The International Bureau of Education has now published a booklet about the most effective methods of teaching. Produced by the International Academy of Education, it presents research-based principles of teaching (or instruction). These principles come from three sources: (a) research on how the brain acquires and uses new information; (b) research on the classroom practices of those teachers whose students show the highest attainment; and (c) findings from studies related to students’ learning strategies. Suggestions for classroom practice are also included.

Even though this booklet is based on research carried out primarily in economically advanced countries, it focuses on aspects of language learning and instruction that are universal. Therefore, the suggested practices are likely to be generally applicable throughout the world.

I’ve provided a hyperlink to the full publication below. Here is a brief overview of the principles, which I have re-worked slightly (and not an exhaustive list – I can think of other things that should be listed here). Most of them are (to my reckoning) logical and common sense. They’ll be recognised by most teachers but it’s good to see them listed as evidenced based research. The publication contains more detail on each of them.

  •   Principles of effective teaching:
    • Begin each lesson with a re-cap of previous learning;
    • Present each section in small chunks and allow for consolidation of learning following each input;
    • Limit the amount of lesson material handed to pupils – this needs to be ‘de-chunked’;
    • Gives clear and detailed instructions – make sure that everyone understands what your expectations are;
    • Ask (and invite) questions to check understanding;
    • Provide a significant amount of practice to reinforce learning;
    • Provide guidance, support and advice;
    • Think out loud and model concepts into context appropriate to the learner;
    • Provide solution based models;
    • Ask pupils to explain what they have learned;
    • Check feedback from all pupils;
    • ALWAYS provide feedback on progress and learning;
    • Use time efficiently to provide examples;
    • Re-teach parts of the lesson if needed;
    • Prepare pupils for assessments and further practice;
    • Monitor and track the progress of all pupils.

Download The Principles of Instruction (.pdf 210 KB)


Posted by Lee Dunn

Academic Staff University of Glasgow and Author of Science Fiction


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Julia Skinner, Lee Dunn. Lee Dunn said: Effective Methods of Teaching: […]

  2. Very useful post. Thank You for taking the time to share your view with us.

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