Years ago, if I had been asked the question “Are you teaching or just telling?”, I would have been insulted. Of course I was teaching! Or was I?
I have done a lot of self-reflection on my own instruction, and one thing I have worked really hard at is making my teaching as.explicit.as.possible. It has made all the difference.
I now listen for comments like these from my students:
“Oh, I get it now.”
“You made that seem so easy.”
“Now it makes sense.”
“Nobody ever explained it like that to me before.”
When I hear statements like these, I know students are telling me that I was explicit in my teaching–that I broke big concepts down into step-by-step, doable strategies.
I’ve gotten pretty good at it, actually. I want you to be really good at it, too!
It doesn’t matter what curriculum you are using, what subject you are teaching, or how old your students are. Every lesson can be made stickier by making it more explicit.
Want to know my secret? Here’s a little roundup of some previous blogposts where I show you exactly what I have learned about explicit teaching and how to get really good at it. Enjoy!
- Telling Isn’t Teaching
- Skills vs. Strategies
- How Long Does It Take for a Strategy to Give Way to a Skill?
- Breaking Skills into Strategies
One more thing: Did you know that being explicit in your teaching can improve not only your teaching life but also your home life? In the blogpost Skills vs. Strategies I share a personal story about how understanding the difference between skills and strategies dramatically changed the bedtime struggle when my son was about 6 years old! I’m telling you, this works for EVERYTHING!