Teacher's Guide to Direct Instruction


Introduction: Teacher's Guide to Direct Instruction

The purpose of this Instructible is to educate teachers about the procedures of Direct Instruction and how it can be implemented in daily instruction to create more successful student outcomes.

Step 1: Introduction to Direct Instruction

Direct Instruction (DI) was originally developed by Siegfried Engelmann and Wesley C. Becker  in the 1960s. Di is sytematic instruction that involves the use of a script. The lessons are repetetive allowing multiple opportunities to respond, feedback for incorrect responses as well as positive praise. DI is based on the idea that all students can learn, and all teachers can teach successfully if given the proper training and tools. Direct Instruction involves explicit explanations, sall learning steps, constantly reviewing information being taught, continuous teacher/student interactions, and choral responses. DI is based on the principle that if the children are not learning, the fault lies with the instruction. It focuses on one concept at a time and includes newly taught concepts into instruction that are familiar to the child. Engelmann (2007) believes materials should be simple and direct, and teachers should not "present creative excursions, just mainline, basic instruction" (p. 19).

DI was the main subject in "Project Follow Through" which is a federally funded research program. Project Follow Through began in 1967 with a goal of improving academic acheivement in low-performing students. It's purpose was to bridge the gap between low- and high-performing students. According to Engelmann (2007), "Our primary bias was simply that we believed the children were capable of learning if we were capable of figuring out time-efficient practices that would accelerate the rate at which they learn new material" (p.56). Research was conducted on over 20,000 students, using more than $1 billion in federal funds. To this day Project Follow Through is the largest and most expensive educational research-based program funded by the U.S federal government.

Project Follow Through contains three overarching models: Basic Skills (behavior reinforcement, Direct Instruction, and language development), Cognitive/Conceptual Models (parent education and self-directed literature), and Effective Skills Model (learning center, open education, and self-esteem).

Step 2: Implementing Direct Instruction-Step 1

Conduct placement tests to see where the students belong within the DI Curriculum

Teacher then places students in homogeneous groups (same-ability peers) based on placement test scores
-Students begin in the same instructional sequence and will therefore succeed at the same rate

According to Engelmann (2007), "If they are in a well-designed program and are placed beyond their skill level, they can't learn nearly as fast as they can if they are placed in the proper lesson range" (p. 91).

Step 3: Step 2

Teacher reviews the script

-The script specifies both student responses and correction precedures for common mistakes
-It gives precise wording for teachers to use throughout instruction
-It is important for teachers to review the script so they are aware of what to do and so that there are no breaks or pauses in the instruction period (breaks/pauses may allow students to engage in off-task behaviors)

Step 4: Step 3

Implement the Scripted Lesson

-Use language familiar to children
-Be sure to state the examples of each concept being taught (found in the script)
-Scripted lessons teach one concept at a time
-Students must master a concept before moving on
-Lessons are designed to review previously taught material and teach minimal new material for each lesson

Engelmann (2007) states "Always provide overkill in the scripted sequence. If it seems that something can be taught in two five-minute segments over two days, provide three five-minute segments over three days" (p. 19).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3zK19Jq5iA (Graduate student teaching reading lesson 1 using DI script)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSAxB3U0xno (Graduate student teaching reading lesson 2 using DI script)

Step 5: Step 4

Ensure that you are constantly checking the progress of students

-Provide corrective feedback to students so they understand the mistake they made
-Give students plenty of reinforcements for correct responses
-Using data collection forms to track progress of students
-Allow multiple opportunities to respond to check for student understanding

Step 6: Step 5

Limit Homework

-It is expected that there is enough time in a school day for students to do everything they need to
-If homework is assigned it should be something the student can do without error (parents should not be teaching students at home)

Step 7: Direction Instruction Videos

The following video is Siegfried Engelmann discussing direct instruction:


The following video is Siegfried Engelmann teaching solving basic algebraic problems with kindergarten students:


Step 8: Resource

Engelmann, S. (2007). Teaching Needy Kids in Our Backward System. OR:ADI Press.



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