If it works for struggling math students …

Explicit instruction in math — once the traditional way to teach — works for struggling and learning-disabled students. It would work for all students, argues Barry Garelick on Education News.

What Works Clearinghouse finds strong evidence that explicit instruction is an effective intervention, stating: “Instruction during the intervention should be explicit and systematic. This includes providing models of proficient problem solving, verbalization of thought processes, guided practice, corrective feedback, and frequent cumulative review.”.

Also, the final report of the President’s National Math Advisory Panel (pdf) states: “Explicit instruction with students who have mathematical difficulties has shown consistently positive effects on performance with word problems and computation.

Learning disability diagnoses increased for years until the advent of early intervention programs for high-risk students, Garelick writes. Now fewer students are being labeled as learning disabled. He believes effective interventions, such as explicit, systematic instruction, deserve some of the credit.


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  1. Well, it only worked for several millenia before the 1960′s and 1970′s… What a surprise that it still works now! I swear, educrats have literally no common sense…

  2. Obi-Wandreas says:

    I remember a former principal of mine being amused when I told her that I found professional development on explicit instruction to be insulting. For the entire history of human existence, “teaching” had one meaning. Then, suddenly, a bunch of hippy retreads told us to do everything backwards, and some people were gullible enough to believe them, and have spent years forcing us to do things bassackwards. Now, suddenly, somebody comes along and wants to take credit for reminding us of the right way to do things, and is probably making tons of money in the process?

    The disconnect between the buckets of cashing flowing into the district and the pittance left over for classroom purposes suddenly becomes less mysterious.

  3. superdestroyer says:

    What is amazing is that everyone understands that to be a good free throw shooters, one has to practice 1000′s of shots. To be a good musician, one has to practice 100′s of hours.

    But for some reason, people are have not become convinced that one can learn a math concept and how to apply it by doing one or two problems before one moves on.

    I guess since most of the educational establishment is horrible at STEM, they keep finding ways to not teach it.