# How to Use Teacher Modeling Strategy

When I think about powerful teaching strategies, several come to mind. What about you?

Perhaps you picture the Socratic method, real-case scenarios, or creative projects. One of them that comes to my mind at once is modeling.

I can tell from my practice that modeling is one of the most effective techniques. However, very frequently teachers and tutors overlook this amazing teaching tool.

Also, multiple researches consistently show that modeling has a significant and positive impact on student achievement.

Students who received instructions that included modeling performed better than those who received traditional instruction without modeling.

In this article, we will dive deep into one of the most impactful strategies – modeling. We will explore what it is, and why it is so effective.

As well as how can you implement it in your classroom. So, let’s get started.

## What Exactly is Modeling Strategy?

In its basis, modeling is the practice of demonstrating a skill, process, or concept to your students.

It follows an instructional framework of “I do”, “We do”, and “You do”. The power of this method lies in showing your students how to do something.

So, you are not only telling what to do, you are actually showing how.

Think of it this way: you are learning to cook a new dish. Will you prefer just to read a recipe, or watch a video of a chef preparing the meal step-by-step?

Most probably, you would prefer the video. Because when you see the process in action, it helps you understand it better. The same applies to your classroom.

## Why is Modeling So Effective?

Now that we understand what is modeling, let’s understand why it is so powerful.

### • It makes abstract concepts more concrete.

Many concepts in each subject can be quite abstract. Some of the most abstract subjects are math and science. That is why when you show a process or concept in action, your students can grasp it easier.

Hence, modeling is like a bridge between ideas and concrete, tangible understanding.

### • It addresses multiple learning styles

We all learn in different ways. Most of the students are visual learners. However, there are still big parts of students that are auditory or kinesthetic learners. And some of them learn in combination.

The beauty of modeling is that it often covers all these styles. As students can see the process you show, hear your explanation, and then try it themselves.

### • It builds confidence and promotes metacognition

Usually, I try to model the process out loud. In other words, I not only demonstrate my actions but also think aloud.

Also, I include possible mistakes and challenges. It helps students realize that it is ok to struggle or make errors. It increases their confidence in trying new things.

### • It Improves Retention

Studies show that students remember information better when it is presented through modeling. The reason is, that modeling often requires active attention and engages multiple senses. Moreover, it improves memory retention.

## Ways to Implement Modeling

You can implement modeling strategies in different ways.

Let’s consider the types of modeling that you can use in your next classroom:

### • Think-Aloud Modeling

We have already talked a bit about it above. This is when you verbalize your thought process as you work through a task or problem.

It is one of the most effective techniques to teach problem-solving or critical thinking.

Imagine you are teaching your students how to analyze a poem.

You may read the poem out loud, and say something like, “I notice this poem uses a lot of nature imagery. I wonder why the author would choose to do that. Let me look closer at some of these natural words…”

This modeling type can also work the other way around. For example, when my students are stuck in solving something I ask them to model their thinking process.

This way, it is very easy to identify where, and what is the problem they are stuck with.

### • Demonstration Modeling

This modeling type involves physical demonstration. This is where you show your students how to do something. Like the cooking video, remember?

It is great for teaching hands-on skills and procedures. Imagine you are teaching science experience. In this modeling, you would demonstrate each step of the process and explain what are you doing and why.

### • Cognitive Modeling

The cognitive type of modeling is similar to think-aloud modeling. However, it focuses on demonstrating your decision-making process.

It is particularly useful for teaching study skills, writing techniques, or math problem-solving.

For example, you may model how to outline an essay. In this case, you will talk through your thoughts and strategies and why you decided to implement them.

### • Behavioral Modeling

Behavioral type of modeling involves demonstration of appropriate behaviors or social skills.

It is especially valuable for students in their early childhood and students with special needs.

For example, you may model how to politely disagree with someone during a discussion. Or, you can show how to ask for help when stuck on a problem.

## How to Implement Modeling in the Classroom

Now let’s talk about how can you effectively implement this strategy in your classroom.

### 1. Begin with planning your modeling session

Before modeling anything to your students, it is always a good idea to plan it.

To make a good plan, ask yourself and answer the following questions:

• What exactly do I want my students to learn from this session?

• What steps of the process do I need to demonstrate?

• What are the common mistakes that I could address?

• How can I make it engaging and interactive?

### 2. Set the stage

The next step in the implementation is to give some basis. What do I mean by that?

Before you begin your modeling make sure your students understand what is going on. Explain that you are going to make a demonstration. Also what you are going to demonstrate. And feel free to ask them to pay close attention.

I suggest you even give them specific things to look out for. It will additionally keep them more attentive and focused.

### 3. Model with clarity and purpose

Of course, you already know the purpose of your modeling and what you want to achieve. However, as you model, be clear and think through your actions and explanations.

Break down complex processes into smaller steps. Use clear language. Also, avoid rushing through any part of the process, whatever the time constraints.

### 4. Think Aloud

Verbalize your thought process as you model. This brings students into the mental strategies you are using.

The process itself answers many questions your students did not even think of asking. Also, it simplifies your life, too. As you cannot predict all the possible questions and answer them on the go.

Let’s imagine you are modeling how to solve a math problem. You might say, "I'm not sure how to start this problem. So, I am going to reread it and underline the important information."

In my own experience, I struggled a lot to grasp concepts in programming. For me, it is such an abstract topic even with all its tangible examples.

At some point in time, I started analyzing, why I could not understand it. I know the theory, I know what to write, so what is wrong?

And then I realized. It was always about why and how to arrive at that why. You see, I did not find a course or an instructor that would model their thought process.

That is why, it was so difficult for me to understand the process and do it myself.

### 5. Address common mistakes

Also, one of the very effective steps to implement is modeling the mistakes. Analyze the most common mistakes in the process, model them, and show how to correct them. Even if you make a mistake unintentionally, even better.

This will show your students that errors are a natural part of the learning process. And will teach them how to troubleshoot when something goes wrong.

Additionally, you can and I encourage you, to involve them in solving it.

### 6. Encourage student participation

Not only to solve mistakes but also while you are modeling, involve your students. Ask them questions, or invite them to predict the next steps.

You can even ask them to explain back to you what you have demonstrated so far. The most important is to engage them in the process.

### 7. Provide guided practice

The next step is guided practice. You have explained the concept and modeled it, great. But your students are still not ready to take over the task.

Remember, after “I do”, comes “we do”. The most important to keep in mind is that your part “I do” finishes here. Now you give your students a chance to try the skills or process themselves. But you are always there to guide and help.

This phase will help to reinforce what you have taught your students so far. And, it will provide both of you with immediate feedback.

### 8. Provide independent practice

Finally, the last stage of the modeling strategy – is “you do”. It is now your turn to allow your students to practice independently.

In this stage, they will internalize the skill or process you have modeled. In case your students need more help in understanding the concept, do not be afraid to jump between stages.

## Tips for Effective Modeling

In order to make your modeling as effective as possible, you can use the following tips:

• Make sure what you are modeling applies to what your students need to learn.

• If you are modeling a complex skill, break it into smaller and manageable parts.

• Whenever possible, use visual aids in your modeling. You can include anything from diagrams to physical objects.

• Monitor your classroom. If you see your students need it, repeat modeling the same skill as many times as needed.

• After modeling, provide your students with plenty of opportunities to practice.

• Last but not least, be enthusiastic when modeling. Enthusiasm naturally sparks the interest.

As you can see, modeling can be a powerful tool in your toolkit. It helps us empower our students with the skills to solve challenges independently.

We empower them by showing them how to approach tasks, solve problems, and think critically.

Effective modeling goes beyond simply demonstrating a skill. It involves thinking aloud and addressing common mistakes. It follows by providing opportunities for guided and independent practice.

When implemented thoughtfully, modeling can transform abstract concepts into concrete understanding.

So, the next time you're introducing a new concept or skill in your classroom, consider how you might model it for your students.

Show, do not just tell. You will see how your students' understanding and confidence grow.

### Written by Liudmyla M.

Experienced Tutor with over 12 years of teaching both online and offline. Passionate about helping students achieve their goals through personalized and practical methods.