Models of Teaching/Instruction
Based on the work of Bruce Joyce,  Marsha Weils & Emily Calhoun

Citation: Huitt, W. (2003). Models of teaching/instruction. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date], from

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Link to definitions of different models

Behavioral Systems

The focus of the methods associated with this category is on observable skills and behaviors. These methods have generally proved more likely to positively impact scores on standardized tests of basic skills than models in other categories.

Information-Processing Approaches

The focus of the methods associated with information processing approaches are more linked to concepts and principles developed in cognitive psychology. Many of the tests used to measure school learning are being modified so that they consider important mental processing skills that these models are designed to address.

Personal Development

The focus of these models is on those outcomes held in high regard by humanistic educators: high self-concept and self-esteem; positive self-direction and independence; creativity and curiosity; and the development of affect and emotions. Most of the methods used are associated with open education. While these models have not demonstrated an ability to impact outcomes associated with traditional education, they do show promise in impacting other outcomes important for the information age.

Social Interaction

The models associated with the social interaction family are focused on developing the concepts and skills needed to work in groups. Cooperative learning has demonstrated an ability to impact standard achievement measures as well as group interaction.


In my review of the research literature on effective instruction, it is my opinion that most teachers will work with most students more effectively using the direct or explicit instruction model when the desired outcome is a score on a standardized test of basic skills. When this basic method is used as the foundation for instruction and supplemented with techniques used in the others (e.g., asking higher-level questions, using facilitative teaching techniques, and using cooperative learning activities for guided and independent practice), I believe classroom teachers will use the best educational practices as we now understand them.


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