Professional Learning Opportunity

High-Leverage Practice 16

Use Explicit Instruction

Structured Video Analysis of High-Leverage Practices

Submitting Authors: Patterson, D., Driver, M. K., Zimmer, K., & Wetherington, P. (2019).

Description of this activity: In this practice-based learning opportunity (PLO), we provide an example of how structured video analysis is used to develop knowledge about and successful implementation of HLP #16: Explicit Instruction (EI). In this activity, candidates are presented with the components of EI and have the opportunity to observe it virtually in action and analyze it. This activity addresses the first stage (“Introducing and Learning About the Activity”) of the Learning Enactment Cycle described by McDonald and colleagues (2013). As candidates are watching the video, they are cued to stop at various points and reflect on aspects of EI as well as analyze their own practice. This final stage falls under the fourth stage of McDonald’s Learning and Enactment Cycle.

Context: This activity could be appropriate throughout the teacher preparation process, but the questions may need to be adapted depending on the opportunities candidates have or have had to observe teaching or teach students. For candidates in the early stages of a teacher preparation program, it could be used in any course focused on developing candidates’ knowledge about teaching instructional strategies before participating in a field experience. In this case, the questions may need to be adjusted to focus on observations of instruction. For candidates further along in the program, this PLO could also be used as a component of remediation, skill building, or refinement of practice. It could also be used to analyze one’s own practice. The PLO can be used individually or in a group setting, online or in-person, and with pre-service as well as in-service teachers. Candidates must be proficient in their understanding of EI for this tool to be most useful.

Structured Video Analysis

Structured video analysis involves candidates either observing a video of their instruction or that of another candidate or practicing teacher. The purpose of this practiced-based learning opportunity (PLO) is to analyze and reflect on instruction for the purpose of improving implementation of a specific practice and assessing its influence on student learning. Carefully structured video analysis helps candidates learn to implement explicit instruction by engaging them in a deeper analysis of how it is implemented, including what was effective and what could be improved to better support student learning. When used appropriately, structured video analysis has been shown to improve teacher candidate learning (Nagro, 2020; Nagro, deBettencourt, Rosenberg, Carran, & Weiss, 2017).


Nagro, S. A. (2020). Reflecting on others before reflecting on self: Using video evidence to guide teacher candidates’ reflective practices. Journal of Teacher Education, 71, 420-433.

Nagro, S. A., deBettencourt, L. U., Rosenberg, M. S., Carran, D. T., & Weiss, M. P. (2017). The  effects of guided video analysis on teacher candidates’ reflective ability and instructional skills.  Teacher Education and Special Education, 40, 7-25. doi/pdf/10.1177/0888406416680469



Below are instructions for using this PLO. Additionally, make sure you download the facilitation guide.

Steps in the PLO

Implementation guidance needed to use practiceMaterials/
resources needed to implement
Questions other faculty/PD providers might have when implementing this practice
Developing Prerequisite KnowledgeIntroduce the components of EI to candidates to establish a working knowledge or demonstrate a pre-set level of proficiency regarding EI.Explicit Instruction Components Framework (See Resource A)

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education (See Resource B)

Structured Observation Protocol With Questions (See Resource C)

How do we help candidates connect the EI HLP with other HLPs?

As EI is being introduced and modeled, candidates should be made aware of the overlap of HLPs and that within EI, candidates will be able to identify various HLPs in action. Instructors may point out the interaction among HLPs and model the overlap in their own lessons.

How can EI be generalized into different content areas and grade levels?
Instructors can provide examples of EI within different content areas to demonstrate how EI is not subject dependent. EBPs should be distinguished from HLPs and the relationship between the two should be explained.

Review Structured Observation ProtocolBefore using the protocol, review the structure of it as well as your personal expectations for completing it. Your review may be dependent on the type of group (i.e., whole, small, or independent) you are working with. Structured Observation Protocol With Questions: (See Resource C)
View and Analyze Video

Candidate will view video (independently, whole group, or in small groups) while stopping at indicated time stamps (see protocol) to respond to the protocol questions.Structured Observation Protocol With Questions: (See Resource C)How will this look in an asynchronous online setting?

In an asynchronous setting, candidates will view and analyze the video independently and return their written analysis to the instructor. They can also participate in an online chat about their analysis.

DiscussCandidates will share their observations and responses to the protocol with peers or instructor (e.g., whole group, partner, instructor).Structured Observation Protocol With Responses: (See Resource C)How will candidates debrief if completing the activity through an online or independent setting?

A post-discussion can be organized in a threaded discussion format. The protocol questions could be posted by the instructor with each candidate posting their responses and also responding to the posts of two other peers.

Instructors can pair students ahead of time, and after watching and responding to the protocol independently, the peers would meet in a virtual classroom to discuss their responses.

How does this class-based activity move to practical implementation?

After candidates can successfully identify the components of EI in an exemplar video, present them with a non-example. Ask candidates to identify the missing or incorrectly used component. Then, ask them to identify the EI component that should have been utilized and the impact it might have made on student learning.

While candidates are participating in a field experience, they can use a modified protocol to identify EI components in a mentor’s lesson. They can also record themselves teaching and use a modified protocol to identify the EI in their own teaching.