When should we provide guidance to students?

Filling the pail

Regular readers will know that I often link to a paper by Kirschner, Sweller and Clark to support my argument for explicit instruction. It’s a great paper but it is sometimes dismissed by critics due to its name, ‘Why minimal guidance doesn’t work.’ It turns out that nobody will own the concept of ‘minimal guidance’. They don’t recognise it in their own approach which they always insist contains loads of guidance.

This is a shame because the argument in the paper actually sets out the need for full guidance by providing worked examples or other forms of explicit instruction. Perhaps this is why, when theyrewrote their article for an audience of teachers, the authors discussed the case for ‘fully guided’ instruction.

Many teachers and academics are against full guidance and so the argument applies to their methods. For instance, a form of mathematics instruction known as ‘Cognitively…

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