The Elements of Effective Instruction framework outlines five intertwined elements of instructional practice that complement and enhance one another. When integrated into learning experiences, these elements foster student engagement with the ultimate goal of improving student outcomes and achievement. The framework is grounded in the understanding that students are more interested and invested in their learning when they feel safe in their learning environment, understand what they are learning and why it matters, have opportunities to practice, receive clear feedback on their work, and engage in complex, meaningful thinking.

The tool below supports educators to design and facilitate learning experiences that reflect the five elements of effective instruction and incorporate the corresponding key traits. While applying the key traits is critical, a demonstrated commitment to each element’s supporting beliefs is a necessary foundation for fostering student ownership of learning and ensuring equitable outcomes for all students.

Explore the Elements


The learning environment supports all students to take risks, ask questions, and make and learn from mistakes. The physical space, routines and procedures, and development of positive relationships create a physically, socially, and emotionally safe environment.

Supporting Beliefs
Key Traits
Physical Space and Routines
Relationships and Culture
Clear, Shared Outcomes

The learning outcomes are shared and internalized by teachers and students. These outcomes anchor and guide the choices of instructional activities, materials, practice assignments, and assessment tasks. Outcomes are understood and used by students to set goals, guide learning, and prompt self-reflection.

Supporting Beliefs
Key Traits
Varied Content, Materials, & Methods of Instruction

Students explore ideas and information in varied ways and access learning through multiple entry points. Teachers select content and materials to engage and meet the needs of all learners.

Supporting Beliefs
Key Traits
Practice & Feedback

Students have opportunities to practice what they are learning and are given timely, specific feedback based on their current performance in relation to the desired outcomes.

Supporting Beliefs
Key Traits
Complex Thinking & Transfer

Students are coached and taught to engage in higher order thinking through instructional activities and practice tasks. Curriculum, instruction and assessments are designed to prompt complex thinking, integration of concepts and ideas, and application of learned skills to new material or novel situations.

Supporting Beliefs
Key Traits


For additional references that support the key features of each element of effective instruction, please click the links below.

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