What’s direct instruction and why don’t teachers know about it? In response to Zig Engelmann’s book and D-Ed Reckoning’s posts, Dennis Fermoyle of From the Trenches of Public Education is curious about a teaching method he’d never heard of.
Picking up the ball, RedKudu adds that her teacher training taught her to avoid “teacher-centered instruction” — and therefore direct instruction.
In the teacher-centered classroom, knowledge is “transmitted from professor to students.” Note the verb “transmitted.” Sounds impersonal, like meaningless data moving through a processing system. Students are “passive.”
In the learner-centered classroom, students “construct knowledge.” Note how much longer the description is. Note the money words like “synthesize,” and “integrate.” Students are “active.”
“Direct Instruction” is a specific teaching program developed by Engelmann and Wesley Becker.
Direct Instruction (DI) is a model for teaching that emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments and clearly defined and prescribed teaching tasks. It is based on the theory that clear instruction eliminating misinterpretations can greatly improve and accelerate learning.
Without the caps, it’s the idea that teachers should teach students what they need to know rather than setting up experiences that will (or won’t) enable students to figure things out on their own.
If there are teachers reading this blog who’ve used Direct Instruction, I’d also be curious about your experiences with it.