Explicit Instruction, like Direct Instruction, is very much a teacher-centred teaching style, and involves a high level of lesson structure. In comparison to Direct Instruction, Explicit Instruction is not a full program as much as a simple lesson structure that can be used to teach simple skills and processes.
The best summary of Explicit Instruction lesson structure I have come across is the “I Do, We Do, You Do” structure that is common in Queensland state schools, particularly in the North and North Queensland regions. The three phases in a lesson are
- I Do – the teacher demonstrates some specific skill or process (eg solving a trigonometric problem or writing a topic sentence)
- We Do – the class has an opportunity to tackle the skill, guided by the teacher.
- You Do – the students practice the skill or process themselves, with support from the teacher only when required.
There is no explicit interaction between students in Explicit Instruction, although there is no reason that this could not be introduced.
The I Do, We Do, You Do structure can be bookended by an introductory Lesson Goal/Aim and an end of lesson feedback process which helps the teacher understand how well the lesson has been learnt.
By their nature, Explicit and Direct Instruction techniques assume that all students are at the same level, or will be learning the same content/skill/process. There is little ownership of learning by the students, except for what is directly placed in front of them by the teacher, hence the description of these techniques as being teacher-centric learning.
It is possible, through the use of differentiation, to have students working on the same topic or idea, but at different levels of complexity.