Introduction: How to Implement Direct Instruction in Your Classroom
Project Follow Thorugh was developed by Zig in the 1960's and was aimed at schools and students who were labeled to be "failing". A failing school was one where the majority of its students were not meeting academic standards. THese were often poor schools in poor districts. These schools were also referred to as Title 1 schools. Project Follow Through was a program the brought Direct Instruction to the school as a whole, where it was implemented in every classroom. Zig and his team would tain all of the teachers on all necessary components of Cirect Instruction. If implemented properly, these schools made tremendous progress.
The following video gives a little background on Direct Instruction
In his 2007 book, Teaching Needy Kids in Our Backward System: 42 Years of Trying, Engelmann describes what it is like to watch a teacher who is "excellent" when teaching Direct Instruction,
"They make it look easy, but you know that it isn't. In fact, the more you know about how to doi t, the more you appreciate the skill of the expert. The star teacher in the early grades controld details of her instruction in a show she puts on every school day - not simply during the small-group instruction but from the moment the children enter the classroom. Everything is engineered to be productive" (p. 149-150).
This instructable will outline key components of Direct Instruction, and, what you need to do to be an "excellent teacher".
Step 1: Step # 1 - Break Down Information Into Clear Learning Steps
1. Count the total number of pieces in the pcture.
2. Write that number down.
3. Draw a line above that number.
4. Count the number of pieces that have been shaded in.
5. Write that number above the line.
When teaching this concept or strategy to your students, it is important to explicitly model, teach and preactice each individual step in the process.
The attached video dsiplays how long division can be broken down into simple steps.
Step 2: Provide Students With Both Examples and Non-Examples
Teachers almost never fail to provide their students with examples of what it is that they are instructing. However, what teachers do commonly tend to forget is, to provide their students with NON-examples as well as examples. Non- examples help students to get a more sound and concrete grasp on a concept. The same goes in reverse, students can not learn just from non-examples alone, a good mix is needed.
Engelmann (2007) explains, "Consider trying to teach what a shoe is using only negative examples. You could present scoks and say, 'This is not a shoe', and you can present present slippers and say, 'This is not a shoe.... It would be sometime before the avarage learner figured out what a shoe is" (p. 114).
The attached pictures show both examples and non-examples of a shoe. The first three pictures show, "This is a shoe" and the fourth and fifth pictures show, "This is not a shoe."
Step 3: Allow for Frequent Whole Class Opportunities to Respond
Engelmann (2007) also reccomends using a signal, so that students know when it is expected of them all to respond. Engelmann (2007) outlines the following "rule" of Direct Instruction, "The teacher's signals for the children to respond as a group must be perfectly clear and consistant" (p. 92).
The following embeded video shows an example of a group response in Direct Instruction. Notice how the teacher will wave her hand or say "get ready" to initiate a response. Also take note of how many opportunities the students have to respond.
The attached picture shows a simple example of a response signal, the teacher will snap.
Step 4: Provide Positive and Corrective Feedback
The following video provides good examples of a teacher using positive feedback during a literacy lesson.
Engelmann (2207) explains the importance of corrective feedback, "The teacher must now play an interactive game with the children. Through this game the teacher gives children both the specific infromation and the amount of practice they need to achieve mastery. This game [ corrective feedback] must be played immediately" (p. 93).
Step 5: Track Student Errors or Mistakes
When a student makes a mistake during a lesson, it is important to correct their mistake but also, it is important to take note of the error. A students error can tell you a lot. A student error can tell you where you they are misunderstood and, where you may need to go back in your lesson and reteach.
When tracking student error, you should look at the following things:
How often is the student making the mistake?
What type of mistake are they making?
These areas will help to give alot of insight on how to change and alter future instruction. Engelmann (2007) explains that, "The teacher must use effective correction procedures" (p. 93). Tracking student error can help the teacher in doing this.
The attached picture shows an example of a student error. Can you mark their mistake?
Step 6: Follow This Type of Format When Teaching Lessons
2. Modeling ( I do)
3. Guided Practice ( We do )
4.Independent Practice ( You do)
The opening part of the lesson reviews rules and procedures as well as previously learned material. In the modeling section of the lesson, the teacher presents new materials and demonstrates it to the students. In guided practice, the class walks through examples with the teacher. In independent practice, students try to do the new material on their own.
Engelmann (2007) states, "The teacher must pace the presentation appropriately, going as fast as practical but providing 'think time' " (p. 92). The previous stated format will help to ensure this.
The following video shows an example of how to do this.