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Methods of Teaching Dr.

Ludmilla Smirnova

If the Student didnt learn,

The Teacher didnt teach
S. Engelmann

Teach = Fill their empty heads.

Assess = See whats inside

Direct Instruction grew out of the reading instruction research of Sigfried Engelmann and his associates, who developed the Direct Instruction System for Teaching Arithmetic and Reading (DISTAR) program more than 30 years ago. (Mac Iver, Kemper 2002)

Direct Instruction was included in The American Institutes for Research, An Educators Guide to Schoolwide Reform. It favorably indicated, Overall, there is strong evidence that Direct Instruction has a positive effect on student achievement. With some variation depending on the component of the DI approach being measured. (Herman, et al., 1999)

retention in grade between DI cohorts and control cohorts. There is also evidence of a positive impact on reading vocabulary test scores and measures of oral reading fluency, but no compelling evidence as to a significant effect of DI on reading comprehension (the primary dependent variable specified in the original evaluation plan). Although growth in reading comprehension achievement has occurred for students receiving DI, it does not appear to be significantly greater than for students receiving other reading instruction. This finding echoes previous findings regarding the impact of DI on reading comprehension.
(Mac Iver and Kemper, 2002)

Perhaps most striking is the difference in rates of

Reading researcher and University of Illinois Professor Emeritus, Barak Rosenshine, also contributed an article to the special issue of the Journal of

Education for Students Placed At Risk.

You can read an interview with Dr. Rosenshine on the Baltimore Curriculum Project Newsletter link below. 5.htm

He stated

RM is an extremely effective program for teaching

decoding to all children. No one disputes this. However, the critical and unanswered question is the effectiveness of RM, or any reading program, for teaching reading comprehension to children from a low-income background.
(Rosenshine, 2002)

*RM is Reading Mastery, the name of a particular curricula offered by the Direct Instruction model.

In 1966 Engelmann was a Research Associate for the Institute for Research on Exceptional Children. During this period he directed two projects funded by the United States Office of Education.

The first project marked the beginning of the Bereiter-Engelmann Preschool Program. Focusing on disadvantaged children between 4 and 6 years old, with Carl Bereiter he studied the effects of intensive instruction on the acceleration of cognitive performance demonstrating how well-crafted instruction could boost cognitive skills. This crafted instruction evolved into Direct Instruction.

Based upon Experience and Research Findings: Direct Instruction is the most popular and widely used instructional strategy. However, the research concludes that No single approach is most appropriate for ALL students. And clearly no single approach is appropriate for all lessons. Before asking why the reliance on DI, lets review what DI is.

DI received particular attention as one of the most effective programs involved in Project Follow Through, a federal compensatory education program beginning in 1967 for low-income students in kindergarten through third grade. Because many educators perceived DI as rigid, it was not eagerly embraced by the educational mainstream. (Mac Iver, Kemper 2002)

A summarizing statement from that introduction says, Although there is considerable evidence

that DI has a significant effect on decoding skills in reading as well as on vocabulary skills, there is much less evidence of an impact of the program on reading comprehension.
(Mac Iver, Kemper 2002)

Project Follow Through was one of the world's largest educational experiments. It began in 1967 under President Johnson and ran until 1995. More than 22 sponsors worked with over 180 sites. The model piloted by each school was selected by a panel of parents. The dark horse, Direct Instruction, was the most widely selected model in the experiment. (Grossen, 1995)

Teacher-centered instruction which includes lecture, presentation, and recitation. (Huitt, 1996)

When teachers use Direct Instruction, they maintain tight control over: the content to be learned basic skills and concepts; the mode of delivery to the whole class; the patterns of classroom interaction T S; the pace of instruction - FAST; and the evaluation process - Paper-pencil Test).


Focus - Content driven -

Deductive/Decontextualized; Whole Class or Small group Delivery;. Constant monitoring to Check for Understanding (CFU); Controlled Classroom Practice Teacher-centered/ Transmission of Information one way from Teacher to students.


new material/ TEACH/MODEL/Demonstrate. Provide guided practice WE DO it TOGETHER through questioning, exercises, and corrective feedback - Check for Understanding, repetitive practice

independent practice in-class and/or out-of-class. YOU DO it



out what the students learned Review the concepts/skills learned and provide the corrective feedback (for reteaching or extended practice) REFLECTION Compose self-directed questions about each part of the DI lesson before teaching the lesson and answer the questions when the lesson is over.


1. 2.


More teacher-directed instruction (> 50%) and less seatwork (< 50%) Active presentation of information (could be by teacher, computer, another student) -Gain students' attention -Providing motivational clues -Use advance organizers -Expose essential content -Pretesting/prompting of relevant knowledge Clear organization of presentation -Component relationships -Sequential relationships -Relevance relationships -Transitional relationships

4. Step-by-step progression from subtopic to subtopic (based on task analysis). 5. Use many examples, visual prompts, and demonstrations (to mediate between concrete and abstract concepts). 6. Constant assessment of student understanding (before, during and after the lesson). 7. Alter pace of instruction based on assessment of student understanding (you're teaching students, not content). 8. Effective use of time and maintaining students' attention (appropriate use of classroom management techniques). (Huitt, 1996)


specific Learning outcomes Uses time effectively Easily measures Easy to implement/ Automate

Low Transfer rate Problem solving skills not developed Irrelevant/Unmotivated Disregards cooperation



are clearly stated to students; time allocated for instruction is sufficient and continuous; coverage of content is extensive; the performance of students is monitored and feedback to students is immediate and academically oriented.
Engelmann S., 1961, Rosenshine B., Hunter M., 1987

Direct Instruction is a

strategy that

teacher explanation and modeling, Combined with student practice and feedback ; Aims at teaching basic concepts and skills With a lot of drill and practice, repetition

to reach automaticity.



1. Z. Engelmann : Effective School Practices: What was Follow Through Project? 2. What Characterizes an Effective Teacher? - an exclusive interview with Barak Rosenshine