Instruction: Teacher Chat - Rachel Johnson
Rachel: I think one of the most important things teachers need to know about explicit instruction is it may seem very unapproachable at first, but just to try it. That it is a very straight forward model it gives you a purpose and a focus in your teaching it gives the students a focus on what they need to be learning and directs their learning to whatever focus you've set up for them for that lesson and it really helps to improve your teaching to where it takes out all the extra fluff and the other things that kind of sneak in on our lessons as teachers and really directs the student's learning and gives you a more bang for your buck that the students get more out of your lessons when you teach explicitly.
Rachel: Definitely did not just take over night, it's definitely a process. It is easy to learn however to become good and it takes practice, as with anything else, you just can't do it all at once. So for me being able to just take one piece at a time and try and work on one piece at a time until I got to where I felt comfortable with that and then add another piece and then you just slowly just build upon it as with anything else, it just takes practice.
Rachel: I used to teach in a very linear fashion where you would just teach it and hope that they got it and just move on. With explicit instruction it's more of a cyclical cycle that you teach it, you model it and you give the kids a chance to practice it in a group as well as on their own and if they don't get it you don't just move on, you go back and you do it over and over and over again until they get it. So it's no longer ‘Oh I hope they got it' and just move on. It provides more accountability to allow the teachers to help them to gain those skills and those strategies that they need. I like explicit instruction because it's so easy to follow and it just makes sense.
Rachel: It keeps you on track. A lot of times as teachers, especially when students start asking questions or you know ‘well my family did this,' you get off track a lot of times and with explicit instruction you have one focus, you have one goal and you follow that goal all the way through so that your lessons are more focused and the students are able to get more out of the lessons and to learn more from them because they are more focused that the kids don't have to go through and ‘well I think this part's important and I think that part's important' it's got a more narrow focus so that it's easier for them to actually gain the skills and understand what they need to do to become better readers.
Rachel: It wasn't really hard to learn, it's an easy model to follow and it makes sense. You tell the kids why they're learning it, you give them a purpose and you explain how to use it and you model it for them, you let them practice it with you, you let them do it on their own and you try and sum it up at the end and bring it back to the focus of why they're using it. It's just; it's a logical sequence that's easy to use.
Rachel: Yes with explicit instruction I have much higher expectations with my students because I know that I've provided that instruction, I know that through my observations of their use of the strategies whether or not they've understood it. If not we go back and repeat that process all over again until they do understand how to use that strategy and I have higher expectations and I know they can do it.
Rachel: I think now that I'm using explicit instruction my students are able to use the vocabulary on their own they understand the strategies before I was using explicit instruction I never used the terms with the students I was very, oh what's the word, (laugh) I was very vague with my instructions a lot of times and with that my teaching that I just hoped the students understood what they needed to learn I would model it for them and just kina hope they got it on their own. With explicit instruction I've noticed that my students now are able to apply those strategies so much better and they apply them on their own and I often not have to prompt my students to use those strategies, they're used to it and they understand it so much better with explicit instruction that they're able to use it on their own.