Teaching strategy: Explicit teaching


Explicit teaching is teaching! There are a lot of myths and misconceptions associated with this term but at its core explicit instruction is about teaching the material to the students. As such, explicit teaching serves as an umbrella term that includes many different strategies. Explicit teaching is sometimes called the “I do. We do. You do” model and should not be confused with Explicit Direct Instruction, which are scripted lessons for teachers to follow.

An explicit teaching lesson may look like this:

  • the learning intention and the success criteria are made clear to the students
  • previous material is reviewed
  • “I do” – new material is explicitly taught and the teacher works through examples, annotating and talking through their thinking as they go, asking students question to check for understanding
  • “We do” – the teacher, together with the students, work through more, similar, examples. With each example the level of teacher input is reduced (gradual release)
  • “You do” – the students are set similar problems to solve, and the teacher moves around and prompting and giving feedback to the students
  • the lesson closes with a review of the material taught

The teacher:

  • Reviews previous material to assess knowledge retention and level of skills
  • Constructs lessons according to students’ existing knowledge and skills – uses pre-tests, questioning and formative assessment to find what the students already know
  • Makes the goal of the lesson clear
  • Presents the information in small steps using worked examples
  • Uses guided practice with a lot of questioning and immediate feedback to ensure the concept/skill has been understood/developed
  • Reteach if necessary (can be to a small group of students)
  • Slowly increases independent problem-solving as students become more proficient – may start with group or paired work, then independent work – can differentiate through grouping/pairing and the level of problem given
  • Review at the end of the lesson
  • Continue to review material at spaced intervals to ensure knowledge/skills go in to long term memory

The students:

  • Know the intention/purpose of the lesson
  • Have time to master the skill/acquire the knowledge before move on to a new area
  • Receive feedback from teacher to adjust as they go
  • Complete many examples that gradually build skills/knowledge
  • Know when they have achieved the lesson goal – feel success

Example of the strategy in action:

In this Illustration of Practice resource from AITSL a teacher demonstrates how they use the “Id, we do, you do” model and feedback to ensure that all students’ needs are met and that they reach their learning goals.


Download a PDF version of the Explicit Teaching teaching strategy.