A review of guidance and structure in elementary school mathematics instruction



Guidance and structure have both been linked to higher achievement, but the two terms are not clearly defined and, thus, are used interchangeably. This makes it difficult to determine the practical implications of interventions and how teachers should apply guidance and structure in their own classrooms. This paper defines and differentiates guidance and structure in elementary school mathematics research. Specifically, guidance involves interactive and responsive student-teacher interactions during teaching while structure refers to the explicitness of the lesson plan, curriculum, or materials. We make this distinction because guidance provided by teachers requires a higher level of expertise and preparation from the teacher. We found some support for the benefits of guidance, with the caveat that teachers should consider individual student factors, such as prior knowledge. Structure encompasses a wider variety of activities, including worked examples, ordering problems from easy to difficult, or providing formula sheets during problem solving.


Instructional guidance, elementary school, mathematics, guidance, structure

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26220/rev.2889

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