MDIRSS Ten Elements for Effective Learning and Teaching

The Ten Elements of Effective Learning and Teaching are all correlated in the research with improving teaching and student learning. If all ten are being leveraged, you will be able to support many more students to success. 

Look at the Ten Elements. Where are your strengths as a teacher? Where are your areas of challenge? What can you share with others? Where do you need to learn more?
Element 1 CONTENT
Demonstrates content knowledge
  • Shows understanding of the relevant content 
  • Uses the structure of the content to guide teaching and learning 
  • Communicates content in age-appropriate ways

Shows empathy and commitment
  • Establishes culture of respect 
  • Promotes a culture of fairness
  • Builds positive relationships
  • Shows commitment to student wellbeing
  • Fosters/reinforces positive interactions
  • Teaches/supports students to practice social-emotional skills

Invites ideas and promotes discussion
  • Meets with individual students and small groups to understand thinking and provide feedback
  • Asks follow-up and probing questions and encourages reflection
  • Actively facilitates peer-to-peer comments and response (not just teacher-student)
  • Validates different points of view and approaches to solving problems

Inspires curiosity and interest
  • Uses a wide range of well-chosen effective instructional strategies 
  • Uses questions, materials, technology and groupings to foster student learning
  • Involves students in active thinking, discussion, and use of the ideas/skills being taught
  • Responds to students’ interests and encourages students to make connections

Establishes purpose for learning and cultivates understanding
  • Establishes a clear sense of purpose for each learning activity – students know what they are doing and why
  • Uses appropriate language and examples when presenting content
  • Uses probing and follow-up questions to ensure understanding of the task at hand or the content being learned
  • Articulates expectations and provides differentiated instruction and scaffolding as needed to support success for all students

Fosters innovative thinking, problem-solving and expression
  • Encourages brainstorming and creative out-of-the-box thinking
  • Promotes use of movement and the arts, including to learn academic content
  • Creates purposeful opportunities for students to choose how to demonstrate learning
  • Supports opportunities for students to create and/or explore new content/solutions

Integrates ideas and checks for understanding
  • Checks in frequently to assess understanding during learning 
  • Expects students to make and share connections to life and other learning 
  • Asks students to summarize and reflect upon what they have learned verbally/in writing 
  • Asks students how they would apply what they have learned in a different context (real-life situations, future opportunities, “what if…”)

Presses for rigor, persistence and excellence
  • Communicates and reinforces high expectations
  • Teaches and then integrates complex reasoning skills into all units of study
  • Provides models/exemplars and ongoing, specific feedback
  • Promotes growth mindset
  • Asks higher order questions to facilitate engagement with learning

Sustains order, respect and focus
  • Consistently reinforces high standards for behavior
  • Teaches routines and has students maintain them
  • Addresses most discipline issues before they become a problem 
  • Exhibits confidence as a facilitator of learning

Uses specific high impact instructional practices
  • Drawn from the research on effective instruction including the Tripod’s 7 Cs Effective Teaching Framework, the results of the Methods of Effective Teaching (MET) Project, the research of Robert Marzano and his colleagues, John Hattie’s research on visible learning, and the Marshall Teacher Evaluation Rubrics. 
  • Robust, align with brain research, show high effect sizes and/or are associated with boosts in student achievement across content areas and grade levels. 
  • Teacher moves: What teachers can do to effectively facilitate student learning. If teachers reliably and frequently chose to implement several of these strategies in conjunction with one another, students would greatly benefit as learners.
  • 10.A High Impact Design Strategies

These strategies are valuable to use with students across content areas to maximize learning. Think about when and how you can incorporate these into your instruction. How often are you doing the following?

These strategies help you scaffold, extend and deepen learning and should be incorporated into instruction frequently and actively coached as makes sense. The more students practice these, the more self-directed they can be as learners!