Notes from various articles, books and videos concerning Rosenshine’s principles of instruction.

In Search of the real Rosenshine

In an article in the 4th September 2020 of the Times Educational Supplement, Jessica Powell, raises concerns about the widespread adoption of Rosenshine’s principles as another misunderstood, one-size-fits-all, quick-fix by schools. She finds out, for instance, that Rosenshine didn’t consider that the principles had a “finality” as well as he was forced to reduce his list of 17 principles to 10 purely to fit the design decisions of a pamphlet series. She also questions the ideological implications of the “drill and practice” approach to teaching.

Rosenshine (and Stevens’) six fundamental instructional “functions”

Teaching Functions is a 1986 paper by Barack Rosenshine and Robert Stevens that presents six “functions” (in sequence) of direct instruction. The authors’ model is based on the work of other educationalists and the “functions” are surprisingly similar to those of Gagne’s “components of instruction” (1970), Good and Grouws’ “key instructional behaviours” (1979) and Hunter’s “Lesson Design” (1981). Rosenshine subsequently developed these “functions” into 17 principles.

Rosenshine’s Principles in Action by Tom Sherrington (2019)

Tom Sherrington presents Rosenshine’s principles in a straightforward and coherent way. The two most useful aspects of this book are the way in which Sherrington organises the 10 principles into 4 strands (though he rightly emphasises that the principles overlap) and that they are not a checklist for lesson observations. He insists that each school subject should consider how the principles apply rather than being confined by their imposition.

Rosenshine’s Principles in Practice by Tom Sherrington (2019)

Don’t be fooled by the different cover and title. This is the same book as Rosenshine’s Principles in Action without a reprint of Rosenshine’s text at the back. It appears to be the American version. (I wish I knew this before I ordered it!)

Rosenshine’s Principles in Action Workbook by Clare Grimes (2019)