Using IM

What is the IM project?

IM spotlights reflective Harvard instructors using instructional moves (high-leverage teaching strategies) applicable to multiple settings and grounded in teaching and learning research. Moves are anchored in videos showcasing classrooms from across the university. The videos, which combine class footage with reflections from instructors and students, are supplemented by relevant research on the move’s efficacy, tips for enacting this move in diverse settings, and related resources that facilitate deeper exploration. The resulting launch pad seeks to help classroom instructors learn research-based pedagogical techniques, gain deeper insight into classroom complexities, and explore resources geared toward improving teaching and learning outcomes. Carefully curated and designed for both independent and guided use, IM aims to facilitate powerful conversations about pedagogy among classroom instructors.

How do I use IM?

From self-paced exploration to workshopping a given move with a colleague or designing professional development around one of its modules, Instructional Moves offers a range of possibilities for improving teaching practice.  If you have questions as you develop professional learning opportunities that employ IM resources, feel free to contact Josh Bookin, Associate Director of Instructional Support and Development at HGSE’s Teaching and Learning Lab.

How is the site structured?

IM’s site is organized into four modules: Building Community, Lecturing Interactively, Facilitating Discussions, and Teaching Through Problems. Each module contains a range of moves which bring the topic to life and features a core group of Harvard instructors sharing, demonstrating, and reflecting on practices proven effective in their classrooms.

Move videos have their own pages offering background on practices and further guidance on move employment. Explore tips for applying a particular move to different teaching contexts, research that supports its use, and supplementary resources to ensure effective implementation.

Does a particular instructor’s practice resonate with you? Check out the rest of their instructional moves by accessing IM’s faculty pages. In addition to archives of instructors’ move videos, these pages present background info on featured faculty and class contexts as well as downloadable materials which may prove helpful when transferring practices to your own classroom (e.g., handouts, assignments, syllabi). Faculty pages additionally house full class sessions featured in move videos, allowing users to observe instructors’ practices in their unabridged class contexts.

How do I know if a move will be useful in my context?

Although each of the featured moves is supported by research- and practice-based evidence about what benefits learners, much is still not known about effective pedagogical techniques in particular classroom contexts. In addition, although IM engages with research on instruction, teaching is not only a science, but also an art. Moves that work for some instructors may not for others. As a result, IM does not champion a “one-size-fits-all” approach to teaching, but rather advocates that university instructors build broad pedagogical repertoires and gain the skills of matching the right techniques to accomplish particular purposes.

IM's core material comes from Harvard classrooms, and the practices of its featured faculty are tailored to the Harvard context. However, this does not mean that IM content cannot be applied to other educational settings. While some thoughtful adapting and healthy tweaking are always recommended, we hope IM’s interactive resources will provide value to instructors beyond the Harvard community as well.