A guest post by Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, co-author, with Bryan Goodwin, of the influential book, The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day, and the forthcoming Instructional Models: How to Choose One and How to Use One.


I have had the greatest pleasure working in schools and school districts around the world as they worked tirelessly to help their students succeed. One of the most common aspects of my work was helping schools during their transition to a new instructional model—a tool that can lead to consistently excellent instruction by explaining why successful teaching practices work and how to emulate them. I often came in after the model was chosen and was there to lead training, observation, and implementation efforts. On occasion, I had the good fortune to work with schools as they were starting the process and got to be a part of the discussions, trials, and decision making that went into making these monumental shifts.

In both cases, I was able to observe how different leaders went through the process of identifying an issue within their school’s teaching-learning process that could be remedied with a better instructional model, looking for the right model to use, and working with their faculty to succeed with the change. I saw some efforts that were wildly successful—the kind that make headlines and show astonishing impacts on student learning. Other cases went fairly well, but there were hiccups that could have been avoided. And then there were some that, in spite of the best of intentions, went woefully off the rails very quickly.

I have wanted to write this book for years as I think these examples provide invaluable insights for how to select an instructional model in an environment where the stakes are high, the resources are low, and where a misstep can ultimately do a disservice to our students and to the hardworking teachers who have their best interests at heart. Bryan, with his interest in management styles and organizational change, proved to be the ideal collaborator. In our upcoming book we define and provide examples of instructional models and how they differ from instructional frameworks, and we describe how these models can help teachers leverage so much more of their teaching skills and savvy to help students succeed.

Our hope is that the book will help teacher leaders, principals, and other school leaders make the most of their limited time and resources to create solutions that make an indelible positive impact on their schools, teachers, and students.

What’s your experience been with using an instructional model? Share in the comments!

Learn more about Instructional Models: How to Choose One and How to Use One.

Request notification when book is available and download a free excerpt.

Elizabeth Ross Hubbell is a senior program manager at Academic Impressions. She is a frequent conference presenter, a former teacher, and co-author of The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day and Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd Ed.). Instructional Models: How to Choose One and How to Use One is due out from McREL International in August 2019.

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