What are High-Impact Teaching Practices?

At the heart of highly effective instruction is the skillful use of specific practices that increase our students’ likelihood of processing and understanding information, concepts and strategies. The guided practice and strategic feedback of a professional coach is key to learning these practices and knowing how to apply them in different contexts. Listed below are high-impact teaching practices that are fundamental to student learning:

1.  Maintaining a duel agenda of teaching process and product:

  • Unpacking strategies for explicit instruction
  • Making content explicit
  • Modeling and supporting metacognitive behavior
  • Teaching thinking aligned with the Common Core

2.  Using student/teacher transactions that support learning:

  • Engaging students in relationship-building conversations
  • Non-directive coaching to build competence, confidence, and self-direction
  • Providing feedback that is specific, understandable and usable
  • Mediating learning at the point of use
  • Asking questions and giving answers that foster higher-order thinking
  • Responding to questions and answers strategically
  • Asking strategic and purpose-driven questions
  • Understanding students’ thinking and common patterns of thought
  • Facilitating and supporting the acquisition of information and resources
  • Conferencing to reflect ideas and shape the way forward when students are working independently

3.  Selecting ways to organize for instruction:

  • Workshop approach
  • Direct instruction
  • Scaffolded instruction and the gradual release of control
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Project-based learning
  • Discussion groups
  • Setting up and managing small group work

4.  Teaching lessons skillfully:

  • Modeling actions and modeling thinking
  • Leading a whole group discussion
  • Establishing norms of discourse
  • Teaching a segment of instruction towards a specific learning goal
  • Building concepts
  • Appraising, choosing and modifying tasks and texts for specific learning goals
  • Selecting and using methods to check understanding and monitor student learning
  • Assessing learning goals

5.  Using brain-based instruction:

  • Focusing students’ attention on what they will be learning and why it is useful to them
  • Making connections with students’ prior knowledge
  • Teaching the use of visual representations and mapping
  • Using visual and manipulative materials to build concepts
  • Providing personal processing time for consolidation of new information
  • Allowing for verbal interaction and joint problem solving
  • Providing feedback-driven learning