The purpose of explicit teacher modeling is to provide students with a clear, multi-sensory model of a skill or concept. The teacher is the person best equipped to provide such a model.

What do it look like in Implementation?
  • Teacher both describes and models the skill/concept.
  • Teacher clearly describes features of the concept or steps in performing a skill.
  • Teacher breaks concept/skill into learnable parts.
  • Teacher describes/models using multi-sensory techniques.
  • Teacher engages students in learning through demonstrating enthusiasm, through maintaining a lively pace, through periodically questioning students, and through checking for student understanding.

What are the critical elements of this strategy?

There are eight essential components of explicit instruction:
  1. Concept/skill is broken down into critical features/elements.
  2. Teacher clearly describes concept/skill.
  3. Teacher clearly models concept/skill.
  4. Multi-sensory instruction (visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic)
  5. Teacher thinks aloud as she/he models.
  6. Teacher models examples and non-examples.
  7. Cueing
  8. High levels of teacher-student interaction

How to implement the strategy:
  • Ensure that your students have the prerequisite skills to perform the skill.
  • Break down the skill into logical and learnable parts (Ask yourself, "what do I do and what do I think as I perform the skill?").
  • Provide a meaningful context for the skill (e.g. word or story problem suited to the age & interests of your students).
  • Provide visual, auditory, kinesthetic (movement), and tactile means for illustrating important aspects of the concept/skill (e.g. visually display word problem and equation, orally cue students by varying vocal intonations, point, circle, highlight computation signs or important information in story problems).
  • "Think aloud" as you perform each step of the skill (i.e. say aloud what you are thinking as you problem-solve).
  • Link each step of the problem solving process (e.g. restate what you did in the previous step, what you are going to do in the next step, and why the next step is important to the previous step).
  • Periodically check student understanding with questions, remodeling steps when there is confusion.
  • Maintain a lively pace while being conscious of student information processing difficulties (e.g. need additional time to process questions).
  • Model a concept/skill at least three times before beginning to scaffold your instruction.

How Does This Instructional Strategy Positively Impact Students Who Have Learning Problems?
  • Teacher as model makes the concept/skill clear and learnable.
  • High level of teacher support and direction enables student to make meaningful cognitive connections.
  • Provides students who have attention problems, processing problems, memory retrieval problems, & metacognitive difficulties an accessible "learning map".
  • Links between subskills are directly made, making confusion and misunderstanding less likely.
  • Multi-sensory cueing provides students multiple modes to process and thereby learn information.

*Adapted from Explicit Teacher Modeling by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (n.d)

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