Educators educating Educators

Jan 19

Effective Teaching Principles


10 Effective Teaching Principles

These 10 principles are empirically supported as effective teaching principles and have been derived from research on behavioral, cognitive, social-learning, and other theories.

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Pattan, King of Prussia, PA  October 27, 2009

Ellis, E.S., Worthington, L.A. & Larkin, M.J. (January 13, 1994). Research Synthesis on Effective Teaching Principles and the Design of Quality Tools for Educator, Technical Report. Effective Teaching Principles.



1. Engagement Time

Students learn more when they are actively engaged in instructional tasks.

Selected strategies:


~Choral responding

~Response cards (yes, no, why)

~Reciprocal teaching


2. Success Rate

Students experience high and moderate success rates, which are correlated positively with student learning outcomes.

Selected strategies:

~Feedback ~Pacing

~Skill sequencing


3. Content Coverage/Opportunities to Learn

Increased opportunity to learn content is correlated positively with increased student achievement.

Selected strategies:

~Identifying essential content

~ Beginning and ending lessons on time

~Reducing transition time


4. Grouping for Instruction

Students achieve more in classes where they spend most of their time being directly taught by a teacher. The manner in which teachers deliver instruction (i.e., in large/small groups or individually) is an important instructional principle that directly impacts student achievement.

Classroom instruction should include:

~Whole Group Instruction

~Individual Instruction

~ Small Group Instruction

~ Flexible Grouping


5. Scaffolded Instruction

Students become independent, self-regulated learners through instruction that is deliberately and carefully scaffolded. Teachers provide support and structure, then systematically remove guidance and increase student competence.

Selected strategies:

~ Guided Notes

~Graphic Organizers

~ Verbal Prompting

~Physical Prompting


6. Addressing Forms of Knowledge

The critical forms of knowledge must be addressed in order for students to become independent, self-regulated learners.

They include:

~ Declarative – factual information

~ Procedural – how to use the knowledge in specific ways

~ Conditional ~ knowing when and where to apply the knowledge


7. Activating and Organizing Knowledge

Learning is increased when teaching is presented in a manner that assists students in organizing, storing, and retrieving information.

Selected strategies:

~ Graphic/Content Organizers

~ Mnemonics


8. Teaching Strategically

Strategic instruction is designed to teach students how to apply techniques, principles, or rules in order to solve problems and complete tasks successfully and independently and will help students to become more independent, self-regulated learners.

Selected strategies:

~ Ten-Two

~ Physical Prompting

~ Card Sort

~ KWL Chart

~ Graphic Organizers

~ Mnemonics


9. Making Instruction Explicit

Explicit instruction includes:

~ Controlled Instruction and Practice

~ Independent Practice

~ Demonstrate/Model

~ Instructional Level match

~ Guided Practice

~ Opportunities for maintenance and generalization


10. Teaching Sameness in the Curriculum

Teaching sameness is linking a single concept with main ideas and providing students with numerous examples to promote generalizations. By teaching sameness both within and across subjects, teachers promote the ability of students to access knowledge in any problem-solving situation.

Selected strategies:

~ Thematic units across subject areas

~ Scavenger hunts

~ Teach to generalization and/or transfer

~ Inspiration software-concept webs, graphic organizers


“If we can control the attention of the child, we solve the problems of education.” Maria Montessori

This month Ed Tip will examine how to improve students' learning by activating their attention.