The e5 Instructional Model

A tool for teachers and schools to help develop and improve teaching practice through discussion, observation, critique and reflection. The e5 model provides a framework to support these conversations.

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The e5 Instructional Model is a reference point for school leaders and teachers to develop a deeper understanding of what constitutes high quality teacher practice in the classroom. The model consisits of five domains:

1. Engage

The teacher fosters positive relations with and between students and develops shared expectations for learning and interacting. They stimulate interest and curiosity, promote questioning and connect learning to real world experiences.

The teacher structures tasks, elicits students' prior knowledge and supports them to make connections to past learning experiences. They present a purpose for learning, determining challenging learning goals and making assessment and performance requirements clear.

The teacher assists students to consider and identify processes that will support the achievement of the learning goals.

Engage - Level 1

The teacher promotes a safe and orderly learning environment by providing the class with rules and modelling expected behaviours. They treat individuals with courtesy and promote effort and hard work. The teacher stimulates interest and curiosity in the learning, making links to students' interests.

They explain the purpose for learning and assess students' prior knowledge by asking students what they know about the topic. The teacher articulates learning goals based on the expected year level standard and informs students of assessment requirements. They use tools and strategies to support students' thinking processes and to develop students' understanding of metacognition.

The teacher supports students to identify what they know and what they need to know, enabling students to monitor their own learning.

Engage - Level 2

The teacher maintains a productive learning environment by conveying behavioural and learning expectations for all students which are referenced to school values. The teacher regularly engages with individual students and treats them fairly and consistently. They use stimuli to draw out what students know and support students to link their experiences to the topic.

The teacher uses this information to differentiate learning goals for groups of students based on need. The teacher demonstrates a purpose for learning by linking the specific activity to the learning goals. They explain assessment criteria when communicating assessment requirements to students.

The teacher models different types of thinking using labels and definitions.

Engage - Level 3

The teacher negotiates learning routines and protocols for interactions with students. The teacher responds to each individual student's social and emotional needs. They use a range of strategies to assess and document students' prior knowledge.

The teacher uses this evidence as the starting point to determine learning goals based on curriculum standards. They provide examples of student work to demonstrate the expected standard when communicating assessment requirements.

The teacher verbalises their approach to thinking and models the strategies used. They provide tools and strategies to assist students to reflect on their learning.

Engage - Level 4

The teacher refers to shared norms in their interactions with students and shares responsibility with them for reinforcing protocols.

The teacher uses all available evidence to determine each individual student's current level of understanding. They use questions generated by students to extend the focus of learning and to connect with students' lives. The teacher supports students to use evidence to personalise their learning goals and align them with curriculum standards. The teacher provides assessment rubrics, illustrating increasing levels of proficiency based on curriculum standards. They support students to evaluate their own and others' thinking.

The teacher facilitates processes for students to monitor the effectiveness of their learning.

Apply 'engage' in the classroom

The following examples demonstrate different ways the questions could be framed for an individual teacher, team, learning area, year level team or school:

  • what behaviours should we model in the classroom?
  • how do we stimulate interest and curiosity in learning?
  • how do we assess students’ prior knowledge?
  • how do we decide on the nature and quality of assessment tasks?
  • what strategies do we use to support students’ thinking?
  • how do we assist students to monitor their own learning?
2. Explore

The teacher presents challenging tasks to support students to generate and investigate questions, gather relevant information and develop ideas. They provide tools and procedures for students to organise information and ideas. The teacher identifies students’ conceptions and challenges misconceptions. They assist students to expand their perspectives and reflect on their learning. The teacher is mindful of the learning requirements of the task, attentive to student responses and intervenes accordingly.

Explore - Level 1

The teacher uses a range of question types and encourages students to share their prior experiences to involve students in the inquiry. They ask students to explain their understanding of key concepts and ideas to identify misconceptions.

The teacher selects resources relevant to the inquiry and presents examples of information in an organised format. They use guiding questions to assist students to select relevant information.

The teacher contributes to a productive learning environment, presenting an outline for the session, informing students of the time frame for tasks. They refer to class rules to manage student behaviour.

Explore - Level 2

The teacher uses questions to stimulate further investigation into the inquiry. They broaden students’ experiences by making links between the learning focus and real world applications.

The teacher observes and listens to student interactions and responds to any misconceptions. They present additional resources and provide tools to record information in response to student need.

The teacher continuously monitors the students and intervenes when required to maintain student engagement in the inquiry. They provide a structure for the session, establishing routines and providing a schedule to support time management.

Explore - Level 3

The teacher provides experiences to draw out students’ misconceptions and frames questions to challenge students’ ideas. They teach strategies for students to choose resources applicable to the inquiry, as well as processes to collect and select relevant information.

The teacher explains reasons for the use of particular strategies to help students organise information. The teacher adapts routines and adjusts time allocated to maximise student learning opportunities and understanding.

They reinforce shared norms and expected behaviours to maintain session momentum.

Explore - Level 4

The teacher introduces new perspectives, extending the inquiry and supporting students to reflect on their understanding. The teacher challenges misconceptions through the use of specific tasks and questions to extend student thinking.

They prompt students to select tools and strategies appropriate for documenting the collected information. They teach students processes to evaluate the quality of information. The teacher attends to student’s verbal and non-verbal cues, responds to individual behaviour and supports learning accordingly.

They provide strategies to enable students to manage their time effectively.

Apply 'explore' in the classroom

The following examples demonstrate different ways the questions could be framed for an individual teacher, team, learning area, year level team or school:

  • how do we use questions to draw out students’ prior knowledge?
  • what are misconceptions?
  • how do we address students’ misconceptions across different disciplines?
  • what is a productive learning environment?
  • what are real world applications?
  • how do we create routines in our classrooms?
3. Explain

The teacher provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their current level of understanding through verbal and non-verbal means. They explicitly teach relevant knowledge, concepts and skills. This content is represented in multiple ways. The teacher provides strategies to enable students to connect and organise new and existing knowledge.

They assist students to represent their ideas, using language and images to engage them in reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing. The teacher explicitly teaches the language of the discipline. They progressively assess students’ understanding and structure opportunities for students to practise new skills.

Explain - Level 1

The teacher provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their current level of understanding through verbal and non-verbal means. They explicitly teach relevant knowledge, concepts and skills.

This content is represented in multiple ways. The teacher provides strategies to enable students to connect and organise new and existing knowledge. They assist students to represent their ideas, using language and images to engage them in reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing. The teacher explicitly teaches the language of the discipline. They progressively assess students’ understanding and structure opportunities for students to practise new skills.

Explain - Level 2

The teacher uses student explanation of the inquiry to determine current levels of understanding and introduces new content accordingly. They select multiple ways to represent the same content in response to student need.

The teacher structures collaborative opportunities for students to share their explanations and supports students to make links between past and new learning. They provide multiple opportunities for students to consolidate the new learning using varied types of practice. They explicitly teach the conventions of English in all curriculum areas.

They teach the language of the discipline and structure tasks to engage students in using multiple modes of language.

Explain - Level 3

The teacher differentiates content based on the students’ level of understanding of the inquiry. They adapt representations based on student need. The teacher uses analogy and metaphor to illustrate the relationship between ideas, assisting students to make connections between new and existing knowledge to clarify understanding.

They structure opportunities for students to strengthen specific skills and processes through focused practice. The teacher responds to students’ English language proficiency, providing students with strategies to meet the literacy demands of the task. They explain the reasons for selecting particular modes of language and expect students to use the language of the discipline.

Explain - Level 4

The teacher assesses the student’s level of understanding, selecting and introducing content at individual point of need, in response to student explanation. They assist students to select strategies to demonstrate relationships between ideas and to connect new content with prior learning.

The teacher challenges students to represent their understanding in multiple ways. They guide students to establish independent practice routines to reinforce and extend the student’s level of understanding.

The teacher supports students to use the language of the discipline and to select the mode of language appropriate to the task. They support students to identify and use strategies to meet the literacy demands of the task.

Apply 'explain' in the classroom

The following examples demonstrate different ways the questions could be framed for an individual teacher, team, learning area, year level team or school:

  • how do teachers in our learning area or year level team represent the content in different ways?
  • how do teachers in our learning area or year level team allow time for the practice of new skills?
  • how do teachers in our learning area or year level team identify the language proficiency levels of students?
  • how do teachers in our learning area or year level team model the use of English language conventions?
  • how do teachers in our learning area or year level model the language of our discipline?
  • how do teachers in our learning area or year level team incorporate different modes of language in our lessons?
4. Elaborate

The teacher engages students in dialogue, continuously extending and refining students’ understanding. They support students to identify and define relationships between concepts and to generate principles or rules.

The teacher selects contexts from familiar to unfamiliar, which progressively build the students’ ability to transfer and generalise their learning. The teacher supports students to create and test hypotheses and to make and justify decisions. They monitor student understanding, providing explicit feedback, and adjusting instruction accordingly.

Elaborate - Level 1

The teacher provides intellectually challenging tasks and articulates the cognitive demands of the task to students. They provide examples of the concept in similar contexts to assist students to apply their learning.

The teacher uses strategies to involve all students in focused conversation, facilitating the sharing of ideas. The teacher selects the topic and structures the conversation to generate student thinking about the key concepts. They monitor student understanding, providing students with feedback specific to the task and modifying instruction based on student responses.

Elaborate - Level 2

The teacher provides tasks that support the transfer of learning and assists students to apply concepts from familiar to unfamiliar contexts. The teacher models and provides thinking tools and strategies to support transfer. They incorporate wait time to support students to consider the ideas and construct their responses.

The teacher structures conversation, acknowledging the value of students’ ideas and using these to build individual and collective understanding. They group students according to the purpose of the conversation. The teacher gives feedback referenced to assessment criteria, when monitoring student progress.

They adapt instruction based on group needs.

Elaborate - Level 3

The teacher structures tasks that require students to manipulate information and ideas to generate rules and principles. They support students to test these rules and principles in unfamiliar contexts. The teacher negotiates conversational protocols which support all students to make meaningful contributions, build on and challenge one another’s ideas.

The teacher asks questions, probes student thinking and prompts them to justify their responses. The teacher provides feedback and structures opportunities for students to give feedback to one another. They monitor student progress and intervene to address individual needs.

Elaborate - Level 4

The teacher explains the taxonomy used to structure the task and inform the assessment criteria. They support students to use evidence to challenge assumptions underpinning principles when extending the learning to new contexts.

The teacher structures opportunities for students to sustain a conversation, deepening individual and collective understanding. They support students to critique one another’s ideas to increase the intellectual rigour of the conversation. The teacher continuously monitors student progress and provides feedback that enables each student to understand what they need to do to improve.

Apply 'elaborate' in the classroom

The following examples demonstrate different ways the questions could be framed for an individual teacher, team, learning area, year level team or school:

  • what does an intellectually challenging task look like?
  • what is cognitive demand?
  • what does substantive conversation look like in the classroom?
  • what is quality feedback?
  • how do you modify instruction?
  • what are different modes of language?
  • what is transfer?
5. Evaluate

The teacher supports students to continuously refine and improve their work using assessment criteria in preparation for a performance of understanding.

They integrate evidence from each phase, formally recording students’ progress against learning goals. The teacher provides feedback and assists students to evaluate their progress and achievements. They support students to reflect on their learning processes and the impact of effort on achievement. The teacher guides students to identify future learning goals.

Evaluate - Level 1

The teacher assists students to prepare for a performance of understanding. They assess student achievement and communicate progress. The teacher presents guiding questions to enable students to reflect on their learning.

They support students to frame future learning goals based on identified strengths and areas for improvement.

Evaluate - Level 2

The teacher provides strategies for students to reflect on and refine their work in preparation for a performance of understanding. The teacher integrates evidence gathered from both formal and informal assessment to make judgements about student progress. They use examples of student learning and work samples to illustrate student progress against learning goals.

The teacher models strategies for self reflection. They support students to reflect on their achievements and learning processes to frame future learning goals.

Evaluate - Level 3

The teacher structures opportunities for students to individually and collaboratively assess and improve their work in preparation for a performance of understanding. They make judgements about student achievement using rubrics referenced to curriculum standards.

The teacher communicates progress against learning goals based on curriculum standards. They support students to review samples of their work to identify evidence of their learning and to reflect on their overall progress. The teacher supports students to identify future learning goals and strategies to progress their learning.

Evaluate - Level 4

The teacher moderates both within and across classes to ensure consistent judgements. They support students to reflect on their learning outcomes and evaluate strategies used. The teacher conferences with individual students using student reflection and teacher judgement to discuss progress against curriculum standards.

The teacher refers to the conference and curriculum standards when facilitating an individual student’s identification of future learning goals and strategies.

Apply 'evaluate' in the classroom

The following examples demonstrate different ways the questions could be framed for an individual teacher, team, learning area, year level team or school:

  • how can I ensure that my judgments about student work are consistent with other staff
  • what evidence would I provide that demonstrated how I assist students to reflect on their learning?
  • how can I assist students to identify their future learning goals?
  • how can I improve the quality of the tasks I design for students?
  • what evidence would I provide that demonstrated the fairness and consistency of my assessment methods?

Using e5 to lead conversations

Select one domain (engage, explore, explain, elaborate or evaluate) for a staff workshop.

Use the questions posed under each domain to provide a focus for the conversation or a workshop. With each question, consider:

  • in your own practice what would you offer as evidence that your work was consistent with your chosen domain of practice?
  • give at least one concrete example of something you would do to make the chosen domain of practice concrete in your work practices
  • bring back evidence of this to discuss at the next workshop.

About e5

Teachers as professionals engage in continuous inquiry about their teaching in order to assess the impact it has on the students they teach.

To develop greater expertise, teachers need to understand what it looks like to improve in different domains of learning, and as importantly, believe they are capable of improving their practice. They must also be effectively supported within their schools where the work of teach and learning resides.

The e5 Instructional Model is not a recipe for teacher practice but rather a framework to inform conversations and guide the observation, critique and reflection of classroom practice.

There are many different ways that teachers can vary in their approach and their behaviour and still be highly effective in the classroom. All teachers use their professional judgement to adapt their practice to the specific context they work in and to the particular cohort of students they teach. However, within this zone of discretion there are common practices that draw on a professional knowledge base in the classroom we can develop a great understanding of the nature of the professional learning teachers require to improve their practice.

Research agreement about what constitutes high quality instruction in the classroom to engage students in intellectually demanding work is central to the professional conversations that occur in educational settings. The e5 domain of engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate can be used as a common lens for understanding and improving teaching in all educational settings. This approach can facilitate a more planned and structured collaboration through a commonly understood language and framework.

A focus on quality teaching and learning

The challenge for all schools is to strengthen their performance and development processes to support a professional working environment for all staff and the school’s internal capacity to engage in ongoing improvement.

This can only be achieved by increasing the consistency of high quality teaching and learning in all classrooms.

e5 can support performance and development processes and focus conversations on quality teaching by:

Providing induction into the school or into a new role

Expectations about what quality classroom practice looks like can assist all new staff to understand their responsibilities and the level of support that will be provided to them to improve their practice.

Providing multiple sources of feedback on practice

Criteria from the instructional model capabilities can develop greater consistency and understanding of what teachers should know and be able to do in the classroom and a shared language for describing this.

Aligning performance and development plans to school goals

A self assessment of strengths and areas for improvement against the e5 profile statements can enable staff to develop a more informed and individual approach to the professional learning component of their plans.

Designing a quality professional learning strategy

The school’s professional learning strategy can be designed to support the learning and growth of all staff by using the capabilities described in the model as a focus for conversations about quality teacher practice and the school’s strategic priorities.

Teachers' belief that the school supports individual professional growth and development is enhanced when there is:

  • strong agreement about what constitutes quality teacher practice
  • organisational conditions that support evidence based inquiries
  • opportunities to collaborate and learn in the workplace.

Find out more

For more information about the e5 model, email: professional.practice@edumail.vic.gov.au