Bite off More than you can Chew

teaching strategies

There are many teaching strategies impacting on student learning. Not all strategies suits every learning situation. Here is one strategy that is about biting off more than you can chew - and then keep on chewing.

Teaching strategies of explicit instruction

  • will have you keep on chewing. It is a simple process but has applications in every teaching situation.

For relief teaching it is an excellent teaching strategy because it build success in a short amount of time.

Teaching strategies and explicit instruction?

Explicit instruction is a systematic teaching and learning model that promotes student familiarity yet support differentiated instruction. This is, arguably, explicit instruction greatest strength.

Routine in a classroom makes teaching more efficient. Learner’s familiarity with the system, the language and the pattern of teaching enables them to connect with the teacher. When teaching strategies become predictable, learners use the cues to understand what comes next.

Teaching Strategies of Explicit Instruction

Explicit instruction essentially has 3 distinct phases.

Phase 1 - Orientation Phase.

Teachers build on prior experience and understanding, enabling learners to build relationships between what is new and what is known. Teaching strategies ensure learners have a clear understanding of the goals to be achieved and the criteria for success.

These must be expressed as clear, concise statements.

  • For example – “Today we are going to practice writing simple sentences and then combine them into a single well written sentence.”

Once the goals are clear, it is important for learners to review the skills previously taught. Activating prior knowledge enables students to organise their knowledge into a new construct.

Phase 2 - Engagement Phase.

The strategies here are targeted towards developing independent learners using differentiated instruction.

Stage One.

Teachers model the new skills, providing step by step instructions.

  • For example; I have a dog. He is black. – I have a black dog.
  • Progress the teaching demonstration to include more sentences.
  • For example. The monkey was in the tree. The monkey had a long tail. It was screeching
    • The screeching long-tailed monkey was in the tree.
    • The long-tailed monkey was screeching in the tree.
    • Screeching in the tree was a long-tailed monkey.

Teaching strategies are geared towards demonstrating the processes and knowledge.

Stage Two.

Allow the students to practice and apply the new skills. The teacher’s role is to guide and support and gradually reduces the scaffolding for students as they progress towards independence.

The language patterns moves from

  • telling
  • reminding
  • asking.

Stage Three.

Students start to develop independence. Teaching strategies used include remediation and corrective strategies during this differentiated instruction stage.

The teacher monitors student activity and provides differentiated instruction.

During this stage, some students will either require extension, minimum intervention or extensive remediation.

This model of differentiated instruction is essential to student success.

Feedback Phase

Teaching strategies in this phase are designed to help students organise the skills, concepts or understanding into their knowledge construct. The teacher provides corrective procedures for any misunderstandings or misconceptions.

It is important during this phase to restate the learning goal and provide the criteria for success.

For example: “When writing your next story, I want you to stop and rework the sentences that can be combined into more expressive sentences.


The teaching strategies used during the explicit teaching model are all aimed at developing student competence and independence.

Explicit instruction is

  • skill based, but students are active participants in the learning process,
  • holistic. For example, teachers can use explicit instruction to teach anything,
  • a method of integrating smaller learning units into meaningful wholes (and vice versa),
  • a method of keeping students cognitively engaged.

Explicit instruction is not

  • a drill and skill technique,
  • a strategy for teaching isolated facts,
  • a rote-learning strategy.

The strength of this model is that students, who are continually exposed to these teaching strategies, are able to understand the role of teaching to their learning. This connectedness makes explicit instruction one of the most successfully strategies to implement.