Teaching syntax or procedures to use in methodologies as strategies to teach & learn


This page includes summaries of different teaching syntax or procedures to use in different methodologies as strategies for teaching and learning.

1. Inductive-Thinking Model : Syntax

  1. Determine a focus and boundaries of the inquiry and clarify goals.
  2. Collect Data and determine how it should be presented and enumerated.
  3. Group, label, and categorize data set and share results.
  4. Labeling, Categorizing. Form concepts from classification and analysis of the data to identify what the data represent and their attributes.
  5. Interpret Data
  6. Identify Critical Relationships
  7. Exploring Relationships
  8. Make Inferences
  9. Make explanation and conclusions
  10. Apply Principles
  11. Predict Consequences, Explain Unfamiliar Phenomena, Hypothesize
  12. Explain and/or Support the Predictions and Hypotheses
  13. Verify the Prediction

2. Concept Attainment Model: Syntax

Phase One: Presentation of Data and Identification of Concept

  • Teacher presents labeled examples.
  • Learners compare attributes in positive and negative examples.
  • Learners generate and test hypotheses.
  • Learners state a definition according to the essential attributes.

Phase Two: Testing Attainment of the Concept

  • Learners identify additional unlabeled examples as yes or no.
  • Teacher confirms hypotheses, names, concept, and restates definitions according to essential attributes.
  • Learners generate examples.

Phase Three: Analysis of Thinking Strategies

  • Learners describe thoughts.
  • Learners discuss role of hypotheses and attributes.
  • Learners discuss type and number of hypotheses.

3. Picture-Word Inductive Model: Syntax

Select a picture.

  • Have learners identify what they see in the picture.
  • Label the picture parts identified. (The teacher draws a line from the picture to the word, says the word, spells the word and points to each letter with her or his finger or the marker, says the word again, and students spell the word with the teacher.)
  • Read/review the picture-word chart.
  • Have learners classify the words into a variety of groups. Identify common concepts in the words to emphasize with the class as a whole. The learners “read” the words by referring to the chart if the word is not in their sight vocabulary.
  • Read/review the picture-word chart (say, spell, and say)
  • Add words, if desired, to the picture-word chart and to the word banks.
  • Have students think of a title for their picture-word chart. (The teacher leads students to think about the “evidence” and information in their chart and about what they want to say about this information.)
  • Have learners generate a sentence, sentences, or a paragraph directly related to their picture-word chart.
  • Learners may classify group-generated sets of sentences.
  • The teacher models putting the sentences together into a good paragraph.
  • Read/review the sentences or paragraphs.

5. Science: Inquiry Model: Syntax

Phase One: Area of investigation is posed to learners.

Phase Two: Learners structure the problem.

Phase Three: Learners identify the problem in the investigation.

Phase Four: Learners speculate on ways to clear up the difficulty.

See also inquiry

7. Inquiry Training Model: Syntax

Phase One: Confrontation with the Problem

  • Explain inquiry procedures.
  • Present discrepant event.

Phase Two: Data Gathering – Verification

  • Verify the nature of objects and conditions.
  • Verify the occurrence of the problem situation.

Phase Three: Data Gathering - Experimentation

  • Isolate relevant variables.
  • Hypothesize (and test) causal relationships.

Phase Four: Organizing, Formulation an Explanation - Formulate rules or explanations.

Phase Five: Analysis of the Inquiry Process - Analyze inquiry strategy and develop more effective ones.

8. Memory Model: Syntax

Phase One: Attending to the Material - Use techniques of underlining, listing, reflecting.

Phase Two: Developing Connections - Make material familiar and develop connections using key word, substitute –word, and link-word system techniques or mnemonic like knucle mnemonic for months or Roy G Biv for the spectrum colors.

Phase Three: Expanding Sensory Images - Use techniques of ridiculous association and exaggeration. Revise images.

Phase Four: Practicing Recall - Practice recalling the material until it is completely learned.

Sample mnemonics

Days in a month:

Month knuckle mnemonic

Colors in the spectrum or rainbow:

Roy G Biv - Red, organge, yellow, green, blue, indigo, & violet

9. Synectics Model: - Creating Something New: Syntax

Phase One: Description of the Present Condition - Teacher has learners describe situation or topic as they see it no.

Phase Two: Direct Analogy - Learners suggest direct analogies, select one, and explore (describe) it further.

Phase Three: Personal Analogy - Learners “become” the analogy they selected in phase two.

Phase Four: Compressed Conflict - Learners take their descriptions from phases two and three, suggest several compressed conflicts, and choose one.

Phase Five: Direct Analogy - Learners generate and select another direct analogy, based on the compressed conflict.

Phase Six: Reexamination of the Original Task - Teacher has students move back to original task or problem and use the last analogy and/or the entire synectics experience.

10. Advance Organizer Model: Syntax

Phase One: presentation of Advance Organizer

  • Clarify the aims of the lesson.
  • Present organizer.
  • Identify defining attributes.
  • Give examples or illustrations where appropriate.
  • Provide context.
  • Repeat.
  • Prompt awareness of learners relevant knowledge and experience.

Phase Two: Presentation of Learning Task or Material

  • Present material.
  • Make logical order of learning material explicit.
  • Link material to organizer.

Phase Three: Strengthening Cognitive Organization

  • Use principles of integrative reconciliation.
  • Elicit critical approach to subject matter.
  • Clarify ideas.
  • Apply ideas actively (such as by testing them).

11. Group Investigation Model of Learning and Teaching: Syntax

Phase One - Learners encounter puzzling situation (planned or unplanned).

Phase Two - Learners explore reactions to the situation.

Phase Three - Learners formulate study task and organize for study (problem definition, role, assignments, etc.).

Phase Four - Independent and group study.

Phase Five - Learners analyze progress and process.

Phase Six - Recycle activity.

See also inquiry

12. Role Playing Model: Syntax

Phase One: Warm Up the Group

  • Identify or introduce problem.
  • Make problem explicit.
  • Interpret problem story, explore issues.
  • Explain role playing.

Phase Two: Select Participants

  • Analyze roles.
  • Select role players.

Phase Three: Set the Stage

  • Set line of action.
  • Restate roles.
  • Get inside problem situation.

Phase Four: Prepare the Observers

  • Decide what to look for.
  • Assign observation tasks.

Phase Five: Enact

  • Begin role play.
  • Maintain role play.
  • Break role play.

Phase Six: Discuss and Evaluate

  • Review action of role play (events, positions, realism).
  • Discuss major focus.
  • Develop next enactment.

Phase Seven: Reenact - Play revised roles; suggest next steps or behavioral alternatives.

Phase Eight: Discuss and Evaluate - As in phase six.

Phase Nine: Share Experiences and Generalize

  • Relate problem situation to real experience and current problems.
  • Explore general principles of behavior.
  • Source: Based on Fannie Shaftel and George Shaftel, Role Playing of Social
  • Values (Englewod Cliffs, N.J.:Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1967).

See also

13. Jurisprudential Inquiry Model: Syntax

Phase One: Orientation to the Case

  • Teacher introduces materials.
  • Teacher reviews facts.

Phase Two: Identifying the Issues

  • Learners synthesize facts into a public policy issue.
  • Learners select one policy issue for discussion.
  • Learners identify values and value conflicts.
  • Learners recognize underlying factual and definitional questions.

Phase Three: Taking Positions

  • Learners articulate a position.
  • Learners state basis of position in terms of the social value or consequences of the decision.

Phase Four: Exploring the Stance, Patterns of Argumentation

  • Establish the point at which value is violated (factual).
  • Prove the desirable or undesirable consequences of a position (factual).
  • Clarify the value conflict with analogies.
  • Set priorities. Assert priority of one value over another and demonstrate lack of gross violation of second value.

Phase Five: Refining and Qualifying the Positions

  • Learners state positions and reasons for positions, and examine a number f similar situation.
  • Learners qualify positions.

Phase Six: testing Factual Assumptions behind Qualified Positions

  • Identify factual assumptions and determine if they are relevant.
  • Determine the predicted consequences and examine their factual validity (will they actually occur?).

See also inquiry

14. Nondirective Model: Syntax

Phase One: Defining the Helping Situation - Teacher encourages free expression of feelings.

Phase Two: Exploring the Problem

  • Learner is encouraged to define problem
  • Teacher accepts and clarifies feelings.

Phase Three: Developing Insight

  • Learner discusses problem
  • Teacher supports student.

Phase Four: Planning and Decision Making

  • Learner plans initial decision making.
  • Teacher clarifies possible decisions.

Phase Five: Integration

  • Learner gains further insight and develops more positive actions.
  • Teacher is supportive.
  • Action Outside the Interview
  • Learner initiates positive actions.

15. Reciprocal Teaching

Reciprocal teaching is a conversation between two or more people. It can be teachers and students or students and other students. In a narrow sense it is often referenced to reading and segments of text. However, in theory it is not that narrowly defined.

The reciprocal dialogue can have four steps:

  1. Summarizing,
  2. Question asking,
  3. Clarifying, and
  4. Predicting.

Each person or groups of people take turns sharing their ideas for each of the steps, and may repeat the steps until their ideas are in agreement with what each other is saying or claiming (reciprocating understanding).


Each group identifies the necessary and sufficient information with respect to the idea being discussed or the text or other media being explored. The process can begin with defining vocabulary or supporting information and moving to how those ideas are related or combined to create concepts and big ideas. Text can be summarized across sentences, paragraphs, and chapters or complete stories. Media can be summarized with each of the different kinds of information being analyzed and combined to a whole multimedia event. Other ideas can be reviewed based on evidence and the explanations claimed about those observations.

Question generating

All members generate question. Questions about information that may be missing or not completely understood. Information that students or teachers have about ideas, interpretations, analysis, and explanations others have made.


Each member attempts to clarify their understanding or answers of the other person or group members. This is a collective effort and not the responsibility of one person. Clarification is based on actual information. This can be with actual real life observations or citing information within media. It is essential all questions and conflicting information is resolved based on observational information. Literal interpretations are made with precise occurrences that support an idea. Inferences are also supported in this manner by identification of supporting information and how that information is connected to make an inference. Similarly analysis, interpretive, and evaluative information first identifies what criteria is being used to make an analysis, evaluation, or interpretation and matching it to actual real life observations or information within media.


All members should predict how the information can generate new ideas or provide for new understandings. This can be predicting what will happen in real life events or where a plot is heading in stories or what might happen at the conclusion of a media event or other situation. This helps to confirm the power of learning and connect learning to the real world.


Palincsar and Brown (1985) have conducted a series of studies with adult tutors working with middle school students in pairs with reading comprehension. The effectiveness was evaluated based on reading passages and answering 10 comprehension questions from recall. Treatment had students complete five of these passages before reciprocal teaching instruction began and one during each day of instruction. Performance on these assessment passages indicated that all but one of the experimental students achieved 70 percent accuracy for four out of five consecutive days. Whereas the control group had no one achieve criterion performance. In addition, there was improvement of independence and summary quality: write summaries, predict the kinds of questions teachers and tests ask, and detection of incongruities in text. Finally, these improvements were reflected in social studies and science classes. Similar improvements have been shown possible with larger classes.

16. Role Play & Role Reversal: Steps and Suggestions

Role play and role play Reversals

  1. Have the students role-play the events leading to and causing a conflict.
  2. Freeze the role-play at the point the conflict begins, switch roles, and continue.
  3. Stop when you think the players might understand the other's point of view.

Discuss the issues.

  1. Ask Student A to present Student B's wants, feelings, and reasoning.
  2. Ask Student B whether Student A was accurate.
  3. Ask Student B to present Student A's wants, feelings, and reasoning.
  4. Ask Student A whether Student B was accurate.

Change chairs or hats.

Sample Role Play Steps

  • Step 1: Warm up – Present a problem, providing examples, and have students predict what might happen.
  • Step 2: Select participants – Identify and describe the characters and their characteristics. Ask for student volunteers or assign roles. Careful assigning a role that might put a student in an uncomfortable situation or reinforce a stereotype.
  • Step 3: Set the stage – Establish and describe a plot (sequence of action), setting and review the impact they might have on the roles.
  • Step 4: Prepare the observers – Focus on how the whole group can stay involved. May assign the audience specific tasks. For example, analyze and evaluate the realism of the role playing, respond to the effectiveness of different behaviors and actions the role players’ took, the consequences, the different ways of thinking the characters might have used, and the feelings of the different characters being portrayed.
  • Step 5: Enact – The players assume the roles and spontaneously “role play” the situation from beginning to end.
  • Step 6: Discuss and Evaluate – Review the action of the role playing, discuss the focus, and suggest ideas for another enactment. Ask about actions, consequences, and feelings of different characters.
  • Step 7: Reenact – New interpretations of roles are shared and new possibilities for causes and effects are explored in this step.
  • Step 8: Discuss and Evaluate repeat Step 6.
  • Step 9: Share and Generalize – The problem situation role played is related to children’s current problems and the real experience in a non-threatening way.

Steps Adapted from: Models of Teaching. 8th edition: Bruce Joyce, Marsha Weil, & Emily Calhoun (2009). Pearson Education Inc.

See sample plan with script - preschool classroom management issue ...

17. Direct Instruction Model: Syntax

Phase One: Orientation

  • Teacher establishes content of the lesson.
  • Teacher reviews previous learning.
  • Teacher establishes lesson objectives.
  • Teacher establishes the procedures for the lesson.

Phase Two: Presentation

  • Teacher explains/demonstrates new concepts of skill.
  • Teacher provides visual representation of the task.
  • Teacher checks for understanding.

Phase Three: Structured Practice

  • Teacher leads groups through practice examples in lock step.
  • Students respond to questions.
  • Teacher provides corrective feedback for errors and reinforces correct practice.

Phase Four: Guided Practice

  • Learners practice semi-independently.
  • Teacher circulates, monitoring student practice.
  • Teacher provides feedback through praise, prompt, and leave.

Phase Five: Independent Practice

  • Learners practice independently at home or in class.
  • Feedback is delayed.
  • Independent practices occur several times over an extended period.

Other direct models

Madeline Hunter, Instructional Theory into Practice (ITIP) seven instructional steps or mastery learning.

  1. Anticipatory set is used to prepare students for the lesson by setting the students' minds for instruction. This is achieved by asking a question or making statements to pique interest, create mental images, review information, focus student attention, and initiate the learning process.
  2. Stating the objective to students alerts them to what they will need to do and the purpose of the lesson. What they will learn, be able to do at the end of the lesson, why it is important, how it will help them. 
  3. Instructional input is where the student gains the knowledge needed to achieve the objective. Information is provided so students will be able to achieve the objective. 
  4. Modeling is when the instructor, or student(s), demonstrates how to achieve the objective, provides examples of what the objective looks like or the product students are to create.
  5. Check for understanding is when the teacher checks to see if the students understand the concept, procedure to achieve the objective, and how to implement the procedure to achieve the objective.
  6. Guided Practice is when students do the objective under the guidance of a support system that can assure success by providing encouragement and immediate remediation as required.
  7. Independent practice is when students are capable to practice what they learn, without support to gain skill, fluency and flexibility in use of the achieved objective.
  8. Closure reviews, summarizes, and extends what has been learned. May tie the beginning of the lesson to the end. Resolves all issues and ends the lesson. All students should know it is time to move on to something else.

While these elements are sequential, Hunter has stated that they are a guide for instruction and teachers can combine or eliminate steps to meet the needs of their learners. Further teachers must constantly assess and evaluate learners to adjust on the fly what they do and sometimes return to previous steps and reteach.

Direct Instruction Procedure for Teaching Skills (social, ...)

1. Introduction:

  • Select a skill (social, ... ).
  • Ask the students what they know about the skill.
  • Write all of the students' ideas.
  • Ask questions to help clarify what the students have suggested. This is an introduction to clarify what students know. Don't teach yet, that's coming.

2. Mini lecture:

  • Define the skill.
  • Explain it.
  • Present a written list or procedure of steps, to use as a guide during the mini lecture, and for students to use to implement and review during feedback.
  • Tell how to implement the skill.
  • Give rationale for its effective use.

3. Model:

  • Give a clear detailed presentation (live, video, or film) of the skill.
  • Use self talk.
  • Note how the model fits with the procedure or list of steps.
  • Present a chart with what it looks like, what it sounds like, and what it feels like.
  • Quiz students over presentation and procedure.
  • Review as necessary.

4. Role play:

  • Use groups of two, or groups of three with one group observer.
  • Increase the size of the group and have students offer suggestions.
  • Have students demonstrate for the class and critique their actions.
  • Move from self talk to self thought.
  • Consider age appropriate.
  • Continually review until students internalize the skill.

5. Feed back:

  • Total peer participation.
  • Have the groups list what was good, what could be improved (tips and hints), and what questions they have about the skill.
  • Step by step analysis and edit procedure as necessary.
  • Give honest encouragement.
  • Consider alternative approaches.

6. Reinforcement:

  • Specific praise, encouragement, and feedforward.
  • Visual cues and prompting or re instruct.
  • Weekly review to expand and connect previous skills.
  • Review in class use and can expand to have students report appropriate out of class or school use of the skill.

Final suggestions

  • Incorporate into a local system: in class, homework, reports, practice outside of the classroom, task cards
  • Write remarks in a notebook, journal, scrapbook, write about who am I, individual conferences to encourage and evaluate personal growth
  • Write a discharge packet with some of the same activities but reduce the time the teacher is involved.

18. Simulation Model: Syntax

Phase One: Orientation

  • Present the broad topic of the simulation and the concepts to be incorporated into the simulation activity at hand.
  • Explain simulation and gaming.
  • Give overview of the simulation.

Phase Two: Participant Training

  • Set up the scenario (rules, roles, procedures, scoring, types of decisions to be made, goals).
  • Assign roles.
  • Hold abbreviated practice session.

Phase Three: Simulation Operations

  • Conduct game activity and game administration.
  • Obtain feedback and evaluation (of performance and effects of decisions).
  • Clarify misconceptions.
  • Continue simulation.

Phase Four: Participant Debriefing (Any or All of the Following Activities)

  • Summarize events and perceptions.
  • Summarize difficulties and insights.
  • Analyze process.
  • Compare simulation activity to the real world.
  • Relate simulation activity to course content.
  • Appraise and redesign the simulation.

19. Philosophy for Children in the classroom

P4C is a whole - class intervention which aims to stimulate classroom dialogue in response to children’s own questions about shared stories, films, and other stimuli to allow pupils to think and ask questions.

With guidance from a teacher, the dialogue is focused not only on the chosen questions but also on the assumptions that lie behind the answers and the criteria used to make judgements.

P4C aims to help pupils’ to think logically, to voice their opinion, to use appropriate language in argumentation, and to listen to the views and opinions of others.

Ten phases of P4C are:

  1. Getting set
  2. Presentation of stimulus
  3. Thinking time
  4. Question making
  5. Question airing
  6. Question choosing
  7. First thoughts
  8. Building
  9. Last thoughts
  10. Review

1. Getting set Pupils and teacher sit in a circle so everyone can see and hear one another. The teacher negotiates guidelines on conduct, and the aims of enquiry with children or reminds them of previously negotiated guidelines. Sometimes the guidelines are revised in the light of ongoing dialogue. Warm-up activities are sometimes used to aid co-operation, speaking, listening, and thinking.

2. Presentation of stimulus Education Endowment Foundation 10 Philosophy for Children The teacher introduces the planned material she has chosen in order to provoke pupils’ interest, puzzle them or prompt their sense of what is important. Stimuli intended for P4C should reference the sort of ‘big ideas’ – such as truth, fairness, rights, knowledge, and friendship – that are likely to excite philosophical dialogue. The range of stimuli used in P4C sessions includes short stories, poems, images, picture books, passages from novels, short video clips, newspaper articles, and material taken from other curriculum areas.

3. Thinking time A minute of silent, individual thinking followed by pupils in pairs sharing interesting issues and themes, or jotting down key words. The teacher often records some of the key words and ideas that emerge.

4. Question making The teacher may suggest a question based on the outcome of thinking time. This is appropriate if the children are very young or new to P4C. More commonly, the class is split into small groups and asked to decide on a question they think is interesting, worth discussing, and that requires an answer based on reasoned judgement.

5. Question airing Children present their group’s question so all can see and hear it. When all the questions are collected and recorded, children are invited to clarify, link, appreciate or evaluate the questions prior to choosing one for discussion.

6. Question choosing When the listing of questions is complete, the next phase is to select a one as a dialogue starter. The selection is made by pupils using one of a range of voting methods. Depending on the age of the children and the level of their experience of doing P4C, the teacher may help them with their selection.

7. First thoughts The teacher asks pupils to share their thoughts on the question with their thinking partner(s). The discussion floor is then open for all to share their views. The teacher is moderator of the group so their role is to ensure that all pupils have a chance to speak. Confident and talkative pupils are likely to dominate the discussion but the teacher must encourage all pupils both to speak and to listen so that all may contribute to the ‘community of enquiry’.

8. Building Pupils participate in the discussion, building on other pupils’ contributions, clarifying them, questioning them, and stating their own opinions. Whether agreeing or disagreeing the rule is to justify opinions with reasons. The teacher’s role at this stage is to support pupils’ reasoning, motivate them to question, and encourage them to take part in a dialogue with their peers. Teachers will often prompt pupils to make moves such as imagining alternatives and consequences, seeking evidence, quantifying with expressions like ‘all’, ‘some’ or ‘most’, offering examples and counter examples, and questioning assumptions. Teachers promote and model a stance of ‘fallibilism’ – willingness to amend or abandon one’s opinion in the face of a good argument to do so. Education Endowment Foundation 11 Philosophy for Children It is recommended in the P4C method to use some short gaps of silence or partner talk so that pupils can organise their thoughts and practise arguments with peers before sharing with the whole group. The teacher can also draw diagrams or make notes to keep track of significant arguments.

9. Last thoughts The closing of the session involves last words from all pupils. Pupils might have the same opinion as they had at the beginning, or their view could have changed as a result of the dialogue. Pupils are invited to sum up their views concisely and without contradiction from others. They can sum up their views in a few words. This activity could either be a verbal statement or for a detailed reflection whereby a teacher could ask pupils to write a summary of their views.

10. Review of the session The teacher invites reflective and evaluative comments about the enquiry with reference to broad criteria such as the guidelines the group has adopted (see phase 1). The teacher asks: ‘What went well?’ ‘What could we improve on?’ ‘What do we need to do next?’ The teacher could point to issues of pupils’ behaviour and turn-taking in the session and ask them to reflect on their progress. The review could include suggestions on what else needs to be focused in the next P4C sessions.


Source: Bruce Joyce, Marsha Weil and Emily Calhoun. Models of Teaching. eighth edition. (2009) Pearson Education.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
[ Home homeofbob.com & thehob.net ]