The University of Iowa

Quality Instruction - Delivery of Instruction


Posted on: November 23, 2015

Last week we looked at increasing instructional quality through lesson design. We focused on using the components of explicit instruction to ensure students master the knowledge and skills necessary to become proficient readers. This week we will take a closer look at four big ideas that can help teachers to increase the quality of their instruction through delivery of instruction.

Elicit Frequent Responses

Teachers should plan to offer students multiple opportunities to think about and respond to questions that check their understanding. Including high levels of student-teacher interaction in lesson delivery keeps students actively involved and facilitates having them process new information and practice new skills.   It is important that all students are engaged in responding and experiencing high levels of success with their responses. Teachers can plan to include verbal, written, and action response opportunities.

Verbal Responses Written Responses

Action Responses

  • Choral responses
  • Partner responses (after think time)
  • Team responses (after consensus time)
  • Response slates or white boards
  • Writing frames
  • Response journal
  • Actions
  • Hand signals
  • Response Cards
  • “Clicker” technology

Carefully Monitor Responses

While students are responding, teachers should be monitoring students’ performance. When teachers are actively monitoring student responses, they are able to determine if students are mastering the content and make adjustments to instruction if students are not.

Provide Feedback

Teachers who are carefully monitoring student responses are able to provide immediate feedback. The feedback teachers provide should be specific enough to result in students giving the correct answer or adjusting their behavior to correctly apply a skill. In other words, it is not enough to simply tell a student, “Good job!” or “Why don’t you try that again.” Teachers need to indicate exactly what knowledge or skills a student demonstrated that contributed to a correct response or exactly what would need to change to increase the student’s success. For example, a teacher might say, “You did a nice job of using the syllable type to help you figure out how to read that new word. You knew that a closed syllable meant the vowel would make its short sound. Can you try using the syllable type to help you figure out how to read this word, too?” When teachers provide immediate and specific feedback, they reduce the likelihood of students practicing errors.

Maintain a Brisk Pace

In order to engage students, teachers should deliver content using a pace that is brisk enough to keep students on-task but not so fast as to prevent students from adequately processing material. Moving briskly through a lesson is possible when lessons are well planned and when teachers utilize instructional routines.

Instructional Routine for Introducing New Vocabulary

  1. Introduce the word
  2. Provide a student friendly definition 
  3. Illustrate the meaning with examples
  4. Check for student understanding

The instructional routine ensures teachers include appropriate information during vocabulary lessons. It also helps students know what to expect and how to connect the parts of a lesson.

Lesson quality and student learning are increased when teachers deliver lessons using the principles of explicit instruction. When teachers provide multiple opportunities for all students to respond, carefully monitor responses, and provide clear feedback, students are more likely to master the critical content necessary to become proficient readers.