Designing Teacher Instruction For Student Achievement

Reading Time: 2 minutes

How can we ensure teacher instruction is clear and is meaningful?

This is a good teaching strategy to ensure all instructions are delivered with clarity, and in bite-sized chunks. As John Hattie suggests, ‘teacher clarity‘ has a positive influence on student achievement. He defines teacher clarity as “organisation, explanation, examples and guided practice … of student learning; such that clarity of speech was a prerequisite of teacher clarity.”

What is M.I.N.T?

The importance to clearly communicate the intentions of the lesson and the success criteria, as well as within each transition.

This video explains the thought process behind a useful instruction methodology; shifting teacher instruction away from just ‘waffle’ towards clarity – so that maximum impact can be gained. This will help the pupils understand what is being expected on them and reduce the need for complicating and repeating teacher instruction. It is vital that all communication is explicit and implicit – and of course, context is key.

How To Use M.I.N.T?

Firstly, the acronym MINT is an acronym and stands for the following;

  1. M = Materials
  2. I = In or out of seats
  3. N = Noise level
  4. T = Time.

Here’s an example of how to use it.

  1. (M) (for example) “You will need A3 paper; a pencil and ruler; and this pink-coloured A5 worksheet …”
  2. (I) “You will be working out of your seats, moving slowly around the classroom visiting various sources on display.”
  3. (N) “The noise I’d like you to maintain, is a quiet conversation in your groups … and,”
  4. (T) “The time for you to do this is 7 minutes. I will also give you a final 1 minute warning before we stop.” (Tweet it?)

As an extension, a teacher may produce four large posters or slides to include each of the MINT letters / instructions to help the students understand the context. This may be useful when working with younger students or those with learning needs.


Over time as this becomes a classroom routine, students will begin to understand that they must listen sensitively to the teacher, knowing that teacher instruction will become more refined and precise. When working with older students, these instructions can increasingly use explicit subject terminology and knowledge.

This idea features in my 100 Ideas book; which reinforces that clear instructions will remove all forms of low-level disruption …


In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...

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