Pedagogy Welcome

High Yield Instructional Strategy: Identifying Similarities and Differences

I’m a pedagogy enthusiast, so over my recent quarantine and isolation I revisited Robert Marzano’s classic metaanalysis of high-yield instructional practices, Classroom Instruction That Works. In case it’s been a while, Marzano and his team reviewed some 30,000 studies related to instructional practices and ran statistical analyses to determine which practices provided the greatest effect size (change in score based upon standard deviation). His team found nine instructional strategies that produced statistically significant gains. Over the next few weeks, I’ll refresh your memory regarding these strategies. The first – and most powerful of all – is identifying similarities and differences:

Identifying Similarities and Differences (Effect size = 1.61)

• Presenting students with explicit guidance in identifying similarities and differences enhances students’ understanding of and ability to use knowledge.

• Asking students to independently identify similarities and differences enhances students’ understanding of and ability to use knowledge.

• Representing similarities and differences in graphic or symbolic form enhances students’ understanding of and ability to use knowledge.

• The identification of similarities and differences can be accomplished inmany ways. The identification of similarities and differences is a highlyrobust activity.

• Comparing – The process of identifying similarities and differences between or among things or ideas.

• Classifying – The process of grouping things that are alike into categories on the basis of their characteristics.

• Creating metaphors – The process of identifying a general or basic pattern in a specific topic and then finding another topic that appears to be quite different but that has the same general pattern.

• Creating analogies – The process of identifying relationships between pairs of concepts – in other words, identifying relationships between relationships.

As you plan for the week ahead, find ways to help students identify similarities and differences between the new content and what they already know. In so doing, you will equip them to think critically and deepen their understanding.

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