Skip to main content

Inclusive Instructional Practice

This Foundational Concept can be found in the following module pages:

The instructional practices that teachers use have a strong, direct influence on students’ learning (Ball & Forzani, 2009; Hattie, 2009; Rowan, Correnti, & Miller, 2002). A wide range of practices have positive effects (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001), but not all of them work well with all students or in all contexts (Meyer, Rose, & Gordon, 2014; Tomlinson, 2017). When teachers understand how to use a variety of effective instructional practices as well as how to assess their impact, a district’s capacity expands.

Expertise with inclusive instructional practices involves the ability to make use of practices that give each student access to the knowledge and skills in the general education curriculum (Frattura & Capper, 2007; Tomlinson, 2017). Three types of practices shape effective instruction: practices relating to planning instruction, practices relating to delivering instruction, and practices relating to assessing instruction. To be effective each set of practices needs to address several important criteria.

  • Effective planning of instruction involves careful translation of academic standards, attention to the different ways that students learn, selection of high-quality resources, and support for a positive learning environment. Bringing together all the educators with relevant expertise allows teams to “co-plan” to serve every student (Frattura & Capper, 2007).
  • Effective delivery of instruction takes place through a repertoire of practices that help students integrate new knowledge and skills into an evolving framework of competence and meaning. Among other practices, this repertoire includes practices for setting the stage, activating prior knowledge, providing clear explanations, demonstrating new concepts and skills, promoting engagement, fostering discussion, guiding practice, and offering precise feedback (Astleitner, 2005; Hattie, 2009).
  • Effective assessment of instruction focuses simultaneously on improving student learning and improving instructional effectiveness (e.g., Black & Wiliam, 2006; Maughan, Teeman, & Wilson, 2012). It involves the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data about adults’ implementation of practices as well as about students’ emerging competence. In both cases, assessment is effective only as a support for wise decision-making. Student learning benefits when educators use assessment information to improve how they teach.