Explicit instruction refers to an instructional practice where the teacher provides a clearly stated learning objective and follows a specific instructional sequence designed to achieve that objective. It includes four phases: explanation and modeling of a strategy; guided practice; independent practice; and practical application of the strategy. Throughout the explicit instruction sequence the teacher provides students with guidance and structured support.
Explicit teaching begins with the teacher establishing the purpose for learning by providing a clear explanation of what the strategy is and when and why this strategy should be used. During this phase the teacher also models how to perform the strategy. This involves the teacher thinking out loud while reading or when demonstrating the strategy for students. In the next phase, guided practice, the teacher and students practice the strategy together. During this time, the teacher gives feedback and provides students with opportunities to work with a partner and engage in small group or class discussions. Students practice the strategy until independence is attained. Finally, students are given opportunities to apply the strategy while reading real texts.
Explicit instruction moves systematically from extensive teacher support and minimal student responsibility for learning initially, to complete student responsibility and minimal teacher involvement.
Effectiveness of Explicit Instruction
Explicit instruction is effective for several reasons. First, it provides students with a clear and direct purpose for learning. They understand what they will learn and why this knowledge is important. To this end, students are engaged, active participants in the learning process. They have opportunities throughout the lesson to self-monitor and direct their own learning and participation. Students understand that the goal of instruction is independence in real reading and learning situations. Explicit instruction is also effective because it begins with teacher assessment of students’ learning needs. The teacher constantly monitors students’ understanding and application of the strategy and adjusts instruction accordingly.