This document provides a suggested outline for facilitating a group session where teachers can use the explicit instruction in science video to reflect on their own practice. It could also provide guidance for activities for self-directed reflection.

Cover of explicit instruction in science group facilitation guide

This resource was created by Ochre Education in partnership with AERO. 

The activities in the resource aim to:

  • build knowledge of explicit instruction and of AERO’s guidance in this area
  • assist in developing teaching strategies involving explicit instruction
  • encourage teachers to embed explicit instruction in their practice

Australian Professional Standards

This resource is related to ‘Focus Area 6.2 Engage in professional learning and improve practice’. 

This resource is related to ‘Professional Practice 2 Developing self and others’ in the Australian Professional Standards for Principals.

Facilitator preparation

The following is an example checklist to help you prepare for the session.

Review the materials

  • Watch the Explicit instruction in science video. Note down any key points that would be valuable for your team and any aspects that need clarification.

Plan the session

  • Make sure to give your team sufficient notice about the session so they have time to do the pre-work.
  • Consider how the session can specifically assist your school and your students.
  • Think about what you want participants to be able to do as a result of this session. For instance, be able to identify opportunities for breaking down content, or sequence a commonly taught concept based on explicit instruction principles. 

Consider how change will be promoted in your school

  • How might teachers of different age groups discuss and decide on ways of breaking down content?
  • How can we ensure chunking is approached consistently between teachers?

Prepare to facilitate

  • Read through this resource and highlight the key elements and the questions you plan to ask.
  • ‘Road-test’ the session with one of your colleagues to clarify any aspects of explicit instruction that you are unsure about and to make sure you are confident with each step.

'Explicit instruction in science' video

In this video, Darcie Clarke explains how she uses explicit instruction in her science lessons.

Attendee preparation

The following is an example checklist of pre-session work to set participants before they attend.

  • Read AERO’s explicit instruction practice guide.
  • Identify a lesson in which you have broken complex skills or knowledge into smaller instructional tasks, and how you planned and taught that sequence of learning.
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Explicit instruction session agenda

The following outlines a possible agenda for a 45 minute group session.

Information about how to do an Acknowledgement of Country can be found on the Reconciliation Australia website. 

Review key aspects of AERO’s Explicit instruction Tried and Tested guide with a focus on breaking down content

  • Learning should be broken into small, manageable tasks to reduce cognitive overload.
  • Sequencing is important - the tasks need to build on students’ existing knowledge and represent a suitable level of challenge.
  • Assess student mastery as you go to make sure foundational skills and knowledge has been mastered before trying to build upon it in later parts of the sequence.

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Think about your own teaching practice

  • How do you use explicit instruction in your practice now?

Focus on strengths

  • What do you think we do well?
  • What aspects of explicit instruction are you not so sure about?
  • Are there parts of it that you use less in your current instruction?

Think, pair, share

In this video, Darcie Clarke explains how she uses explicit instruction in her science lessons.

  • What is something that you learnt from watching this teacher discuss breaking ideas into manageable chunks?
  • Was there anything in the video that you found surprising?
  • How important do you think planning and preparing this chunking in advance is?
  • How can we check that students have understood each of the elements you are teaching prior to moving on?    

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What additional support would help you to break down and sequence instructional tasks?

Post-session review

This could be in the form of another meeting, online session, peer coaching session or some other format agreed by the group.

  • Share and review the practice activities each team member shared with the team, if they are happy for this to happen.
  • Reconvene the team after several weeks to review key aspects of explicit instruction (with a focus on breaking down content) and to share experiences. Questions to ask could include:
    • What changes to practice have been relatively simple?
    • What parts have been challenging for you?
    • How can the school assist you to implement explicit instruction in your classroom?

Meeting reflection

It is important for you to reflect on the session and the progress of your team. The following questions can help you think about the outcomes and next steps for improving the quality and consistency of explicit instruction practice.

  • Were there differences in expertise between members of the group?
  • Are there members of the team who you felt left the meeting still a little unsure of what effective practice looks like? What could you do to follow up and provide support?
  • What are the aspects of breaking down content that require further learning?
  • What parts of the session worked well for the group?
  • What aspects were less successful?