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Week 4A (Oct. 18- Oct. 24)- Direct Instruction and Engagement

Direct Instruction is a form of lesson design that carefully, explicitly, and systematically takes a child through learning a specific set of skills or knowledge.  It is close the the traditional model of education in that all learning is designed by the teacher for the students and every lesson is led by the teacher.  It is different than traditional instruction in that students are engaged through "all students participating" throughout the lesson.  Here are some readings and a video resource.

  Choose one item to learn about Direct Instruction:

Explicit Direct Instruction by Dataworks Educational Research (all rights reserved).
How is engagement established in this recommended format for teaching lessons?

Dynamite Lesson Plan by Damien Riley.  How is engagement practiced in this example?


Teaching Matters Explicit Instruction (5 min video) from the Pennsylvannia Department of Education

What systems of engagement do you see in the video.  How are students encouraged and supported so that they remain "engaged."

If you look back to our list of engagement elements from week two, which of these elements play the important roles in engaging students during direct instruction?  Are there elements that would be counter to the direct instruction model?  Why?  Use the comments feature to share your thinking and comment on the thinking of others.

Task Discussion

  • AnnetteV   Nov. 12, 2011, 4:03 p.m.

    Apologies for my inactivity. Family and work comittments have been at an all time high and time seems to be set at warp speed!  Excuses I know, but valid ones.   I am now well behind - but would like to continue to participate as this course is really interesting and worthwhile.

    The article for direct instruction is a model that provides a very sensible and logical sequence of lessons.  It provides a scaffolded approach to learning new concepts and leads to students ultimately working independently.  It is unlikely that students will fall behind in the learning concept being covered using this approach as the teacher is checking each student's understanding at each step.  This model has been explicitly being taught to teachers and used in the NZ Maths Curriculum - resulting in students enjoying a higher understanding of maths.

    Falling behind can result in a loss of student engagement and this is virtually eliminated using direct instruction.  Case in instance is my feeling of falling behind (timewise) in this very course!  I feel disempowered and out of touch - not a good feeling!  :)  Being behind and missing a couple of weeks made me almost want to pull out of the course altogether (loss of engagement).  However I will forge on at my own pace hoping that I can work through all the modules even after the course officially finishes.

  • karen   Nov. 12, 2011, 4:13 p.m.
    In Reply To:   AnnetteV   Nov. 12, 2011, 4:03 p.m.

    "Falling behind can result in a loss of student engagement."

    Annette, this is very true and interesting to me. I've been thinking about this lately as it relates to these P2PU courses. I do think that as we fall behind as adult learners, it is often easier to just disappear. I think this is especially true when we are learning on our time and with our own motivation (little or no outside pressure or reward).

    As for the relation of this to direction instruction....well, I guess I don't think that direct instruction results in no one being left behind, but that's probably a longer discussion. :)

    At any rate, good for you for forging on. All the materials on P2PU are available indefinitely. It's interesting to see (and sometimes easy to forget) how people keep using them and new people drop in even after the "official" course dates have passed.

  • Jessica Powell   Nov. 8, 2011, 12:10 a.m.

    The Teaching Matters Explicit Instruction video shows how student engagement really depends on teacher engagement. Not only do we need to model the material, but we need to model engagement. The "I Do" then the "We Do" then the "You Do" shows that we can see that students know what is going on in the lesson. We promote student learning, but student engagement. It prevents students from not being engaged due to lack of understanding.

    I believe this is especially important for when students are younger or for when they are older and learning new material. We, as teachers, don't want to belittle the students. We also don't want to make the students feel that we don't think that they can't do it. Teacher need to be there to support sudents at the various levels which is why the teacher instruction followed by the group instruction is the essential key in determining if the students are ready to move forward.

  • Grant   Oct. 17, 2011, 10:12 a.m.


    I read explicit direct instruction.  I think what engages students in EDI are the structure, expected outcome, and lesson importance.  I think when students are able to why a lesson or concept is important they may be more engaged.


    I think attention, time on task, flow, classroom environment, and enthusiasm are important roles for direct instruction.  In all honesty you could probably apply all of those elements into a direct instruction lesson, it would just depend on the teacher and how you deliver the content.  I think in many cases the tone and level of enthusiasm of teacher to use direct instruction really makes the lesson.