Rosenshine principle independent practice

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Welcome, future shapers of tomorrow. Let us explore the fascinating world of educational science, through a concept that is fundamental to effective teaching — Rosenshine's principle of independent practice. This is an excellent strategy to further assist students' mastery of new and complex concepts, highlighting the necessity of additional review to reinforce understanding.

Independent practice, under the lens of Rosenshine's principles, is a pivotal step that champions student comprehension of newly learned concepts. This crucial phase occurs after initial instruction and guided practice, providing students with ample opportunities to review, consolidate, and apply knowledge.

Venturing into the core of the Rosenshine principle independent practice, you will find its significance sprawls across three essential realms - reducing cognitive load, aiding automaticity and fluency, and lessening the strain on students' working memory.

Reducing cognitive load is a primary advantage of independent practice. Learners get the opportunity to grapple with newly-acquired knowledge and break them down into manageable chunks. This gradual information processing aids in embedding complex information into a learner's cognitive arsenal smoothly and efficiently.

Rosenshine principle independent practice - promotes self-reflection

Another critical aspect of independent practice is that it aids in achieving fluency and automation in a newly learnt skill. This principle emphasizes the importance of practice and repetition in bettering a skill until it becomes almost like a reflex, which has the added bonus of working to eliminate any hesitations of conscious thought.

This Rosenshine principle also helps limit stress on working memory. Once a skill or concept becomes automatic, it no longer requires significant mental effort, freeing up cognitive resources for higher-order thinking tasks.

The realm of Rosenshine principle independent practice embodies two critical components - students working independently and reaching a stage of knowing the material. This transition from scaffolded support to independent learning has the added advantage of nurturing budding life skills such as self-reflection.

Independent practice hinges on effective pedagogical balance. It is a result of meticulously constructed scaffolding, guiding students who have received enough prior learning and scaffolding to set them on the path of reflective self-learning. This shift is a subtle skill. It requires careful, adept manoeuvring by you as classroom teacher.


Students who are able to work independently practising new skills with confidence and competence indicates the successful progression of a learner from a novice needing guidance to an independent learner. This successful shift reduces students' reliance on teacher support and cultivates self-trust.

Knowing new material well really does become the primary goal in independent practice. The same material initially scaffolded and guided by the teacher is now well within a student's discretion. A high success rate on self-reviewed material leads ultimately to clarity and understanding that will embed the essential concepts and skills into a learners' long-term memory.

However, this shift from scaffolded support to independent practice should not occur in a rapid or abrupt way. The underlying principle insists that teacher led scaffold support be withdrawn ever so slowly with lots of review, allowing a more smooth and successful transition to independent work.

Picture a classroom resonating with the hum of independent work, where students complete challenging work by themselves. This scenario is not just a utopian dream, it's what the Rosenshine principle independent practice strives to achieve.

Independent practice strikes a harmonious chord between teacher-led instruction and student autonomy. It crystallizes into a seamless continuum of learning, progressing from explicit instruction, guided practice to the ultimate goal of individual tasks completed with minimal teacher guidance.

As a prospective teacher, understanding the Rosenshine principle independent practice will equip you not just with the ability to nurture independent learners but also in promoting a culture of continuing personal excellence and engaged learners.

Independent practice is the embodiment of teaching that fosters self-confidence and drives student outcomes. It uproots reliance and cultivates resilience, equipping learners to navigate the complexities of learning independently.

Rosenshine principle independent practice - fosters endurance

Independent practice fosters endurance, problem-solving, and self-efficacy. It encourages learners to take charge of their learning, enhancing the acquisition of knowledge, and cementing the learning at a deeper cognitive level.

Successful implementation of the Rosenshine principle independent practice paves the way for students to go beyond memorization and simple rote learning towards true understanding. It encourages self-reflection, enabling learners to assess their strengths and suggest areas of improvement.

Independent practice promotes flexibility and prompts students to learn at their own pace, reinforcing the acquistion of new material with confidence until full comprehension of new concpets is achieved. This autonomous approach empowers learners to take responsibility at a tender age for their learning journey, which is an important thing in a young person's life.

Rosenshine principle independent practice - summary

By embracing the Rosenshine principle of independent practice, teachers have the potential to ignite a spirit of curiosity and discovery in students, transforming classrooms from mere information transmission hubs to vibrant spaces of active and engaged learning.

Independent practice is not just about academic achievement; it imparts invaluable life skills - initiative, resilience, self-control, and long-term planning. These are skills that will benefit students well beyond the confines of the classroom.

The gradual release of responsibility model that underpins the concept of independent practice encourages the development of metacognitive skills—where students learn to regulate their thinking pattern, which leads to improved academic outcomes and the fostering of higher-order cognitive skills.

In the world of the Rosenshine principle of independent practice, the classroom brims with an atmosphere of individual focus and cooperative attainment. It pulses with the vibrant hopes of learners on an exciting journey of self-discovery, guided initially, certainly, but learners eventually brave the terrain of knowledge independently.

Can you imagine a classroom that resonates with such energy, passion, and empowerment? This vision is within reach to all teachers on the science of learning journey.


Sherrington, T.  (2019) Rosenshine Principles in Action, John Catt Publications LTD

Updated 10/2023