Direct and Explicit Instruction is instruction which places an emphsis on breaking learning down into easy to manipulate steps and processes. Direct Instruction was greatly backed, researched and developed by the man Siegfried Engelmann, also commonly known as "Zig". Zig believed in the idea that children are not to blame for academic failure, instead, poor instruction should be to blame. In the mid sixties, Zig was working with a group of Pre-K students when he discovered that breaking down information systematically, and teaching it explicitly, allowed students to comprehend it better.
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
When teaching a new concept or strategy, it always important to brake it into small easy to learn steps. A new learned concept should be around 5 steps long. It is also important to make sure that students have the necessary background knowledge needed to learn the new material. For example, when learning how to write a fraction from looking at a picture, third graders may be taught these following 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.