A Teacher's Guide to DI

Intro: A Teacher's Guide to DI

The following instructable will guide teachers through some of the basic steps of a direct instruction (DI) lesson. 

Direct Instruction is a systematic, skills-oriented teaching methodology.  Direct instruction is often characterized by carefully scripted lesson plans which break skills down into small units, with each individual unit as part of a logical sequence of lessons, and taught explicitly to students.  Other characteristics include, ability grouping, emphasis on pacing and efficiency of instruction, frequent assessment, and embedded professional development/coaching.  The direct instruction methodology was developed by Siegfried Englemann and Wesley C. Becker of the University of Oregon.  Their research was funded by the largest federally funded research program in education called Project Follow Through.  The results gleaned from PFT and the vast majority of subsequent research gave strong empirical support of the effectiveness of DI in classrooms and with a wide range of students.

Step 1: Orientation (Anticipatory Set)

This initial step is crucial for the success of a direct instruction lesson.  Here, the teacher grabs the attention of the students, explains the learning objective, ties it to prior-knowledge, and builds their motivation for learning.

Englemann describes using basic instruction to teach lessons by keeping materials simple and direct.

Step 2: Presentation (Teacher Modeling)

After reviewing prior-knowledge and introducing new objectives, instruction begins.  In direct instruction lessons, teachers begin by modeling the new skill for the students.  Teachers model expected learning outcomes and provide clear explanations and examples.  This is a demonstration phase and is largely focused on the teacher modeling how to achieve the expected learning outcomes accurately and efficiently.

Teacher explains/demonstrates new concepts or skill. - By demonstrating a new concept, students know what is expected of them and the procedures to accomplishing the skill or concept. Englemann recommends explaining a new concept or skill by providing “overkill in the scripted sequence” (p.19).
Teacher provides visual representation of the task.-
Teacher checks for understanding.- Group responses are recommended by Englemann. Englemann further states “tasks must be designed so that all children will be able to produce the same response, saying the same words” (p.20).

Step 3: Structured Practice (Guided Practice)

After explicitly modeling expected learning outcomes for the students, the teacher provides further, structured practice opportunities.  The teacher guides students through completing the learning objective and achieving the expected learning outcomes.  During this step, the teacher is tasked with providing numerous opportunities for student response and to give praise or corrective feedback when necessary.

Teacher leads group through practice examples in lock step.
Students respond to questions.
Teacher provides corrective feedback for errors and reinforces correct practice.- “Practice on corrections for basic skills and on corrections for related skills. (p.86)

Step 4: Closure

After demonstrating and guiding students through the correct way to achieve the learning objective(s), the teacher closes the lesson.  Here, the teacher and students reflect on the learned material and its use.  Further corrective feedback or alternative examples may be provided.

Step 5: Independent Practice

In this step, students are given tasks which are to be completed independently and generally without the teacher support given in previous steps. 
Students practice independently in a small group in class. Englemann recommends grouping students homogenously
Feedback is delayed.
Independent practices occur several times over an extended period.



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    4 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I've been noticing a lot of direct instruction guides, I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say you are all in the same class with the same professor? :)

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I thought that might be the case, I think it's a pretty neat project and a great place for you guys to find new resources. :) Keep up the hard work!