Direct Instruction Learning Visual Concept Diagram
Based on Zig Engelmann's theory of instruction, DI is probably
the most popular teaching strategy that is used by teachers to
facilitate learning. It is teacher directed and follows a definite
structure with specific steps to guide pupils toward achieving
clearly defined learning outcomes. The teacher maintains the locus
of control over the instructional process and monitors pupils'
learning throughout the process. Benefits of direct instruction
include delivering large amounts of information in a timely manner.
Also, because this model is teacher directed, it lends itself
to designing instruction that is developmentally appropriate to
pupils' ages and stages.
Principles of Direct Instruction
The most commonly used principles include:
Topics or information to be learned is presented to the pupils
or review of information sets the stage for learning.
The teacher provides clear explanations, descriptions, examples,
or models of what is to be learned while checking for pupils'
understanding through questioning.
Opportunities are provided to the pupils to practice what
is expected to be learned while the teacher monitors the activities
or tasks assigned.
Teachers conclude the lesson by wrapping up what was covered.
Assignments are given to reinforce the learning without teacher assistance.
Assessment of pupil progress is conducted to determine levels of mastery.
The first step in DI is for the teacher to gain the pupils'
attention. Sometimes this step is referred to a 'focusing event'
and is meant to set the stage for learning to take place. At
this stage, the pupils are 'informed' as to what the learning
goal or outcome is for the lesson and why it is important or
relevant. This step can either take the form of introducing
new information or building upon what has been previously learned
or covered as a review.
Once the goal is communicated to pupils, the teacher models
the behavior (knowledge or skill) that pupils are ultimately
expected to demonstrate. This step includes clear explanations
of any information with as many examples as needed to assure
pupils' understanding (depending on pupils' learning needs)
of what is to be learned. During this step, the teacher also
"checks for understanding" by asking key questions relative
to what is to be learned or by eliciting questions from pupils.
At this stage, teachers can also use 'prompts' (visual aids,
multimedia presentations, etc.) to encourage pupils to process
- Guided Practice
Once the teacher is confident that enough appropriate examples
and explanation of the material to be learned has been modeled
with sufficient positive pupil response to the instruction,
activities or tasks can be assigned for pupils to practice the
expected learning with close teacher monitoring. It is at this
stage that teachers can offer assistance to pupils who have
not yet mastered the material and who may need more 'direct
instruction' from the teacher (step 2 repeated).
As a final step to this model, closure brings the whole
lesson to a 'conclusion' and allows the teacher to recap what
was covered in the lesson. It is meant to remind pupils about
what the goal for instruction was and for preparing them to
complete the independent practice activities that are then assigned
by the teacher.
- Independent Practice
Activities or tasks related to the defined learning outcomes
are assigned in this step usually after pupils have demonstrated
competency or proficiency in the 3rd step. Independent practice
is meant to eliminate any prompts from the teacher and is meant
to determine the degree of mastery that pupils have achieved.
(Homework can be classified as an independent practice because
it is meant to provide the opportunity for pupils to practice
without the assistance or help from the classroom teacher.)
Evaluation tools are used to assess pupils' progress either
as it is occurring (worksheets, classroom assignments, etc.)
or as a culminating event (tests, projects, etc.) to any given
lesson. Evaluation of pupils' learning provides the necessary
feedback to both the teacher and the pupil and can be used to
determine whether expected learning outcomes have been met or
have to be revisited in future lessons.