Discover the power of the "I Do, We Do, You Do" teaching model. Elevate student learning through expert guidance, collaborative practice, and independent mastery.

Benjamin, Z. (2023, November 1). I Do We Do You Do. Retrieved from https://www.structural-learning.com/post/i-do-we-do-you-do

What is 'I Do, We Do, You Do'?

The 'I Do, We Do, You Do' model, often known as the Gradual Release of Responsibility, is a versatile instructional strategy that spans across age groups and subjects. This teaching strategy comprises three stages: modeling (I Do), scaffolding (We Do), and independent practice (You Do), each acting as a cognitive scaffold for students.

Rather than being confined to a single lesson, this model can extend gracefully across multiple lessons, making it a powerful tool in a teacher's repertoire. For instance, in a math class learning quadratic equations, the teacher begins by demonstrating the process (I Do), then collaborates with the students to solve problems together (We Do), and finally allows the students to tackle the equations independently (You Do). This approach not only builds student confidence but also ensures the skill is firmly rooted in their cognitive framework.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the strategies and theoretical foundations that underpin this model. We will examine its effectiveness, supported by research indicating that 80% of students taught using this method show significant improvement in skill mastery. As education expert John Hattie aptly stated, "The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery."

Key Insights:

The 'I Do, We Do, You Do' model is adaptable, suitable for all age groups and subjects.

It follows a three-step process: modeling, scaffolding, and independent practice.

This model aligns with various learning theories, providing a robust framework for effective teaching.

A Closer Look at Each of the Stages

I Do (The modelling Stage)

This stage is characterised by explicit instruction as the teacher demonstrates the new skill, which they have broken down into small and understandable steps.

The teacher may choose to adopt the 'silent teacher' approach to avoid cognitive overload during this phase. This involves modelling each step of the new skill in silence, allowing students to only focus on what the teacher is doing.

Once the teacher has finished, they will explain each step of their method, allowing students to fully focus on what the teacher is saying.

We Do (The Facilitation Stage)

In this stage, students are supported to achieve the correct answer as they work collaboratively with each other or with their teacher. This stage will typically involve 3-5 questions, each broken down into achievable steps, will the level of teacher guidance decreasing with each question.

The teacher may choose to employ interactive activities during this stage so that all students can be involved in answering every question.

You Do (The Independent Practice Stage)

This is the time for students to put into practice what they have learnt during the first two stages by practising the new skills independently.

There will still be opportunities for students to ask questions and for individual students to receive additional support from their teacher during this stage, but it is expected that most students will be able to work through the questions independently.

Applying 'I Do, We Do, You Do' to Classroom Practice

To successfully apply the 'I do, we do, you do' approach in the classroom, teachers must have sound subject-specific pedagogical knowledge in order identify the key concepts required to meet the learning outcomes. They will need to understand the typical misconceptions that students experience in relation to the topic and be able to predict any preconceived assumptions that the students may bring with them to the lesson.

The teacher can then use these to inform their choice of questions for the modeling stage; a well chosen example can quickly help students to correct an existing misconception. Once the questions or demonstrations have been selected, the teacher must then be able to break down the new skill into a set of step by step instructions that they will then model in the first part of the lesson.

In the second stage of the lesson, students will complete a task with guidance from the teacher or answer questions with the help of their peers and their teacher. The choice of question at this stage is also very important. The questions should begin by mimicking the ones covered in the first stage of the lesson, possibly with scaffolding that becomes less prescriptive with each subsequent question.

In the 'we do' stage, it is also normal to increase the level of sophistication of each question to see whether the acquisition of skills is sufficient to tackle novel contexts before starting independent practice. During the final stage of the 'I do, we do, you do' process, students should be confident with the new skill and able to answer questions on their own.

It is very likely that the tasks set at this stage will be matched to students' needs, allowing for differentiation. Some students may still need scaffolding, but should be able to answer the questions independently with this extra support. Depending on the level of complexity of the new skill, it may be necessary to repeat the 'I do, we do, you do' cycle multiple times before achieving mastery.

For art projects, a new cycle may be needed for each new medium that is introduced. In mathematics, separate cycles will be needed to find the lengths and angles with trigonometry.

The Benefits of 'I Do, We Do, You Do'

1. Confident Learners

Students find the learning process less intimidating using the 'I do, we do, you do' approach, and consequently the classroom engagement increases when the approach is used regularly.

Students learn that they will become confident with new topics and that there will be no expectation for them to work independently until they reach that point. They also learn that the 'I do, we do, you do' approach works and will be more willing to engage with it for that reason.

2. Mastery

'I do, we do, you do' particularly well when students' initial level of understanding is low but they need to master a new skill and answer related questions in an unfamiliar context.

Modelling and using scaffolding means that progress is rapid and students can quickly move from being a novice to an expert, even for topics that are completely new to them.

3. Replicability

While the 'I do, we do, you do' approach offers many benefits to students, is is also beneficial to teachers due to its replicability.

Once a new skill has been broken down into key concepts and appropriate questions have been chosen for modeling and scaffolding, they are usually appropriate for each different cohort and similar students in different schools.

This means that teachers can share the workload of creating resources for an 'I do, we do, you do' lesson by sharing the lesson content with colleagues in different schools.

The Gradual Release of Responsibility Model

The 'I do, we do, you do' method of teaching is part of the gradual release model, which describes how the responsibility moves from the teacher to students as the lesson progresses. Earlier stages in the gradual release strategy are characterised by direct instruction, teacher-led questioning, and instructional scaffolds.

The responsibility for learning during the first stage is almost entirely on the teacher; students are only required to engage with and attend to the lesson. In the 'we do' stage, students and teachers share the responsbility for learning, with students taking the greater share when the teacher introduces a decrease in scaffolds.

In the final stage, the majority of the responsibility falls to the students as they complete independent practice. Teachers still have a role to play in this stage, such as directing students to the most appropriate questions or activity to meet their needs, and providing feedback on attempts. The gradual release of responsibility model proposes a fourth stage to the 'I do, we do, you do' teaching practice, which is reflection and feedback.

It encourages students to employ metacognitive strategies to analyse the success of their learning and identify areas for further improvement, with the goal of achieving a deeper level of understanding in the future.

Links to Rosenshine's Principles of Instruction

At a conceptual level, there are many parallels between Rosenshine's principles of instruction and the 'I do, we do, you do' approach to direct skill development. The six most prominent examples of this are described below.

Present New Material in Small Steps

This principle of instruction is particularly relevant to the 'I do' stage. Teachers must consider the best way to break down new material or concepts into smaller steps to demonstrate during the 'I do' stage of the lesson.

In most cases, the teacher will probably deliver a full 'I do, we do, you do' cycle for each step in the acquisition of a new skill.

Provide Models and Worked Examples

This principle is central to the 'I do, we do, you do' approach. The 'I do' stage is often referred to as the modelling stage, where teachers give a live demonstration of the new skill. In the 'we do' stage, students are normally presented with worked examples that have had some parts removed for them to fill in collaboratively.

Provide Scaffolding and Support

The 'we do' stage requires high levels of scaffolding and support at the beginning, with each of these decreasing as students become more confident with the new skill.

This stage is particularly important from the perspective of the gradual release of responsibility model, as it is the stage when the greatest change of responsibility occurs.

In the 'I do' stage, the vast majority of responsibility lies with the teacher. By the time students reach the 'you do' stage, this imbalance has completely reversed. It is by gradually reducing the initially high levels of scaffolding and support that this shift in responsibility can successfully occur.

Ask Lots of Questions

By its nature, lots of questions are asked during any lesson that employs the 'I do, we do, you do' technique. In Rosenshine's principles, 'ask lots of questions' refers to getting feedback from all students about their current level of understanding so that teachers can make adjustments to the lesson and all students can continue to make progress.

This is particularly important in the 'we do' stage of the gradual release of responsibility model because students' answers will reveal whether they are ready to move on to independent practice.

Obtain a High Success Rate

Rosenshine recommended that students experience approximately an 80% success rate. For all students to experience a high success rate, it is essential that work is differentiated, which occurs in the independent practice section of the 'I do, we do, you do' model.

Furthermore, success is built into this model through the 'we do' stage. Following a period of direct instruction, students are presented with questions that are heavily scaffolded in the first instance and answered in collaboration with their teachers.

This means that everyone can experience a high success rate in the 'we do' stage before moving onto the 'I do' stage where questions can be differentiated to ensure continued success.

Encourage Independent Practice

Rosenshine recommends that students have the opportunity to practice new skills through independent practice. However, for independent practice to be successful, the lesson must be structured in a way that ensures students have the necessary skills to work on their own.

The 'I do, we do, you do' is designed to do exactly that, which means that students are able to fully benefit from independent practice that was recommended in Rosenshine's principles of instruction.

Integrating the I Do, We Do, You Do Approach

Let's consider three hypothetical situations integrating the "I do, we do, you do" model into teaching practice. As we have seen, this model, also known as the Gradual Release of Responsibility, is a powerful pedagogical approach that scaffolds learning for students.

Teaching Fractions in Math: In the "I do" phase, you could demonstrate how to find the common denominator. During the "we do" phase, involve the class in solving a problem collectively. Finally, in the "you do" phase, students can tackle problems independently, perhaps in a game-based format to boost engagement.

Analyzing a Poem in English: Start by reading a stanza and discussing its themes ("I do"). Then, read the next stanza together, asking guided questions to help students analyze it ("we do"). Finally, students can analyze the remaining stanzas in groups or individually ("you do").

Understanding Photosynthesis in Science: First, you could show a video or perform a live experiment to demonstrate the process ("I do"). Then, involve the class in a collaborative activity where they simulate the process using props ("we do"). Finally, students could create their own diagrams or models ("you do").

Here's a brief summary of five studies that shed light on the effectiveness of the Gradual Release of Responsibility model in classroom learning:

A study by N. Lin and Hsiao-fang Cheng in 2010 found that the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model was effective for advanced elementary students' language learning, particularly in summary writing.

Mary B. Mcvee et al. in 2015 discussed how the model can be used for professional development of inservice and preservice teachers through video reflection.

L. Eutsler in 2021 found that integrating TPACK and the Gradual Release of Responsibility framework helped preservice teachers design literacy instruction with the iPad.

N. Frey and D. Fisher in 2010 mentioned that the model serves as scaffolds that students need to successfully accomplish tasks alongside the teacher.

Tara Concannon-Gibney and M. McCarthy in 2012 highlighted the positive aspects of the model in a professional development program, including modeling, practical application, and opportunities for discussion and reflection.

These studies collectively underscore the versatility and effectiveness of the Gradual Release of Responsibility model across various educational settings and objectives.

Implementation Advice for Teachers

Implementing the Gradual Release Model effectively in the classroom requires strategic planning and practical application. Begin by incorporating background knowledge into your lesson plan to ensure students have a solid foundation before introducing new concepts. During the 'I Do' phase, clearly model the task, breaking it down into manageable steps. Use think-aloud strategies to make your thought process visible and understandable.

In the 'We Do' phase, engage students with interactive activities that encourage collaboration and participation. Pair students for peer learning or conduct small group discussions to reinforce the instructional strategy. This phase should be highly interactive, with the teacher providing scaffolding and immediate feedback.

Finally, during the 'You Do' phase, allow students to practice independently, applying what they have learned. Circulate the room to monitor progress and offer support where needed. Incorporate formative assessments to gauge understanding and adjust your teaching accordingly.

Practical Tips:

Lesson Planning: Integrate background knowledge and clearly define each phase of the Gradual Release Model in your lesson plans.

Modeling: Use visual aids and step-by-step demonstrations during the 'I Do' phase.

Interactive Activities: Design engaging tasks for the 'We Do' phase that promote student interaction and collaboration.

Independent Practice: Provide opportunities for students to work independently, offering guidance and support as needed.

Assessment: Use formative assessments to check for understanding and tailor future instruction based on student needs.

By thoughtfully incorporating these strategies, teachers can create a supportive learning environment that gradually releases responsibility to students, fostering independence and confidence.

The 'I Do, We Do, You Do' model, often known as the Gradual Release of Responsibility, is a versatile instructional strategy that spans across age groups and subjects. This teaching strategy comprises three stages: modeling (I Do), scaffolding (We Do), and independent practice (You Do), each acting as a cognitive scaffold for students.

Rather than being confined to a single lesson, this model can extend gracefully across multiple lessons, making it a powerful tool in a teacher's repertoire. For instance, in a math class learning quadratic equations, the teacher begins by demonstrating the process (I Do), then collaborates with the students to solve problems together (We Do), and finally allows the students to tackle the equations independently (You Do). This approach not only builds student confidence but also ensures the skill is firmly rooted in their cognitive framework.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the strategies and theoretical foundations that underpin this model. We will examine its effectiveness, supported by research indicating that 80% of students taught using this method show significant improvement in skill mastery. As education expert John Hattie aptly stated, "The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery."

Key Insights:

The 'I Do, We Do, You Do' model is adaptable, suitable for all age groups and subjects.

It follows a three-step process: modeling, scaffolding, and independent practice.

This model aligns with various learning theories, providing a robust framework for effective teaching.

A Closer Look at Each of the Stages

I Do (The modelling Stage)

This stage is characterised by explicit instruction as the teacher demonstrates the new skill, which they have broken down into small and understandable steps.

The teacher may choose to adopt the 'silent teacher' approach to avoid cognitive overload during this phase. This involves modelling each step of the new skill in silence, allowing students to only focus on what the teacher is doing.

Once the teacher has finished, they will explain each step of their method, allowing students to fully focus on what the teacher is saying.

We Do (The Facilitation Stage)

In this stage, students are supported to achieve the correct answer as they work collaboratively with each other or with their teacher. This stage will typically involve 3-5 questions, each broken down into achievable steps, will the level of teacher guidance decreasing with each question.

The teacher may choose to employ interactive activities during this stage so that all students can be involved in answering every question.

You Do (The Independent Practice Stage)

This is the time for students to put into practice what they have learnt during the first two stages by practising the new skills independently.

There will still be opportunities for students to ask questions and for individual students to receive additional support from their teacher during this stage, but it is expected that most students will be able to work through the questions independently.

Applying 'I Do, We Do, You Do' to Classroom Practice

To successfully apply the 'I do, we do, you do' approach in the classroom, teachers must have sound subject-specific pedagogical knowledge in order identify the key concepts required to meet the learning outcomes. They will need to understand the typical misconceptions that students experience in relation to the topic and be able to predict any preconceived assumptions that the students may bring with them to the lesson.

The teacher can then use these to inform their choice of questions for the modeling stage; a well chosen example can quickly help students to correct an existing misconception. Once the questions or demonstrations have been selected, the teacher must then be able to break down the new skill into a set of step by step instructions that they will then model in the first part of the lesson.

In the second stage of the lesson, students will complete a task with guidance from the teacher or answer questions with the help of their peers and their teacher. The choice of question at this stage is also very important. The questions should begin by mimicking the ones covered in the first stage of the lesson, possibly with scaffolding that becomes less prescriptive with each subsequent question.

In the 'we do' stage, it is also normal to increase the level of sophistication of each question to see whether the acquisition of skills is sufficient to tackle novel contexts before starting independent practice. During the final stage of the 'I do, we do, you do' process, students should be confident with the new skill and able to answer questions on their own.

It is very likely that the tasks set at this stage will be matched to students' needs, allowing for differentiation. Some students may still need scaffolding, but should be able to answer the questions independently with this extra support. Depending on the level of complexity of the new skill, it may be necessary to repeat the 'I do, we do, you do' cycle multiple times before achieving mastery.

For art projects, a new cycle may be needed for each new medium that is introduced. In mathematics, separate cycles will be needed to find the lengths and angles with trigonometry.

The Benefits of 'I Do, We Do, You Do'

1. Confident Learners

Students find the learning process less intimidating using the 'I do, we do, you do' approach, and consequently the classroom engagement increases when the approach is used regularly.

Students learn that they will become confident with new topics and that there will be no expectation for them to work independently until they reach that point. They also learn that the 'I do, we do, you do' approach works and will be more willing to engage with it for that reason.

2. Mastery

'I do, we do, you do' particularly well when students' initial level of understanding is low but they need to master a new skill and answer related questions in an unfamiliar context.

Modelling and using scaffolding means that progress is rapid and students can quickly move from being a novice to an expert, even for topics that are completely new to them.

3. Replicability

While the 'I do, we do, you do' approach offers many benefits to students, is is also beneficial to teachers due to its replicability.

Once a new skill has been broken down into key concepts and appropriate questions have been chosen for modeling and scaffolding, they are usually appropriate for each different cohort and similar students in different schools.

This means that teachers can share the workload of creating resources for an 'I do, we do, you do' lesson by sharing the lesson content with colleagues in different schools.

The Gradual Release of Responsibility Model

The 'I do, we do, you do' method of teaching is part of the gradual release model, which describes how the responsibility moves from the teacher to students as the lesson progresses. Earlier stages in the gradual release strategy are characterised by direct instruction, teacher-led questioning, and instructional scaffolds.

The responsibility for learning during the first stage is almost entirely on the teacher; students are only required to engage with and attend to the lesson. In the 'we do' stage, students and teachers share the responsbility for learning, with students taking the greater share when the teacher introduces a decrease in scaffolds.

In the final stage, the majority of the responsibility falls to the students as they complete independent practice. Teachers still have a role to play in this stage, such as directing students to the most appropriate questions or activity to meet their needs, and providing feedback on attempts. The gradual release of responsibility model proposes a fourth stage to the 'I do, we do, you do' teaching practice, which is reflection and feedback.

It encourages students to employ metacognitive strategies to analyse the success of their learning and identify areas for further improvement, with the goal of achieving a deeper level of understanding in the future.

Links to Rosenshine's Principles of Instruction

At a conceptual level, there are many parallels between Rosenshine's principles of instruction and the 'I do, we do, you do' approach to direct skill development. The six most prominent examples of this are described below.

Present New Material in Small Steps

This principle of instruction is particularly relevant to the 'I do' stage. Teachers must consider the best way to break down new material or concepts into smaller steps to demonstrate during the 'I do' stage of the lesson.

In most cases, the teacher will probably deliver a full 'I do, we do, you do' cycle for each step in the acquisition of a new skill.

Provide Models and Worked Examples

This principle is central to the 'I do, we do, you do' approach. The 'I do' stage is often referred to as the modelling stage, where teachers give a live demonstration of the new skill. In the 'we do' stage, students are normally presented with worked examples that have had some parts removed for them to fill in collaboratively.

Provide Scaffolding and Support

The 'we do' stage requires high levels of scaffolding and support at the beginning, with each of these decreasing as students become more confident with the new skill.

This stage is particularly important from the perspective of the gradual release of responsibility model, as it is the stage when the greatest change of responsibility occurs.

In the 'I do' stage, the vast majority of responsibility lies with the teacher. By the time students reach the 'you do' stage, this imbalance has completely reversed. It is by gradually reducing the initially high levels of scaffolding and support that this shift in responsibility can successfully occur.

Ask Lots of Questions

By its nature, lots of questions are asked during any lesson that employs the 'I do, we do, you do' technique. In Rosenshine's principles, 'ask lots of questions' refers to getting feedback from all students about their current level of understanding so that teachers can make adjustments to the lesson and all students can continue to make progress.

This is particularly important in the 'we do' stage of the gradual release of responsibility model because students' answers will reveal whether they are ready to move on to independent practice.

Obtain a High Success Rate

Rosenshine recommended that students experience approximately an 80% success rate. For all students to experience a high success rate, it is essential that work is differentiated, which occurs in the independent practice section of the 'I do, we do, you do' model.

Furthermore, success is built into this model through the 'we do' stage. Following a period of direct instruction, students are presented with questions that are heavily scaffolded in the first instance and answered in collaboration with their teachers.

This means that everyone can experience a high success rate in the 'we do' stage before moving onto the 'I do' stage where questions can be differentiated to ensure continued success.

Encourage Independent Practice

Rosenshine recommends that students have the opportunity to practice new skills through independent practice. However, for independent practice to be successful, the lesson must be structured in a way that ensures students have the necessary skills to work on their own.

The 'I do, we do, you do' is designed to do exactly that, which means that students are able to fully benefit from independent practice that was recommended in Rosenshine's principles of instruction.

Integrating the I Do, We Do, You Do Approach

Let's consider three hypothetical situations integrating the "I do, we do, you do" model into teaching practice. As we have seen, this model, also known as the Gradual Release of Responsibility, is a powerful pedagogical approach that scaffolds learning for students.

Teaching Fractions in Math: In the "I do" phase, you could demonstrate how to find the common denominator. During the "we do" phase, involve the class in solving a problem collectively. Finally, in the "you do" phase, students can tackle problems independently, perhaps in a game-based format to boost engagement.

Analyzing a Poem in English: Start by reading a stanza and discussing its themes ("I do"). Then, read the next stanza together, asking guided questions to help students analyze it ("we do"). Finally, students can analyze the remaining stanzas in groups or individually ("you do").

Understanding Photosynthesis in Science: First, you could show a video or perform a live experiment to demonstrate the process ("I do"). Then, involve the class in a collaborative activity where they simulate the process using props ("we do"). Finally, students could create their own diagrams or models ("you do").

Here's a brief summary of five studies that shed light on the effectiveness of the Gradual Release of Responsibility model in classroom learning:

A study by N. Lin and Hsiao-fang Cheng in 2010 found that the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model was effective for advanced elementary students' language learning, particularly in summary writing.

Mary B. Mcvee et al. in 2015 discussed how the model can be used for professional development of inservice and preservice teachers through video reflection.

L. Eutsler in 2021 found that integrating TPACK and the Gradual Release of Responsibility framework helped preservice teachers design literacy instruction with the iPad.

N. Frey and D. Fisher in 2010 mentioned that the model serves as scaffolds that students need to successfully accomplish tasks alongside the teacher.

Tara Concannon-Gibney and M. McCarthy in 2012 highlighted the positive aspects of the model in a professional development program, including modeling, practical application, and opportunities for discussion and reflection.

These studies collectively underscore the versatility and effectiveness of the Gradual Release of Responsibility model across various educational settings and objectives.

Implementation Advice for Teachers

Implementing the Gradual Release Model effectively in the classroom requires strategic planning and practical application. Begin by incorporating background knowledge into your lesson plan to ensure students have a solid foundation before introducing new concepts. During the 'I Do' phase, clearly model the task, breaking it down into manageable steps. Use think-aloud strategies to make your thought process visible and understandable.

In the 'We Do' phase, engage students with interactive activities that encourage collaboration and participation. Pair students for peer learning or conduct small group discussions to reinforce the instructional strategy. This phase should be highly interactive, with the teacher providing scaffolding and immediate feedback.

Finally, during the 'You Do' phase, allow students to practice independently, applying what they have learned. Circulate the room to monitor progress and offer support where needed. Incorporate formative assessments to gauge understanding and adjust your teaching accordingly.

Practical Tips:

Lesson Planning: Integrate background knowledge and clearly define each phase of the Gradual Release Model in your lesson plans.

Modeling: Use visual aids and step-by-step demonstrations during the 'I Do' phase.

Interactive Activities: Design engaging tasks for the 'We Do' phase that promote student interaction and collaboration.

Independent Practice: Provide opportunities for students to work independently, offering guidance and support as needed.

Assessment: Use formative assessments to check for understanding and tailor future instruction based on student needs.

By thoughtfully incorporating these strategies, teachers can create a supportive learning environment that gradually releases responsibility to students, fostering independence and confidence.