Have you ever heard of teacher moves? They are not the latest dance craze or some trending TikTok challenge! Although this teacher certainly has moves! 🙂

You’ve probably heard the term before, but you might not know what they are or how they can help you enhance your teaching. Teacher moves are a set of methods used to improve instruction and increase student learning. They can be used in any subject or at any grade level, and they don’t need to be reserved for special classrooms or small groups. Anyone with a desire to sharpen their teaching skills can use these moves to make lessons more effective.

In the article “The Strategic Moves of a Strategic Teacher” by Elaine K McEwan, there are twelve teacher moves explained, as seen in the table below. According to McEwan, “The term teaching moves captures the essence of what strategic teachers do. They are constantly on the move – physically, emotionally, and intellectually.” Depending on your individual group of students, you can choose the teacher moves that best fit the situation. These moves could be used with the whole class, small groups, or individual students.


These are broad, overarching moves, but there are many teacher moves that are small, specific actions that teachers can take to create a more effective learning environment. They help teachers to become more aware of how they’re teaching and allow them to make adjustments based on their observations and students’ responses. They can be used when you’re creating lessons, during lessons or at the end of the day.

The teacher moves shown in the graphic are specific to strengthening reasoning. These moves encourage critical thinking and comprehension among students allowing them to participate in the learning process. When you use these strategies, students are more likely to participate in the lesson and stay focused on what’s being taught. They also have the chance to apply the material to their own lives. These moves give teachers a chance to assess whether the students are understanding the material and if they’re meeting the learning outcomes designed for the lesson.

Source: Doing and Talking Math and Science

In the table below are some question stems to use with students in each of the teacher moves.

Teacher moves are designed to help you sharpen your skills as a teacher. They don’t need to take a lot of extra time or require in-depth knowledge on the latest theories. You can use these moves while planning a lesson or even during a lesson. Many of them can be used with all grades, in all subjects and by all types of students. Do you have any teacher moves that you use with students to help them to engage with the material? How do your students react to teacher moves?  Please let us know by tagging us @KaneCountyROE.

Raven Szalkowski – Professional Learning Coordinator
(t):  (630) 762-2056
(e): rszalkowski@kaneroe.org

Leave a Reply