EduResearch Matters April 29, 2024 by Jill Brown

Today, NSW teachers will spend  their professional learning session focused on explicit teaching, also known as explicit instruction. 

The NSW Education Department Secretary Murat Dizdar told the ABC: “On day one, term two, which is a school development day, right across 2,200 schools, we will be undertaking explicit teaching learning, in every single school in New South Wales.”

Excessive focus on explicit methods will have side effects and could lead to students not meeting curriculum expectations.

A pushback is critical – explicit teaching is not a magic bullet, nor should it be the single pedagogy in any classroom. Definitions of explicit teaching vary, as do its implementations. The approach to explicit teaching and its effectiveness will depend on the discipline and specific focus in question…

… Complex and nuanced

Teaching and learning is complex and nuanced. Thus, there is no one way for teachers to act in every classroom irrespective of school type (e.g., mainstream, special education), Year level (F-12 and beyond), discipline in focus (e.g., mathematics), time of year, and even time in a lesson sequence or unit of work.

Once ‘something’ is learned it can be challenging to consider how to best teach that ‘something’ to others. This is why teachers have discipline knowledge, pedagogical knowledge (both general and specific to each discipline they teach) and curricula knowledge. 

We should value teachers and their knowledge of teaching, initially developed in their University degrees, and developed further as they teach and engage in professional learning – especially that specific to the specific subject and year levels in focus.

 Learning is complex: Multiple pedagogical approaches are needed

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