What do Clear Instructions look like in the classroom?
Essential Teaching Skills
This time, we’ll take a look at what this essential teaching skill really looks like in the classroom.
"Speaking is easy, communicating is a miracle," Caleb Gattegno
Now, let’s take a look at how these steps play out in the classroom by observing a teacher in action....
- The teacher shows the information gaps and asks students if each paper has the same or different information (the latter).
- The teacher tells the class that they will work together to complete it.
- The teacher writes a set of simple steps on the board:
|Giving visuals supports students|
- Take paper
- Find partner
- Decide A or B
- Ask questions
- Write down responses
- For the macro-view, connect the seven steps to clear instructions to the steps the teacher took (see below for possible responses).
- For the micro-view, examine each of the seven steps to clear instructions by asking yourself the following questions:
- Were the steps digestible enough?
- What about the steps made them digestible?
- How many different ways was the activity explained?
- What kind of language do you think the teacher used to explain it?
- What’s the benefit of writing out the instructions?
- What role does brevity play?
- What’s the benefit of showing students what an activity looks like first?
- When might you choose to not do this step?
- How does this step benefit the students?
- How does this step benefit the teacher?
|What are we supposed to do?|
- How does the student to student model help us assess their readiness?
- How might other students benefit from seeing it done by two of their peers?
- How does this step-by-step process help repair misunderstandings?
- If the students seemed confused, what might the teacher do?
Communicating, as Gattegno said, is much harder than speaking. Consciously considering how to make our instructions clear before we give them is a definite way to set ourselves up for success. After all, what sense are instructions if they aren't clear?
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