 Understand how students learn’ in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Why explicit instruction works

Understanding the science behind learning and memory can help teachers understand why explicit instruction is so effective. Explicit instruction is a very efficient strategy for helping students learn because it suits how the brain processes, stores, and retrieves information.

Explicit instruction is effective across a variety of contexts 

To understand whether explicit instruction is effective across different contexts, AERO conducted a review of more than 328 studies. The review found that explicit instruction is an effective teaching practice across a variety of contexts and for different subgroups of students. Studies conducted across various locations suggest that explicit instruction: 

  • has a positive impact on student achievement in mathematics, reading, spelling, problem solving and science  
  • works for primary and secondary students
  • benefits students with and without additional learning needs. 

Because of this, explicit instruction is likely to work in most contexts.  


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

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.

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. 

Example of practice

Use this example of practice to think about how to apply explicit instruction in your own context.

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.

Explicit instruction rubric

A rubric outlining a set of capabilities to do with explicit instruction, designed to help you or your team break down the practice into steps.

Implementation checklist

Practical steps you can take to support the use of explicit instruction in your setting.

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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