High impact teaching strategies (HITS)

This page provides an overview of the 10 high impact teaching strategies (HITS) with a selection of relevant resources for further learning.

High impact teaching strategies (HITS) are a bank of 10 instructional practices that are internationally recognised as some of the most reliable teaching strategies for delivering learning outcomes.

How to get started with HITS

This page provides an overview of the HITS. If you would like a comprehensive guide on how to include HITS as part of your instructional practices, download a copy of our HITS guide. The guide provides more information on these strategies and examples to illustrate their use.

What is HITS

The 10 HITS are a part of the repertoire of effective strategies that teachers can apply to the wide variety of learning needs students present with each day.

HITS have emerged from the findings of tens of thousands of studies on what has worked in classrooms across Australia and the world. Although HITS are highly effective strategies for increasing student learning they do not provide a complete framework for professional practice. Instead, HITS form part of the full set of instructional practices that contribute to a comprehensive pedagogical model for teaching.

Benefits of using high impact teaching strategies

  • For beginning teachers: the HITS are a bank of reliable instructional practices you can use with confidence.

  • For experienced teachers: it's important to note that HITS are not intended to replace teaching strategies you are already using with success. Instead, our HITS guide can add to your understanding of the HITS you are already using, and suggest new ways to use them in the classroom.

  • For professional learning communities: by using the HITS to build the pool of knowledge, professional learning communities can anchor their interventions in evidence-based practices and so increase the likelihood of interventions being effective.

  • For school leaders: HITS are a professional learning opportunity. The HITS are linked to each other and connect to a broader repertoire of teacher skills and knowledge. They can be connected to collaboration between teachers and integrated into the classroom and school planning around curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Explore the 10 HITS strategies

Listed below you will find an overview of the 10 HITS strategies with a selection of relevant links for further learning.

Strategy 1: Setting goals

Lessons have clear learning intentions with goals that clarify what success looks like. Lesson goals always explain what students need to understand, and what they must be able to do.

Having clear learning goals helps the teacher to plan learning activities and it helps students understand what is required.

Resources to build expertise in goal setting strategies
 

Strategy 2: Structuring lessons

A lesson structure maps the teaching and learning that occurs in class.

Sound lesson structures reinforce routines, scaffold learning via specific steps/activities. They optimise time on task and classroom climate by using smooth transitions. Planned sequencing of teaching and learning activities stimulates and maintains engagement by linking lesson and unit learning.

Resources to build expertise in lesson structuring strategies

Strategy 3: Explicit teaching

When teachers adopt explicit teaching practices they clearly show students what to do and how to do it.

The teacher decides on the learning intentions and success criteria and makes them transparent to students, demonstrating them by modelling. The teacher checks for understanding, and at the end of each lesson revisits what was covered and ties it all together (Hattie, 2009).

Resources to build expertise in explicit teaching strategies

Strategy 4: Worked examples

A worked example demonstrates the steps required to complete a task or solve a problem. A scaffolded learning approach reduces a learner's cognitive load, so skill acquisition can become easier

The teacher presents a worked example and explains each step. Later, students can use the worked examples during independent practice and review and embed new knowledge.

Resources to build expertise in worked example strategies
 

Strategy 5: Collaborative learning

Collaborative learning occurs when students work in small groups and everyone participates in a learning task. There are many collaborative learning approaches, each uses varying forms of organisation and tasks.

Collaborative learning is supported by designing meaningful tasks. It involves students actively participating in negotiating roles, responsibilities and outcomes.

Resources to build expertise in collaborative learning strategies
 

Strategy 6: Multiple exposures

Multiple exposures provide students with multiple opportunities to encounter, engage with, and elaborate on new knowledge and skills.

Research demonstrates deep learning develops over time via multiple, spaced interactions with new knowledge and concepts. This may require spacing practice over several days, and using different activities to vary the interactions learners have with new knowledge.

Resources to build expertise in multiple exposure strategies

Strategy 7: Questioning

Questioning is a powerful tool and effective teachers regularly use it for a range of purposes. Effective questioning yields immediate feedback on student understanding, it supports informal and formative assessment and helps capture feedback on the effectiveness of teaching strategies.

Questioning opens up opportunities for students to discuss, argue, and express opinions and alternative points of view. It engages students, stimulates interest and curiosity in learning, and can create links to students’ lives.

Resources to build expertise in questioning strategies

Strategy 8: Feedback

Feedback informs a student and/or the teacher about the student’s performance relative to the learning goals. Effective feedback will redirect or refocus teacher and student actions, so the student can align their effort and activity with a clear outcome that leads to achieving a learning goal.

Teachers and peers can provide formal or informal feedback, it can be oral, written, formative or summative. Whatever form the feedback takes, it will comprise specific advice a student can use to improve their performance.

Resources to build expertise in feedback strategies
 

Strategy 9: Metacognitive strategies

Metacognitive strategies teach students to think about their thinking. When students become aware of the learning process, they gain control over their learning.

Metacognition extends to self-regulation or managing one's own motivation toward learning. Metacognitive activities can include planning how to approach learning tasks, evaluating progress, and monitoring comprehension.

Resources to build expertise in metacognitive learning strategies

Strategy 10: Differentiated teaching

Differentiated teaching methods are used to extend the knowledge and skills of every student in every class, regardless of their starting point. The objective is to lift the performance of all students, including those who are falling behind and those ahead of year level expectations.

To ensure all students master objectives, effective teachers plan lessons that incorporate adjustments for content, process, and product.

Resources to build expertise in differentiated teaching strategies
 


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Download the full HITS guide

For a comprehensive guide on how to include HITS as part of your instructional practices, download our guide to high impact teaching strategies.

The guide includes:

  • accessible guidance on using high impact, evidence-based strategies
  • bite-sized insights so you can focus your learning on one or more HITS
  • guidance on what classroom practice looks like at increasing levels of expertise
  • resources to assist leaders and teachers to maintain a whole of practice focus.
High impact teaching strategies guide

Note: Victorian government schools and teachers can order hard copies of the HITS guide at our resources for Victorian government schools page.

Case study videos

Fairfield Primary School

Hear Fairfield Primary School's acting principal talk about how they use HITS as a reference point for school improvement.


Brighton Primary School

In this video, Brighton Primary School talks about how they are embedding practice principles and HITS into their core business model.


Narre Warren South P-12 College

In this video, hear how Narre Warren South P-12 College is using HITS to drive its literacy improvement strategy.


Essential HITS Resources

The HITS Guide

We have produced a comprehensive document called High Impact Teaching Strategies – Excellence in teaching and learning. You will find it a useful resource on how to incorporate HITS into your teaching practice.

The VTLM page on FUSE

The Victorian Teaching and Learning Model page on Fuse is a great resource where you will find a range of supporting resources such as online professional learning modules and the HITS catalogue.

The HITS catalogue on FUSE

This HITS catalogue offers over 130 teaching and learning resources to support teachers in their professional development, including podcasts and videos, case studies, webinars, lesson plans and classroom-based activities.

Promoting literacy learning with HITS

There are several useful resources within the Victorian Department of Education and Training website on how to apply HITS to literacy learning. Some of these include:  

 

Promoting numeracy learning with HITS

The HITS section of the Victorian Numeracy Guide has a comprehensive explanation of how HITS can be used to develop students’ numeracy. The guide provides best practice examples of how HITS can promote improved numeracy skills from Birth to Level 10. 

 

Get advice

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