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II. Lesson Clarity

Lesson Clarity

Listed as the first of the ten elements of Effective Instruction, Lesson Clarity is the keystone of good instruction. Lesson Clarity requires clear and precise lessons that can be communicated to your students. Therefore, the first competence of an effective teacher rests on the ability to plan an effective plan (Lesson Plan). The second pillar, the pillar that is based on an effective plan of instruction is a precise presentation (Lesson Delivery). As authors of Designing Effective Instruction for Secondary Social Studies (Waveland Press, Inc. – third edition), we begin our discussion on effective instruction with such topics as Student Needs, Technology, and Motivation. A section then follows these essential beginning topics aimed at Instructional Design.

Lesson Clarity relies on the teachers’ knowledge of the attributes of their students. Secondary teachers soon realize that each one of their classes is very different in personality and in the characteristics of their students. This means that Lesson Modifications will be required to address these differences. The variables that influence instruction are many and can seem to be complicated. Each class comes into the classroom under different conditions such as time (before and after lunch, etc.) and in addition to these factors, there typically are a great many interruptions that seem to work together to prevent the teachers from accomplishing their goals. In addition, the mind set and attitude of the teachers can greatly influence their ability to deliver effective instruction. Disruptions can come from unexpected sources, including events from both inside and outside of the classroom. Students, after many years of classroom experience, have become experts at disruption and distraction. While many of these variables cannot be formally planned for, they should not come as a surprise. The main task of the Effective Teacher is to focus on is lesson presentation by keeping on task. He or she should have a strategy, or a means, to bring students focus back to the lesson regardless of unexpected events.


1. Effective instruction relies on excellent planning in light of students needs – understanding where they are in the development of their understanding of the subject matter.
2. Effective instruction also relies on the ability to present the lesson – to communicate it to students – in clear, interesting, and simple ways. Try to say it again in a different way, in a different example, or in a real life experiences of how it works.
3. Do not make the subject matter more difficult or more complicated than it needs to be for student comprehension.
4. Adjust your presentation to the characteristics and attributes of each class.
5. Do not assume that just because you taught it, that they (your students) caught it. Most likely, only about 25% of your students caught what you taught or what you think that you taught.
6. Say it again Sam! Show it again Sam! Have them do it to see if they got it Sam!

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