High impact teaching strategies (HITS)

The high impact teaching strategies (HITS) are 10 instructional practices that reliably increase student learning when they're applied.

HITS have emerged from the findings of tens of thousands of studies on what has worked in classrooms across Australia and the world. International experts often rank HITS at the top of strategies that contribute to student learning.

Get started with HITS

Our HITS guide includes information on getting started with using the strategies:

High impact teaching strategies guide
High impact teaching strategies pdf 8.37mbpdf (pdf - 827.85kb) docx (1.08mb)

The guide includes:

  • accessible, succinct guidance on using high impact, evidence based strategies
  • bite sized insights that enable you to focus on one or more HITS, and to progressively build expertise
  • scalable possibilities, allowing individual teachers, professional learning communities, and whole schools, to set goals and actions centred on the HITS.

Further information and resources to support your practice and implementation of the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model are available through the VTLM page on FUSE where you will find case studies, online professional learning modules and the HITS Catalogue featured. The HITS Catalogue consists of over 130 teaching and learning resources to support teachers in their professional development, including:

  • podcasts and videos
  • case studies
  • webinars
  • lesson plans
  • classroom-based activities.

Each resource will support teachers to extend their practice through classroom activities, approaches and ideas that can be adapted for their specific context.

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

Overview of the strategies

There are 10 strategies. Our HITS guide expands on each of these and includes the evidence behind them, plus examples of practice in the classroom.

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. This helps the teacher to plan learning activities, and helps students understand what is required.

HITS Catalogue – Setting Goals 

See the guide for more information.

Strategy 2: Structuring lessons

A lesson structure maps 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.

HITS Catalogue – Structuring Lessons

Structuring Lessons Trauma Informed Factsheet

See the guide for more information.

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 learning intentions and success criteria, makes them transparent to students, and demonstrates 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).

HITS Catalogue – Explicit Teaching

See the guide for more information.

Strategy 4: Worked examples

A worked example demonstrates the steps required to complete a task or solve a problem.

By scaffolding the learning, worked examples support skill acquisition and reduce a learner’s cognitive load.

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

HITS Catalogue – Worked Examples

See the guide for more information.

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.

HITS Catalogue – Collaborative Learning

Collaborative Learning Trauma Informed Factsheet

See the guide for more information.

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.

HITS Catalogue – Multiple Exposures

Multiple Exposures Trauma Informed Factsheet 

See the guide for more information.

Strategy 7: Questioning

Questioning is a powerful tool and effective teachers regularly use it for a range of purposes. It engages students, stimulates interest and curiosity in the learning, and makes links to students’ lives.

Questioning opens up opportunities for students to discuss, argue, and express opinions and alternative points of view.

Effective questioning yields immediate feedback on student understanding, supports informal and formative assessment, and captures feedback on effectiveness of teaching strategies.

HITS Catalogue – Questioning

See the guide for more information.

Strategy 8: Feedback

Feedback informs a student and/or teacher about the student’s performance relative to learning goals.

Feedback redirects or refocuses teacher and student actions so the student can align 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 its form, it comprises specific advice a student can use to improve performance.

HITS Catalogue – Feedback

Feedback Trauma Informed Factsheet

See the guide for more information.

Strategy 9: Metacognitive strategies

Metacognitive strategies teach students to think about their own 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.

HITS Catalogue – Metacognitive Strategies

See the guide for more information.

Strategy 10: Differentiated teaching

Differentiated teaching are methods teachers use 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.

HITS Catalogue – Differentiated Teaching

Differentiated Teaching Trauma Informed Factsheet

See the guide for more information.

Using HITS

  • For teachers
    For beginning teachers, the HITS are a bank of reliable instructional practices they can use with confidence. For experienced teachers, our guide can add to their understanding of the HITS they are already using, and suggest new ways to use them in the classroom.
  • For professional learning communities By using the HITS to build their 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 connected to a broader repertoire of teacher skills and knowledge. They can be connected to collaboration between teachers and integrated into classroom and school planning around curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Essential resources

Professional Practice Note 4 resources

Professional Practice Note 9 resources

Professional Practice Note 14 resources

Professional Practice Note 16 resources

HITS 1: Setting Goals

HITS 8: Feedback

HITS 9: Metacognitive Strategies

HITS 10: Differentiated teaching

Case studies

Fairfield Primary School

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

Narre Warren South P-12 College

In this video, hear how Narre Warren South P-12 College are using HITS to drive their literacy improvement strategy:

Brighton Primary School

In this video, Brighton Primary School talks about how they are embedding the Practice Principles and high impact teaching strategies into their core business model:

Get advice

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