Teaching new concepts to our children can be a difficult and frustrating process if you aren’t sure how to do it. Whether we are teaching them how to cook, clean the bathroom, or complete a new math concept there’s an effective way to do this that eases the student into mastery. It’s called, “I do, we do, you do” and works for any age level, and nearly every subject.
“I Do”: After you have laid the foundation of information the student needs, you demonstrate the process in its entirety. Explain the steps as you go so the student can see your thought process as you work it out. This step might need to be repeated a few times if the student still has questions. You might even need to demonstrate the process in a different manner. Once the student has a good grasp on what you’re doing, it is time to move on to the next step, “we do.”
“We Do”: This is the step in which you and the student complete the process together. This should be as hands-on and involved as you can make it. You may want to do this a few times so that you can be sure the student is comfortable with the process. This is also a step that can be revisited when the student needs to review the concept. Once the student feels comfortable in this step, it is time to move on the final step, “you do.”
“You Do”: In this final step a student demonstrates and practices what they have learned. They should be able to independently complete the process with accuracy. If they are unable to do so, you can go back to the “we do” step and work through it together.
This simple teaching method is one of my favorites. I have applied it to handwriting, composition, math, science, art and many more subjects. Sometimes the entire process takes two minutes. Other times it takes a whole subject period. When needed, we spend a lot of time going between the “we do” and the “you do” depending on the level of difficulty for the student. The goal is always to get the student working independently with confidence and accuracy.