The Well-Crafted, Well-Taught Lesson gets even better! So what’s new?
Explicit Direct Instruction: The Power of the Well-Crafted, Well-Taught Lesson was published in 2009, and since then authors John Hollingsworth and Dr. Silvia Ybarra have forged a path through the Common Core State Standards, visited hundreds more classrooms, and fine-tuned their EDI strategies. Now they are ready to share their new insights with the world!
When they started brainstorming ideas for the second edition of their best-selling book, Hollingsworth and Ybarra came up with an extensive list of new content they were excited to share with their readers. One topic they wanted to expand on was the delivery of effective feedback during the Checking for Understanding (CFU) process.
Effective feedback has always been part of the CFU process in Explicit Direct Instruction – if you recall it’s the E in TAPPLE. Formerly, Hollingsworth and Ybarra instructed teachers to either 1) echo a correct answer, 2) elaborate on a partial answer, or 3) explain if the answer was incorrect. Now in the second edition, Hollingsworth and Ybarra have expanded on this strategy and are giving more specific examples of common student responses, and how to provide effective feedback for each response.
Responding to Student Answers
The first type of answer is the easiest to respond to – when the student has the correct answer and is able to justify it. This is the ideal response and indicates that the student understands what is being taught. One way the teacher can enhance the response at this level includes asking the student to use an academic sentence frame such as: “The perimeter of the polygon is _________ because________.” Another tool that can be used here to improve engagement and excitement in the classroom is to ask students to give the speaker an air high-five or two claps for a correct response. This strategy tends to make the other students pay closer attention to the speaker because they are waiting to see if they can clap.
The second type of student answer is when the student has the correct answer but is unable to explain how he or she arrived at the answer. At this point, it is okay to provide the student with cues or hints to remind them how they achieved the correct answer. If that doesn’t work, tell the student to listen carefully to the next student’s answer and then you will come back to her. After a correct response, return to the first student and allow them to answer again.
The third type of student answer is when the student has the incorrect answer. In this scenario, it is important to determine if the student just made a simple sub-skill error in calculation, or if he did not conceptually understand the question. One way to find this out is to de-escalate, or bring down, the level of the question. Try rephrasing the question as a multiple choice question and see if the student is able to select the correct answer. This should indicate to you whether the student understands the concept or not. If the student continues to struggle, it may be necessary to come back to them after another student is able to explain the correct answer.
The fourth type of student answer is when multiple students have the incorrect answer and continue to have the incorrect answer after de-escalation. This is a good indicator that the students did not learn what was just taught. But don’t take this as a failure on the teacher’s part; the fact that the teacher was able to identify this problem in real time is a success in its own right! We don’t have to wait until the chapter or unit test to find out that the students did not understand something. We can go back and reteach it right away!
In this new book, Hollingsworth and Ybarra will explain that providing effective feedback is a very difficult skill to master. “In the hundreds of classrooms that we have observed, it is not unusual to see teachers who either answer their own questions or substitute in the correct answer if students have faltered,” Ybarra said. “But to provide effective feedback means to be able to help students figure out the correct answer for themselves, and to determine the student’s misconceptions.”