Madeline Hunter method

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The Madeline Hunter method is a kind of direct instruction model and method mostly applied to lesson planning.

This model is quite closely associated with typical general behaviorist/cognitivist instructional design models like Gagne'sNine events of instruction and it incorporates mastery learning concepts.

There are many variants of this models, e.g. the simple WIPPEA lesson planning method.

The model

Disclaimer: DSchneider did not read original work of M.Hunter. In the literature and web pages consulted, there are various variants of the typical "scenario steps". Usually it has either 7 or 8 steps.

From a preparation perspective

(1) Objectives and standards
  • Fix them
(2) Prepare teaching materials
  • Anticipation: Prepare materials to grab the student's attention and put him in "the right frame"
  • Teaching: (input): Prepare "input" materials.
  • Teaching (modeling): Prepare relevant examples that show what is expected
  • Guide practice: Prepare exerices and other activities
  • Closure: Rehearse a nice closing statement (that show what has been learnt, to point out important things, etc.)
  • Independant practice: E.g. home work or group work. Should reinforce and engage learners in decontextualization (by have them work on examples from different context)

From a scenario perspective

(1) Anticipation
  • A short wake-up activity that get's the student's attention and interest
  • e.g. a simple question, an example problem,
(2) Objectives, purpose, standards
  • Tell the students what he will learn
  • And (if necessary) how this knowledge will be tested
(3) Input (teaching basic concepts and skills)
  • Summarize definitions
  • Demonstrate basic skills
(4) Modeling (show)
  • Demonstrate application of concepts and skill with a worked through example.
(5) Guided practice
  • have learners do exercises
(6) Monitoring
  • This is not precisely a step in time, monitoring has to be done in different ways:
  • During and after steps 3 and 4, the teacher has to check for understanding (this is often presented as step number 5 in fact).
  • After steps 5 and 6 students have to be tested which is different sort of "checking for understanding", e.g. if guided practice shows misunderstanding or bad understanding, go back to step 3 and/or 4 and adapt.
(7) Independent practice
  • Students practice on their own (either in or out of class).
(8) closure
  • Wrap up

Jonathan Mueller presents the Madeline Hunter Lesson Plan format in a way DSchneider likes better. His outline separates more clearly different phases:

Getting students set to learn
  • Step 1: Review
  • Step 2: Anticipatory Set
  • Step 3: Objective
  • Step 4: Input and Modeling
Checking for understanding
  • Step 5: Checking Understanding
  • Step 6: Guided Practice
Independent practice
  • Step 7: Independent Practice

Note: Mueller points out that “How are checking understanding and guided practice different? Checking understanding occurs in the process of instruction. Guided practice takes place just after instruction has occurred. Checking for understanding is often a whole-class process by observing body language or asking a simple question to the whole class. Guided practice may be done individually. Both involve quickly assessing whether students understand what has just been presented.”



  • Burns Alvin C., (2006) Teaching experientially with the Madeline Hunter Method: An application in a marketing research course, Simulation & Gaming, Vol. 37, No. 2, 284-294, DOI: 10.1177/1046878106287954 Abstract PDF (Access restricted)
  • Hunter, M. (1982). Mastery teaching. El Segundo, CA: TIP Publications.
  • Hunter, M. (1985). What's wrong with Madeline Hunter? Educational Leadership, 42(5), 57-60.
  • Hunter, Robin (2004). Madeline Hunter's Mastery Teaching, Corwin Press. ISBN 076193930X (Seems to be the most popular modern M. Hunter method textbook)