Rosenshine’s 10 Principles of Instruction and Bedrock’s approach to evidence-informed teaching

With the current drive towards evidence-informed teaching there’s a wealth of pedagogical research available, but we know that translating it into the classroom can be a struggle. At Bedrock, we’ve based our online curriculum’s unique learning process on extensive academic research into both teaching and vocabulary instruction best practice.

Acclaimed educational psychologist Barak Rosenshine’s ten Principles of Instruction (2012) have recently become essential reading for teachers. Drawing on cognitive science, research into effective instructional procedures, and studies of successful teachers, Rosenshine sets out a methodical approach with concrete examples of how each technique can be used in the classroom.

By using the principles, successful teaching enables new material to move into students’ long-term memory, linked to their existing knowledge. This means when students are faced with a new problem, they can automatically recall information they already know to help solve it. Plus, they don’t have to spend their limited processing power – or working memory – on just remembering facts.

Bedrock’s learning process ingrains academic ‘Tier 2’ words in students’ vocabularies so they can use them in speaking, writing and reading. It draws from a wealth of educational research, including Rosenshine’s ten principles. We explain the principles and how Bedrock’s learning process reflects each one.

Rosenshine’s 10 Principles of Instruction

1. Begin each lesson with a short review of previous learning

What the research says:
New information needs to be reviewed regularly to make sure it is retained in long-term memory and can be recalled instantly. Students who are able to fluently recall knowledge can understand new material and solve problems more easily.

What we do:
At the start of every Bedrock Vocabulary lesson, students complete a variety of review tasks, practising the language they’ve already learned. This sustained recapping means words enter students’ long-term memory for lifelong retention and automatic recall.

2. Present new material in small steps, with student practice after each step

What the research says:
Our minds’ ability to effectively process information is relatively small, which means teaching large amounts of new material at once is confusing. Getting students to practice working on small portions of new information until they are confident before moving onto the next step is a much more effective approach.

What we do:
Bedrock’s extensive vocabulary curriculum is split into easily digestible chunks. Each twenty-minute lesson uses a variety of activities to teach three to five words, giving students ample time to practise each new word before moving on to the next.

3. Ask questions and check student responses

What the research says:
Answering questions is one of the most effective ways for students to practice new material, and teachers can check responses to measure students’ understanding.

What we do:
Our lessons require students to answer a range of questions about each new word they learn. Bedrock’s algorithm assesses students’ understanding and enters words into ‘Words I’m Learning’ and ‘Words I’ve Learned’ lists on their profiles. Teachers can use their dashboard to check individual student and whole class progress.

4. Provide models and examples

What the research says:
To learn effectively, students need to see new information in action. Providing models and examples helps them to focus on each step involved in understanding the new material, so they can apply it to new situations in independent practice.

What we do:
Bedrock provides multiple student-friendly examples of how each new word might be used, and embeds them in high-quality texts. Learning is guided by drag-and-drop and multiple-choice activities to structure students’ understanding before they tackle original writing tasks.

5. Guide student practice

What the research says:
Guiding students through their rehearsal of new material by asking questions and structuring activities is a hallmark of effective teaching. It helps learners to accurately store information in their long-term memory, preparing them for independent work.

What we do:
Bedrock thoroughly prepares students for independent writing with a series of structured activities that guide them through new words, including comprehension questions, connecting words to their synonyms and antonyms, thinking about metaphors, and activities with images.

6. Check student understanding

What the research says:
To make sure students are learning new information accurately and not misunderstanding, it’s important to frequently check their responses. This ensures students don’t accidentally ‘learn’ something incorrectly.

What we do:
After automatically marking each activity, Bedrock provides students with detailed text and audio feedback that explains the reasoning behind each answer. From their dashboard, teachers and parents can see which words students are struggling with at a glance and provide support accordingly.

7. Obtain a high success rate

What the research says:
When students get most of the answers right, it suggests work is being pitched at the right level and they’re learning without accidentally practising errors.

What we do:
Bedrock matches content with individual students’ reading levels to make sure every learner is challenged appropriately. Errors are automatically corrected throughout the learning process, and if a learner achieves less than 60% on a lesson, the lesson is retaken.

8. Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks

What the research says:
Scaffolds are temporary supportive structures that help learners, such as model answers and structured activities. In effective teaching, support is slowly withdrawn to enable students to use new knowledge independently yet correctly.

What we do:
At the heart of Bedrock Vocabulary is a sequence of structured practice activities that teach new words in multiple contexts. The final activity of the learning sequence removes the scaffolds by asking students to use the new word in some original writing.

9. Require and monitor independent practice

What the research says:
When students practise new material independently, they begin to process it into long-term memory. Monitoring this practice makes sure independent work is free from misunderstandings.

What we do:
After they’re taught each new word, students complete a writing activity. All writing is entered into their personal vocabulary notebook, which can be monitored by teachers and parents.

10. Engage students in regular review

What the research says:
Regular practice, including consistent review of learned material, is the best way to fix new knowledge in long-term memory. This means students can put their full brain power towards analysis and not towards simply recalling information.

What we do:
Bedrock systematically reteaches students newly learned words. This ensures long-term retention, helping them use new vocabulary in their speaking, writing and reading. Our reteaching algorithm ensures students are regularly exposed to this newly learned language and regular low-stakes testing embeds it in their long-term memory.

Rosenshine’s principles in your teaching

Have you used Rosenshine’s principles when teaching vocabulary to your students? How have they informed your school’s vocabulary curriculum? We’d love to hear from you – find us on Twitter, or email us at

To experience Bedrock in action and see how it could benefit your students, start a free trial with one of our specialists.

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