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Chapter image Chapter 16: Strategy 14: Direct instruction

Self Evaluation

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14. Employs Direct Instruction

Direct instruction centres on teacher-directed, explicit, systematic teaching based on scripted lesson plans, high levels of success and frequent assessments.

It has twelve main features, of which only a selection will be dealt with.


Mitchell, 2014, pp174–182.

  1. Lessons are highly structured, with clear goals.
  2. Lessons are carefully scripted.
  3. There is an emphasis on a brisk pace, with learners being given many opportunities to respond.
  4. High levels of success (ninety per cent) are expected of all learners, with immediate identification of errors and correction of them.
  5. There are frequent opportunities to practice targeted skills.
  6. Mediated scaffolding is employed, with the teacher gradually withdrawing assistance.
  1. All six indicators are met.
  2. Five of the indicators are met.
  3. Four of the indicators are met.
  4. Three or fewer of the indicators are met.

YouTubeYouTube links

Direct Instruction – An educational strategy. (9.31 US)

What does Direct Instruction look like in the classroom? A visit to three of Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s elementary schools in California during October 2006 show the intervention programme in action.


Zig Engelmann discusses Direct Instruction. (7.23 US)

Siegfried Engelmann, core author of Direct Instruction education programme, discusses the positive effects of the direct instruction teaching methodology.


websitesWeb links

National Institute for Direct Instruction.

This website provides information and resources for administrators, teachers and parents to help them maximize student achievement through DI. The website also contains information on DI's extensive and broad research base, including a searchable database of more than 100 article summaries.


Association for Direct Instruction.

ADI was launched in Eugene Oregon in 1981 and today is the single largest provider of workshops and conferences on Direct Instruction. ADI is also the publisher of DI News and the Journal of Direct Instruction.


Kozloff, M.A., LaNunziata, L., Cowardin, J. and Bessellieu, F.B. (2000). Direct instruction:
Its contributions to high school achievement.

This paper describes the design principles, instructional practices and specific curricula of Direct Instruction – one example of focused, systematic, explicit instruction.


University of Kansas.

The University of Kansas website. It includes four DI writing programmes: Cursive Writing, Basic Writing Skills (Capitalization and Punctuation, Sentence Development), Expressive Writing, and Reasoning and Writing; and two DI spelling programmes: Spelling Mastery, and Spelling Through Morphographs.


journalsJournal links

Grossen, B. (2004). ‘Success of a Direct Instruction model at a secondary level school with high risk students’. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 20(2), 161–178.

This study demonstrated the effectiveness of Direct Instruction at Charles M. Goethe Middle School, a high-poverty, low-performing school in Sacramento City USD, California. Students at Goethe improved by two grade levels during the first year in both reading comprehension and mathematics. During year one, the number of English language learners reading at approximately grade level (grade 7 and above) increased by more than 3.5 times. In year two, students again achieved a two-year gain for one year of instruction at all instructional levels.

Haydon, T., Marsicano, R. and Scott, T.M. (2013). ‘A comparison of choral and individual responding: A review of the literature’. Preventing School Failure, 57(4),181–188.

This article reviews the literature and examines and compares the effects of choral and individual responding. Six studies met inclusion criteria and were included in this review. Participants in the study comprised students with various disabilities, and between pre-K and twelfth grade. Results indicate a generally positive relationship between using choral responding versus individual responding on student variables such as active student responding, on-task behaviour and correct responses. Recommendations for practice include using choral responding during whole-group instruction. Because of the small number of studies, results of this review should be viewed as preliminary.