Giving Clear Directions for a Task

Giving clear directions for a task in order to ensure student understanding.
Made by Arizona State University
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Create a safe and effective learning environment for students by clearly describing task expectations to help ensure student understanding.

Method Components

Teacher designs and implements an activity where he or she demonstrates the ability to give clear directions. Clear directions include several key characteristics, each of which should be incorporated in the activity. This can be done individually, in small groups, or in whole-group instruction.

Components of delivering directions

These components represent some of the basic elements that should be incorporated into the delivery of directions. They can be sequenced in a variety of ways and may work well in concert with other best practices components like modeling.

  1. Use student friendly language to explain concisely:
    1. WHAT students will do (What is the task?)
    2. WHY students will do it (What is the rationale for the task?)
    3. HOW exactly they will do it (How will the task be performed?)
  1. Check for understanding.
  2. Cue for the task to begin.

Suggested best practices

  • Model the directions.
  • Emphasize key parts of the task.
  • Post the directions.
  • Offer multiple opportunities to ask questions.
  • Provide a means for students to ask for help.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Langness, T., Hook, J., Provisor, C., Schadlow, B., & Winberry, K. (Eds.) (1998). First-Class Teacher: Success Strategies for New Teachers. Santa Monica, CA: Canter and Associates, Inc.
  • Shindler, J. (2012). Transformative Classroom Management: Positive Strategies to Engage All Students and Promote a Psychology of Success. New York: Jossey-Bass.
  • Utley, C. A., Kozleski, E., Smith, A., & Draper, I. L. (2002). Positive behavior support: A proactive strategy for minimizing behavior problems in urban multicultural youth. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 4, 196–207.


  • Giving Clear Directions for a Task Learning Module, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University,
    This is a module designed to build skill in giving clear directions for classroom tasks. You will learn how to craft and deliver clear directions that will help minimize off-task behavior and set students up for success. As you will learn in this module, the ability to give clear directions is not related only to academic success and positive classroom behavior, but also to issues of equity and fairness.
  • Micro-credential Planning Resource: Giving Clear Directions for a Task. Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University,
    This resource is a template for planning clear and explicit directions for a task.

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To demonstrate competence, please submit three different sets of artifacts in the boxes below (labeled Set 1, Set 2, and Set 3). A description of each component of the artifacts and the criteria by which they will be evaluated are below. To earn the micro-credential, each artifact must receive a “Yes” evaluation.

Each of the three sets of artifacts must include:

  • Part 1: a description of the context for the clear directions (see below)
  • Part 2: a hyperlink to a video of you administering the directions and students completing the task (see below)
  • Part 3: a self-evaluation of the experience (see below)

Each artifact must differ in some way. For example, you can change the task or content area for each artifact. Additionally, you may use this form to compile your artifact submission:

Part 1. Description of the context

(200-word limit for each description)

Contextual Questions: Please provide a contextual description for each video you submitted in part 2, each description should include the following:

  • Grade level and content area
  • Point in the school day or lesson where these directions are being given
  • Number of times you and the students have done this task before
  • Any teacher or student preparation that occurred prior to the activity
  • Any other information that will help give context for the video and planning document artifacts.

Part 2. Video evidence

Please submit a hyperlink linking to each video that demonstrates your competence in giving clear directions for a task and students completing that task. Each of your video submissions will be independently assessed based on the following rubric:

Part 3. Teacher self-evaluation

(300-word limit for each evaluation)

Please provide a self-evaluation for each video that you submitted in part 2. Each self-evaluation should have a clear and thorough response to the following questions.

  • How does this specific video footage demonstrate your competency in this skill?
    • Identify the three, different best practices that were used in delivering the clear directions, as seen in the video that support your claim of competency in this skill. Clearly describe how you proficiently used each strategy. Good evidence is objective, observable elements from the segment of video that was submitted.
    • Identify one, student-based piece of evidence from the video that support your claim of competency in this skill, i.e. “As highlighted in timestamp 1:00-2:30, only one student out of thirty had a question on how they needed to start the task.” Good evidence is objective, observable elements from the segment of video that was submitted.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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