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Applying Rosenshine to the Computing Classroom: Principle Four

Written By: Keith Gage
3 min read

Principle 4. Provide models: Providing students with models and worked examples can help them learn to solve problems faster.

The fourth principle that Rosenshine (2012) outlines relates to modelling. This technique supports pupils in the steps that they need to take to solve a particular problem. Instead of having to develop their own ideas about how to reach a particular answer, the method they need to follow is demonstrated to the pupils in a way that they can each follow. The cognitive load placed upon them is significantly reduced as each stage is given to them so that they only have a limited amount of information to understand before they move on to the next.

Students of all abilities need this modelling to be present so that they can begin the task. They will have been presented with a lot of information during the previous teaching segment and they will need that direction or initial foothold into the task to help them synthesise the different elements of what was just taught. Furthermore, that initial step of the model needs to be simple and understandable so that pupils can gain confidence with the task from the outset. This might be as simple as opening the editor to enter code, but without it they would be unable to any coding at all.

Using Screen Recording:

Ensuring that a model is provided for the pupil is essential in providing the child with the concept of how their work should look. They can compare the example provided and the work they have done in determining whether they have completed the work effectively. The model needs to be something that the student can also access in their own way. Some students
might not have understood what I was doing when I presented the model or were simply not paying attention. To address this I record my modelling within PowerPoint using the Screen Recording function. This enables me to replay my model at any point to the children who are having difficulty as well as post the PowerPoint to our online teaching resource which they have access to. This also enables me to go on to help those students who are ready to move on to the next stage of the task. It ensures that the pupils are working towards the best representation of that model and have clear goals to achieve within the lesson. If I feel any additional modelling is required within a lesson, I will also start a screen recording, which also includes audio and use that as a basis for any future lessons.

Differentiating models:

Within a coding lesson, we use a variety of models that are differentiated for students are different ability levels within the class. These are shared with the students within their own individual groups in the online learning environment. All students are given the model, but the narrative that supports the model differs. Additionally for key stage three programming
lessons, we use partially completed code, to varying degrees, to guide the students in how their code should look and allowing them to work from a strong basis when the add their own code to the model.

Thinking aloud:

Thinking aloud is an essential narrative to add to the lesson. When discussing code, I talk about why I am doing certain things in certain ways. “Here I am going to indent these lines so that the computer knows that all these commands are related to the statement above” shows the mental processes and reasoning I am giving to my work. Instead of the child wondering why I am doing code in a certain way, there is a continual monologue surrounding the work I am carrying out, which will also potentially answer any questions as they come into the mind of the student. It also helps to note down those questions that are being asked by the pupils during this modelling phase to ensure that future sessions answer them.


Rosenshine B (2012) Principles of Instruction: Research-Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know. American Educator 36(1): 12.

  • Rosenshine B (2012) Principles of Instruction: Research-Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know. American Educator 36(1): 12.
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