Five Rules for Creating a Direct Instruction Lesson

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Category: Direct Instruction
Published on Thursday, 15 November 2012 Written by Anonymous Teacher

I was reading through "Teaching Needy Kids in our Backward System", by Siegfried Englemann and I came across five rules he used to design scripts used for new teachers.

It's not like these are the only rules you should follow, but I think they are a very good starting place.

  1. Keep the materials simple and direct.
  2. Always provide overkill in the scripted sequence. If you think it will take two sessions to teach, use three.
  3. Keep wording to a minimum. Be simple and direct.
  4. Always put reinforcements at the end of a sequence, never at the beginning. Putting it at the beginning just causes dissapointment because the lesson is never as interesting as the reward. Use reinforcements/rewards like a carrot on a stick.
  5. Design the material so that a high percentage of the tasks presented are responded to by the group; not by individual children. Tasks should be designed so that all children will be able to produce the same responses. Variant responses make it harder for the teacher to tell if students have given a correct response.

Putting reinforcements at the end and designing material so that most tasks are responded to by the group are very different from what has become popular in education today.

A lot of teachers use 'attention grabbers' to try to catch student's interest. According to Englemann's experience, this will backfire. Whole-group instruction in general is often treated as the red-headed-step-child of education. But it works better.

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