This module reviews the latest research about effective instruction as a basis for encouraging educators to reach consensus around their shared understanding of what constitutes high-quality instructional practice.

This module includes research and information around the following topics:

  • What is effective instruction?
  • Ways to determine which instructional practices are effective with students.
  • The emerging trends in the area of effective instruction.
  • How to plan and design engaging lessons and units.
  • How to identify effective teaching strategies.
  • Classroom practices that support opportunities to learn for all students.

The content in this module is intended to align closely with the content of the OLAC modules on Curriculum and Assessment because of the need for the educator to realize the interrelationships of the three areas of practice—Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction.

This module aligns with the following areas in Ohio’s Leadership Development Framework:

  • Area 1: Data and the Decision-Making Process
  • Area 3: Instruction and the Learning Process

Discussion Questions

  1. As a district leadership team (DLT) or building leadership team (BLT), review the Foundational Concept on Learning Theories that is included in the module. Discuss the four theories of learning described in the module and identify which, if any, resonate most with team members. What differences among team members exist? How might these differences influence how instruction is planned and delivered in your district/school?

  2. As a DLT or BLT, discuss team member beliefs about what constitutes effective instruction. What percentage of students need to be engaged for the team to believe that the instruction team members plan and deliver is effective? Must every student demonstrate learning for team members to believe the instruction they delivered was effective? In what ways do underlying beliefs and differences in beliefs among team members affect the planning and delivery of instruction as well as team members' individual and collective learning?

  3. What does high-quality instruction look like in your district/school? Engage your DLT, BLT, and teacher-based teams (TBTs) in discussion focused on teaching as a form of ethical practice. To which type (e.g., rule-based, utilitarian, etc.) of ethics does your team adhere in planning and delivering instruction? How do team members' beliefs about the relationship between ethics and instruction influence how instruction is planned and delivered in your school/district?

  4. On a scale of 1 to 5 (with "1" being "not at all" to "5" being "to a high degree"), to what degree do BLTs and TBTs in your district/school use the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) as a framework for determining the effectiveness of the instructional strategies that are used by the educators on the team? If team members use the OIP framework as it is intended to be used (i.e., to support inquiry and collective learning), what areas can be strengthened in order to more systematically gauge the effectiveness and impact of the strategies being used? If team members do not use the OIP framework as intended (e.g., they see it as a mandatory compliance activity), what can be done to help team members use the framework to improve the quality of instruction provided across the district/school? What assistance might be needed to support teams in this process?


Introductory Activities

  1. Distinguishing Between Instructional Strategies and Learning Strategies

    As a district leadership team (DLT) or building leadership team (BLT), review module content on the difference between instructional strategies and learning strategies. How might a common understanding of instructional and learning strategies facilitate the delivery of instruction in ways that support deeper learning, increase engagement of all students, and allow all students to demonstrate learning. Develop a process for helping BLT and TBT members understand such differences and more effectively apply this understanding to team planning and classroom practice.

  2. Ensuring Opportunity to Learn for All Students

    As a DLT or BLT, review the module content on the relationship between instructional practices and opportunity to learn. Gauge your district/school's use of practices that support opportunities to learn and practices that inhibit or reduce opportunities to learn for students. Identify two short-term and one long-term action your district/school can take to modify the use of practices so that opportunities to learn are provided for every student.

Advanced Activities

  1. Analyzing the Alignment Between Content and Teaching Strategies

    As a district leadership team (DLT) or building leadership team (BLT), identify one important instructional aim each in two or more content areas. Then identify some typical ways that teachers in the district or building address that aim, focusing on (1) their communication efforts that lead to comprehension and (2) the opportunities they provide for practice (e.g., used to foster mastery, retention, and transfer). Looking at the list of the strategies that the teachers in your school or district typically use, consider the following questions: (a) To what degree do instructional strategies that focus on comprehension and practice differ by content area? (b) To what degree are the strategies typically used across schools and classrooms known by members of the district and/or building leadership team? (c) To what degree is the effectiveness of the strategies measured? (d) How do the DLT and the BLTs review data on the effectiveness of the instructional strategies that teachers are typically using? (e) What actions should be taken by district and building leadership teams to improve the effectiveness of the instruction being provided across the school and district?

  2. Determining What Works

    As a DLT or BLT, review module content on what works generally and consider the three sources described in the module: research syntheses (including meta-analytic studies), controlled experiments (aka randomized controlled trials or RCTs), and studies from the field of cognitive neuroscience. Consider the ways in which your district, and the schools within your district, determine "what works." Identify two or three concrete actions your DLT or BLT can take in using the OIP framework to make informed decisions about which instructional strategies should be used and how the effectiveness of such strategies should be evaluated; how the team will follow through in implementing these identified actions (include time lines); how the team will evaluate the effectiveness of these actions; the results of that evaluation (cite your evidence); and whether these actions should be continued, refined, or replaced.

You can earn credit and contact hours for modules, webinars, and podcasts completed on the OLAC site.

For more information, visit the Credit Corner. If you’re seeking credit for the Gifted Education Professional Development Course or the Culturally Responsive Practices Program courses, you can find that information on the course overview pages.