Recipe for Learning Success: I DO, YOU DO, WE DO

As teachers, we so desperately want our students to be learn that we unintentionally end up doing most of the learning work for them. We tell them what words are important, what strategy to use, and what key ideas are essential to understand; creating learners who are dependent on us to tell them "what to do" rather than learners who know how to handle themselves when we are not around.

The goal of truly independent learning can be achieved if we gradually release the responsibility of learning to our students. This means that we must see ourselves as facilitators of learning who possess knowledge, not as the keepers of knowledge.  We must provide students with opportunities to be in charge of their learning, discover new ideas, gain insight, and make connections.

So how do we accomplish this not so easy task?  I DO, YOU DO, WE DO

This model proposes a plan of instruction that includes all the critical elements and conditions of a successful learning experience:  modeling and demonstration, shared practice, coaching, collaborating, practice, and sharing. prompt, and practice.

The following graphic helps us visualize the mentoring relationship and two-way interaction between the teacher and student and gives greater detail to the kind roles and expectations during each phase of instruction as the responsibility of learning shifts from teacher-directed to student application and use.

GradualReleaseResponsibilityJan08.pdf (1 page)

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  • Jonathan Wylie

    That is a good visual. As a teacher, I recognize the steps listed in my own practice. Most teachers probably do. However, as a checklist for new teachers, or even to share with students, this is a handy little organizer. Thanks.

  • AngelaMaiers

    Thanks so much! The visual organizer can serve as a really simple reminder of the behaviors involved by both teacher and learner as they move through the gradual release process. It is easy to get going in a lesson, and skip some of the critical steps! As you share it with teachers, let me know of any modifications that could make it even easier to implement!

  • Melissa


    The organizer is an excellent tool for staff. My leadership team and I are looking for professional resources to support development of the gradual release of responsibility for our staff. Do you have any additional suggestions?

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