Principles of Instruction - Independent Practice 


Independent practice is also known as the “you do” component of an explicitly taught lesson. Independent practice provides an opportunity for students to practise the skills or concepts from the lesson. Its purpose is to increase students’ fluency, enabling for a more automatic recall of the skills that have been learnt as well as freeing up space in working memory so that higher-order tasks can be applied. Independent practice should be meaningful and directly link to the key concepts and learning intentions of the lesson. Students should be able to complete independent practice tasks with a minimum of teacher assistance. During this component of teaching however, teachers should still check for student understanding and provide effective feedback.

  Classroom Illustration

Teachers should ensure that independent practice tasks closely match to the learning intentions of the lesson. Tasks should not include skills or concepts that have not been previously taught. Independent practice tasks can be completed by students individually, in pairs or in small groups and is most beneficial when teachers ensure that it is structured. Teachers can use phrases such as: Class in a few minutes we will go over the answers to Problems 1 and 2. Students should know how to complete the tasks as well as understand the teacher’s expectations about their completion. 

Click to observe different examples of independent practice tasks.

  Personalised Learning

A barrier can be an obstacle or issue that may prevent students from successfully accessing and participating in the instructional practice. During Independent Practice, there can be some potential barriers that need to be considered for students with additional needs. These barriers may include the complexity of teacher instructions, access to resources and material and the modes of response such as written or verbal.

Some potential adjustments may include:

  • Ensuring the start point for the task is clearly indicated: e.g. a green dot.
  • Segmenting the task into sections, with teacher check-ins after each section.
  • Pairing the student with a buddy who could prompt the student to keep going.
  • Providing a sticky note with the steps of the task written, starting with simple achievable steps such as write your name at the top; and include regular hands up and check with the teacher or your buddy.
  • Providing an alternate visual sequence of the steps required to complete the activity.
  • Exploring the use of technology in providing access.


You do (Independent Practice) – Granite School District

This webpage provides specific information about independent practice with video examples and ideas about possible independent practice tasks.

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That Teacher Podcast: I do, We do, You do Protocol – Part 3

In this podcast, Josh Vine unpacks the ’you do’ component of the lesson. The role of teachers and monitoring as well as other key features such as extension work for students is also discussed.

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