Best Practice: The “I Do It, We Do It, You Do It” Sequence for Direct Instruction

I. I do it

“I” represents the teacher or tutor and includes any or all of the following:

  • explaining why you are doing the activity/learning the skill
  • creating context
  • introducing new language or teaching key vocabulary
  • activating learners’ prior knowledge
  • giving examples and/or modeling to show learners what you want them to do
  • using visuals and realia to aid comprehension

This step is very teacher-controlled.


II. We do it

“We” means the teacher/tutor and learners are practicing together, or learners are working on structured activities, with lots of teacher support, as they practice the new language or skill in multiple ways.  Examples of “we do it” would be:

  • worksheets
  • drills
  • speaking activities like role plays where tutor initially plays one of the roles
  • cloze (fill in the blank) activities
  • reading out loud as a class


III. You do it

“You” represents the learners.  They are now practicing on their own, applying what they’ve just practiced, as the tutor/teacher moves among them, observing and providing assistance as needed.  These are called “free practice” activities and tend to be more authentic or “real life” situations.

  • interviews
  • dialogue journals
  • mingles
  • projects
  • role plays
  • games


Applying the I/we/you sequence in your lessons will keep you from forgetting important steps.


A quick example:

I.    I do it: T models a short dialogue using a picture, props, gestures, etc.

II.  We do it: Learners repeat after T, one line a time, with multiple opportunities to repeat.

III. You do it: Learners practice dialogue in pairs, while T observes and assists.

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