Saturday, March 21, 2020

Rosenshine (1930 – 2017) 17 principles of effective instruction…

Barak Rosenshine was a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois. Most famous for his 10 principles of effective instruction, expanded to 17, he is admired for informing teaching with his methodical approach to instruction. Pedagogy means the science of teaching and he focuses on evidence-based practice to inform teachers of what they should do to get higher attainment from their students, with a defined method for good teaching
The original 10 principles evolved into 17 that emerged from his research. 
1.     Begin the lesson with a review of previous learning.
2.     Present new material in small steps.
3.     Ask a large number of questions (and to all students).
4.     Provide models and worked examples.
5.     Practise using the new material.
6.     Check for understanding frequently and correct errors.
7.     Obtain a high success rate.
8.     Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks.
9.     Independent practice.
10.  Monthly and weekly reviews.
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.     Limit the amount of material students receive at one time. 
4.     Give clear and detailed instructions and explanations. 
5.     Ask a large number of questions and check for understanding. 
6.     Provide a high level of active practice for all students. 
7.     Guide students as they begin to practice. 
8.     Think aloud and model steps. 
9.     Provide models of worked-out problems. 
10.  Ask students to explain what they have learned. 
11.  check the responses of all students. 
12.  Provide systematic feedback and corrections. 
13.  Use more time to provide explanations. 
14.  Provide many examples. 
15.  Reteach material when necessary. 
16.  Prepare students for independent practice. 
17.  Monitor students when they begin independent practice. 

Teacher behaviours

Rosenshine has proved popular with teachers as he is sensitive to the actual classroom environment, where teachers encourage, model and guide students towards independent learning. He has a focus on teacher-learner interactions that make his theoretical, evidence-based work seem both relevant and implementable. There are some general teacher behaviours that he has identified as increasing learner attainment:
1.     Clarity of exposition
2.     Enthusiasm
3.     Task orientation
4.     Varied approaches
5.     Opportunities to learn 
Rosenshine bridges research and practice, so that his recommendations are grounded in cognitive psychology. It is this focus on sensible teacher practice that has made his principles popular.


Confusion is caused by the presentation, sometimes as 10, sometimes 17, of the principles. Some regard these principles as rather obvious, adding little to what experienced teachers have been doing for years, others think it lacks sensitivity to specific subjects. But it is the emphasis on the teacher transmitting knowledge and prescriptive with explicit modelling and an emphasis on what some see as too prescriptive a list. It is seen by some as a rather crude checklist, luring teachers into a prescribed pattern that may miss lots of the detail in some of the steps. The danger is that it may be implemented too simply and mechanically. The system may be backed up by citated research but that research has been seen as somewhat dated and the system ‘as a whole’ has never been rigouously researched.


There has been a resurgence of interest in Rosenshine, as interest in evidence-based teaching has gained momentum. Teachers, who sometimes emerge from teacher training still unsure about how to actually teach have found his structure useful in practice and his principles have been popular in CPD and at evidence-based teaching conferences.


Rosenshine, B. and Stevens, R., 1986. Teaching functions. Handbook of research on teaching3, pp.376-391.
Rosenshine, B. and Stevens, R., 1986. Teaching functions. Handbook of research on teaching3, pp.376-391.
Rosenshine, B. and Furst, N., 1971. Research on teacher performance criteria. Research in teacher education, pp.37-72.
Rosenshine, B., 1983. Teaching functions in instructional programs. The elementary school Journal83(4), pp.335-351.
Rosenshine, B., 1971. Teaching behaviours and student achievement. National Foundation for Educational Research in England and Wales.

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