Effective Instruction

Staff development network

Dr Mark Dowley February 26th, 2024 · 2min read

The evidence

The evidence in this article is a summary of a paper entitled ‘Investigating the intensity and integration of active learning and lecture.’ Essentially, it tested three different approaches to instruction. Pure Lecture blocked (Lecture and Activity) and interspersed (Lecture/Activity/Lecture/Activity).

After the instruction the researchers measured participant learning on three scales – Verbatum, Inference and Composite. The results are below.

Essentially, it shows that presenting material in small steps and checking for understanding after each step is the more effective approach to instruction.

I first saw this article in Ollie Lovell’s threads email. Read the full article here.

What you can do

  • Ask teachers to plan checks for understanding into their lessons.
  • The younger the student, the more often you need to check for understanding.
  • Direct instruction has over 15 checks for understanding per minute. You read that right, per minute!
  • Prioritising checking for understanding focuses on what the students have learned, rather than what the teacher has presented.
  • For Year 7s aim to check for understanding every two minutes, for Year 12s aim to check at least once every 5-10minutes.


Happy coaching,


Would you like to receive these newsletters to your inbox?
Subscribe to the Staff Development Network.

Do you want to be part of our Staff Development Network?

Sign up to receive our newsletter