Educators educating Educators

Sep 26

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


Welcome back to another school year. I hope your summer was relaxing and invigorating and you are looking forward to the approaching school year and the opportunity to stimulate and challenge your students’ minds.

This summer I was able to study Sir Ken Robinson, a British author, speaker and international advisor on education to governments, non-profits, and education organizations

I, like many people, find his writings and Ted Talks not only witty and inspiring but also thought-provoking and challenging. Much of his work deals with the diversity of intelligence, the power of imagination and creativity, and the importance of commitment to our own capabilities. He posits that the noticeable lack of them in our schools negatively affect students’ learning and teachers’ productivity and the absence of them is triggered by the demands of standardized testing.

I hope you find Sir Ken Robinson’s words inspiriting and challenging as I do and be mindful of them as you plan for the new year. Here is to a great 2017-2018 school year!