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Welcome to the 50th post from the EdTechist! I’ve been researching and writing for this site for three years (later this month) and it’s been a complete blast! I’ve learned and put out so much, but still feel like I’m only getting started, technology keeps moving, so watch this space for what is still to come from the EdTechist!In this post we’re going to look at the Rosenshine Principles and how we can apply them in the digital classroom.

This past academic year has witnessed movement in my school – a change in leadership at both principal and vice-principal level has seen new ideas and adjustments to the direction of the school. Everything has been going well so far thankfully, and now steps are being taken to improve upon an already strong staff in the coming academic years.

One of the ‘new’ ideas that we have seen is the introduction of the Rosenshine Principles of Instruction. This has come on the wave of a large number of schools in the UK moving towards evidence-based instruction. Not just what works, but how do we know it works and how can we prove it works? To give credit where it is due, The Ni Education Authority has provided access to the Certificate in Evidence-Informed Practice course from the Chartered College of Teaching, which, ewhile not mentioning Rosenshine by name, would certainly be in the same arena of thought. Having now done a bit of my own research into Rosenshine, I can see that his reearch was trying to identify effective practices looked at the effectiveness of methods and approaches that were practised by the most successful teachers. Something that we can all agree on, that can only be a good thing for us, our pupils, parents and community.

His research was based on the following three sources:

  1. Research on scaffolds and cognitive supports, such as the use of instructional procedures and models, which enable students to grasp difficult tasks. This works within ICT under the concept of decomposition: breaking a problem into smaller parts to make it more manageable.
  2. Through direct observation to watch the ‘practices of master teachers.’ Those effective teachers whose students made the most educational progress as calculated by the attainment tests. These directed on characteristics such as how these teachers taught new information and made precise links to previous learning, how they monitored and examined the knowledge of their students, how they offered opportunities for practice and rehearsal, and the kinds of support used for scaffolding the knowledge retention and development of understanding.
  3. Research on Cognitive Science shows how our brains acquire and utilises new knowledge. This offers new insights of how to manage the limitations of students’ long-term memory when trying to learn new conceptual ideas.

What are the Rosenshine Principles?

The Rosenshine principles refer to a set of ten instructional principles developed by educational psychologist Barak Rosenshine. These principles are based on research studies that show how teachers can improve student learning and achievement. Here are the ten Rosenshine principles:

  1. Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning.
  2. Present new material in small steps with student practice after each step.
  3. Ask a large number of questions and check for understanding.
  4. Provide models and worked examples.
  5. Guide student practice.
  6. Check for student understanding with regular feedback.
  7. Provide opportunities for students to apply what they have learned.
  8. Require and monitor independent practice.
  9. Engage students in regular and systematic review of what they have learned.
  10. Enhance retention and transfer to new situations by integrating new learning into existing knowledge.

By following these principles, teachers can create effective and efficient instruction that helps students learn and retain new knowledge and skills. However, looking at them now in 2023, how do we apply these using digital tools? How do the Rosenshine Principles work in a digital setting? What tools exist to help us keep building on these effective practices when we are not in the classroom? I hop through the course of this post, you find out.

Let’s get to work.

1. Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning.

Rosenshine principles

Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction is a set of research-based teaching principles that can improve student learning outcomes. The first of these principles that we will look at is the Daily Review, which refers to the practice of reviewing previously learned material to reinforce knowledge and improve retention.

The Daily Review involves setting aside time each day for students to review material that they have learned in class. This can take various forms, such as reviewing notes, completing practice exercises, or participating in group discussions.

The purpose of the Daily Review is to help students consolidate their learning and move information from short-term memory to long-term memory. By regularly revisiting previously learned material, students can reinforce their understanding and identify any gaps in their knowledge.

To implement the Daily Review, teachers can allocate time in class for students to review material or assign review tasks as homework. Teachers can also provide guidance on effective review strategies, such as summarising key concepts or creating flashcards.

In a digital classroom, this can be implemented using a blog for reflective writing (for a critical reflection on what has been previously learned), an online quiz like Kahoot could also be used in the Daily Review for completing practice exercies or answering qestions on the last session.

Overall, the Daily Review is a powerful tool for enhancing student learning and should be incorporated into teaching practices wherever possible.

2. Presenting New Material in Small Steps

Rosenshine principles

Presenting new material in small steps is one of the key principles of Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. This principle emphasises the importance of breaking down complex information into smaller, more manageable chunks to enhance learning.

To implement this principle, teachers should first determine the key concepts or skills that they want students to learn. They should then divide the material into small, sequential steps that build upon one another. In Constructivism this is called chaining, but is essentially the same practice. Where it differs is that in Constructivism, there will be an emphasis on attaining a level of mastery over the learning content and being able to display this mastery

When presenting new material, teachers should introduce one step at a time and provide clear explanations and examples to help students understand each step. They should also provide opportunities for students to practice each step before moving on to the next one. This is achieved very easily in using video content to teach, or review

By breaking down new material into smaller steps, students are better able to process and understand the information. This approach also helps to prevent cognitive overload, where students become overwhelmed by too much information at once.

In addition, presenting new material in small steps allows teachers to assess student understanding and adjust their teaching accordingly. If students are struggling with a particular step, teachers can provide additional support or revisit earlier steps to reinforce learning. This works particularly well with video content – if a student is struggling with a particular step or concept, then video content allows them to review the material at their own speed and work at the step in question until they have achieved understanding.

Overall, presenting new material in small steps is an effective teaching strategy that can enhance student learning and understanding.

3. Asking Questions

Rosenshine principles

Asking questions is third key principle of the Rosenshine Principles of Instruction. This principle emphasises the importance of asking questions to check for student understanding and promote active engagement in the learning process.

When asking questions, teachers should aim to ask open-ended questions that require students to think critically and provide thoughtful responses. Questions should be tailored to the level of the students and should be designed to challenge and extend their thinking.

There are several benefits to asking questions in the classroom. First, it encourages students to actively engage in the learning process and take ownership of their learning. It also allows teachers to assess student understanding and identify any areas where additional support may be needed.

In addition, asking questions can help to reinforce learning and promote the transfer of knowledge to new situations. When students are asked to apply what they have learned to new contexts, they are better able to develop a deep understanding of the material.

To implement this principle, teachers should incorporate questioning into their teaching practices on a regular basis. They should also provide opportunities for students to ask questions and engage in discussion, which can help to promote a collaborative learning environment. In a digital setting, this could be implemented using a quiz on an LMS platform like Moodle or Canvas. The crucial part here would be to be able to identify the specific areas that a student is demonstrating difficulty in understanding, so that further work in that area could be planned.

Overall, asking questions is a powerful teaching strategy that can enhance student learning and promote active engagement in the classroom.

4. Presenting Models

Rosenshine principles

Presenting models is the next of the principles of the Rosenshine Principles of Instruction. This principle emphasises the importance of providing students with clear and structured models that illustrate how to approach complex tasks or problems.

When presenting models, teachers should first identify the key features or steps involved in the task or problem. They should then provide a clear and structured example that demonstrates how to approach the task or problem using these features or steps.

Models can take various forms, such as visual representations, written examples, or demonstrations. The key is to provide students with a clear and structured model that they can use as a guide when working on similar tasks or problems.

There are several benefits to presenting models in the classroom. First, it provides students with a clear understanding of what is expected of them and how to approach the task or problem. This can help to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of confidence in their abilities.

In addition, presenting models can help to promote deeper understanding and transfer of knowledge. When students are able to see how a concept or skill can be applied in different contexts, they are better able to develop a deep understanding of the material and apply it to new situations.

To implement this principle, teachers should incorporate models into their teaching practices on a regular basis. They should also provide opportunities for students to create their own models or modify existing models, which can help to promote deeper understanding and ownership of the learning process. For many teachers, presenting models works very well within specific subject areas:

  • Maths: any formula/equation/problem that involves multiple steps. Presenting and explaining each step will help students understand the entire proces.
  • ICT/Digital Technology: I use this in every lesson. From Spreadsheet formulas, Database queries, to Python programming, I can take students step-by-step through the procedure and explain what is needed at each step and show them where each element can be located.
  • Music: instructing pupils on a piece of music can be presented a section at a time. Building this up gradually will strengthen a pupils ability to play the entire piece of music.
  • Design & Technology: this works for a health and safety aspect also, but by demonstrating each step of a project, pupils can see what they need to do, plan the action and follow through safely, while following the steps as presented by the teacher.

Overall, presenting models is a powerful teaching strategy that can enhance student learning and promote deeper understanding of complex tasks or problems.

5. Guided Student Practice

Rosenshine principles

Guided student practice is the next of the key principles of the Rosenshine Principles of Instruction. This principle emphasises the importance of providing students with guided practice opportunities to reinforce learning and develop skills.

When providing guided practice, teachers should first model the desired behaviour or skill, breaking it down into small, manageable steps. They should then provide opportunities for students to practice the skill, providing feedback and guidance as needed.

Guided practice should be structured and scaffolded to gradually increase in complexity and challenge. This allows students to build upon their existing knowledge and skills, and to develop a sense of mastery and confidence.

There are several benefits to guided student practice in the classroom. First, it provides students with structured opportunities to practice and reinforce their learning. This can help to enhance retention and promote deeper understanding of the material.

In addition, guided practice can help to build student confidence and motivation. When students are able to successfully complete guided practice tasks, they are more likely to feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue learning. When students can see what the final destination looks like, they can see the steps involved and know how to get from start to finish, then learning can be managed sccessfully.

To implement this principle, teachers should incorporate guided practice opportunities into their teaching practices on a regular basis. They should also provide opportunities for students to work collaboratively and receive feedback from their peers, which can help to promote a sense of community and shared learning. Working on tasks using Google Docs, Office 365 can all incorporate collaborative group skills.

Overall, guided student practice is a powerful teaching strategy that can enhance student learning and promote the development of key skills and knowledge.

6. Checks for Student Understanding

Rosenshine principles

Checks for student understanding is the next of the key principles of Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. This principle emphasises the importance of regularly checking for student understanding to assess learning progress and adjust instruction accordingly.

When checking for student understanding, teachers should use a variety of strategies to assess learning progress. This can include asking questions, administering quizzes or tests, providing opportunities for self-reflection and self-assessment, and using formative assessment techniques.

Checks for student understanding should be ongoing and integrated into the learning process. This allows teachers to adjust their instruction in real-time to meet the needs of their students and to ensure that all students are able to achieve their learning goals.

There are several benefits to checks for student understanding in the classroom. First, it allows teachers to assess student learning progress and identify any areas where additional support may be needed. This can help to promote a sense of accountability and responsibility among students and can motivate them to work harder to achieve their learning goals.

In addition, checks for student understanding can help to promote a deeper understanding of the material. When students are provided with regular opportunities to reflect on their learning and assess their progress, they are better able to identify areas of strength and weakness and to develop strategies for improvement.

To implement this principle, teachers should incorporate checks for student understanding into their teaching practices on a regular basis. They should also provide opportunities for students to reflect on their learning and to receive feedback from their peers, which can help to promote a sense of community and shared learning.

Overall, checks for student understanding is a powerful teaching strategy that can enhance student learning and promote the development of key skills and knowledge.

7. Achieving an Elevated Success Rate

Rosenshine principles

Achieving an elevated success rate is the next of the key principles of Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. This principle emphasises the importance of providing students with frequent opportunities for success and minimising the likelihood of failure.

When striving to achieve an elevated success rate, teachers should provide students with tasks that are challenging but achievable, ensuring that students have the necessary background knowledge and skills to succeed. They should also provide clear instructions and feedback, and adjust their instruction as needed to ensure that all students are able to achieve success.

In addition, teachers should provide opportunities for students to practice and reinforce their learning in a supportive and positive environment. This can include incorporating peer collaboration and feedback, providing opportunities for self-reflection and self-assessment, and celebrating student successes.

There are several benefits to achieving an elevated success rate in the classroom. First, it helps to promote student motivation and engagement. When students feel that they are capable of achieving success, they are more likely to be motivated to work harder and to engage more deeply with the material.

In addition, achieving an elevated success rate can help to promote deeper learning and transfer of knowledge. When students are able to successfully apply their learning to new situations and tasks, they are better able to develop a deep understanding of the material and to transfer their knowledge to real-world settings.

To implement this principle, teachers should focus on creating a positive and supportive learning environment that emphasises student success. They should also provide opportunities for students to receive feedback and support, and adjust their instruction as needed to ensure that all students are able to achieve success.

Overall, achieving an elevated success rate is a powerful teaching strategy that can enhance student learning and promote the development of key skills and knowledge.

8. Providing scaffolds for difficult lessons

Rosenshine principles

Providing scaffolds for difficult lessons is the next of the key principles of Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction, that we will look at. This principle emphasises the importance of providing students with support and guidance to help them successfully navigate complex or challenging material.

When providing scaffolds for difficult lessons, teachers should use a variety of strategies to help students build upon their existing knowledge and skills. This can include breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, providing visual aids and graphic organisers, and offering opportunities for collaboration and peer support.

In addition, teachers should provide opportunities for guided practice and feedback, allowing students to build their skills and confidence in a supportive and structured environment.

There are several benefits to providing scaffolds for difficult lessons in the classroom. First, it helps to promote student confidence and motivation. When students are provided with support and guidance, they are more likely to feel capable of successfully completing challenging tasks.

In addition, providing scaffolds for difficult lessons can help to promote deeper learning and understanding of the material. When students are able to successfully navigate complex tasks, they are better able to develop a deep understanding of the material and to apply their learning to new situations and tasks.

To implement this principle, teachers should focus on creating a supportive and structured learning environment that emphasises student success. They should also provide opportunities for collaboration and peer support, and adjust their instruction as needed to ensure that all students are able to successfully navigate complex material.

Overall, providing scaffolds for difficult lessons is a powerful teaching strategy that can enhance student learning and promote the development of key skills and knowledge.

9. Independent Practice

Rosenshine principles

Independent practice is the penultimate key principle of the Rosenshine Principles of Instruction, that we are looking at. This principle emphasises the importance of providing students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning independently.

When implementing independent practice, teachers should provide students with clear instructions and expectations, as well as any necessary materials or resources. They should also provide opportunities for students to receive feedback and support as they work independently.

In addition, teachers should provide opportunities for students to reflect on their learning and to self-assess their progress. This can include opportunities for self-reflection and self-evaluation, as well as opportunities for peer collaboration and feedback.

There are several benefits to providing independent practice in the classroom. First, it helps to promote student mastery of key skills and knowledge. When students are given opportunities to practice and apply their learning independently, they are better able to develop a deep understanding of the material and to transfer their knowledge to new situations and tasks.

In addition, independent practice can help to promote student motivation and engagement. When students are given opportunities to work independently, they are more likely to take ownership of their learning and to be motivated to work hard and to succeed.

To implement this principle, teachers should focus on creating a supportive and structured learning environment that emphasizes student autonomy and success. They should provide opportunities for students to work independently, while also providing support and feedback as needed. They should also encourage students to reflect on their learning and to set goals for future growth and improvement.

Overall, independent practice is a powerful teaching strategy that can enhance student learning and promote the development of key skills and knowledge.

10. Weekly & Monthly Review

Rosenshine principles

Weekly and monthly reviews are the last principle we are to look at and this is a key component of the Rosenshine Principles of Instruction. This principle emphasises the importance of reviewing and consolidating learning on a regular basis to promote deeper understanding and retention of information.

Weekly and monthly reviews involve revisiting previously learned material on a regular basis to reinforce key concepts and promote long-term retention. During these reviews, teachers may use a variety of strategies to help students consolidate their learning, including quizzes, games, and other interactive activities.

In addition, teachers may use weekly and monthly reviews as an opportunity to identify areas where students may be struggling and to adjust their instruction as needed to address these challenges. For example, if a particular concept or skill is consistently difficult for students, the teacher may adjust their instruction to provide additional support and guidance in this area.

There are several benefits to implementing weekly and monthly reviews in the classroom. First, regular reviews help to promote long-term retention of key concepts and skills. By revisiting previously learned material on a regular basis, students are better able to consolidate their learning and to retain key information over time.

In addition, weekly and monthly reviews can help to promote student motivation and engagement by providing opportunities for students to see their progress and to celebrate their successes.

To implement this principle, teachers should focus on creating a structured and supportive learning environment that emphasises the importance of regular review and consolidation of learning. They should provide opportunities for interactive and engaging review activities, and adjust their instruction as needed to address areas where students may be struggling.

Overall, weekly and monthly reviews are a powerful teaching strategy that can help to promote deep learning, long-term retention of information, and student engagement and motivation.

Final Thoughts

The Rosenshine principles strengthens and creates a consistency in your ability to ensure pupil learning in the classroom. When viewed over an academic year, the performance of your classes will increase and develop in their ability so much.

When we embed this within our use of technology, there are new heights to which we can reach. YouTube, Kahoot!, Mentimeter, OneNote and Office 365 can all be used with the Rosenshine principles to ensure and enhance pupil learning in new and engaging ways for pupils with a little technological imagination.

In a digital classroom, the Rosenshine principles can be applied by providing clear instructions, breaking down new material into small steps, using modeling and guided practice, asking questions, providing feedback, and providing independent practice opportunities. It is important to use technology effectively to support learning and engagement, such as through interactive digital tools, multimedia resources, and online discussions. Teachers should also schedule regular reviews to reinforce learning and adjust instruction as needed. Additionally, it is important to provide scaffolding and support for difficult lessons and to check for student understanding regularly. By following these principles, a digital classroom can effectively support student learning and success.

To implement these principles, teachers should use a variety of instructional strategies and technology tools to create engaging and interactive learning experiences for students. They should also establish clear expectations and guidelines for online learning, and provide regular opportunities for feedback and support. By applying the Rosenshine principles, teachers can create a structured and supportive learning environment that promotes student success and achievement.

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