Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Hamann, E.T., & Reeves, J. (2012). Accessing High-Quality Instructional Strategies. In T. Timar & J. Maxwell-Jolly (Eds.), Connecting the Dots and Closing the Gaps, (pp. 95-110). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.


Instructional strategies figure centrally in what happens in classrooms, are critical to educational outcomes, and central to the narrowing of achievement gaps. However, broad improvement of schools, including the narrowing of these gaps, will depend on changes in instructional strategy and improved student access to educators using these strategies. Much of the research on instructional strategies identifies universal aspects of effective instruction that pertain across subject matter, grade level and student characteristics. Other important findings from instructional strategy research are not as broadly applicable. These second kind of findings, are more specific to particular grade levels, topics of instruction, students’ racial or ethnic affiliations, and like variables. It would be a mistake to over-generalize the lessons from this second category, but it would be equally mistaken to dismiss them. This chapter is the product of a review of a two overlapping literatures: the literature on the general effectiveness of instructional strategies and the literature on effective instructional strategies for students from racial, socioeconomic, ethnic and other groups that have historically fared less well at school.