Volume 11, Issue 3 (1982)
Improving Classroom Behaviors and Achievement of Learning Idsabled Children Using Direct Instruction
Recent research on the relationship between classroom practices and pupil achievement has led to the development of a model of teaching termed direct instruction (DI). Although DI is a relatively new concept, Peterson (1979) pointed out that the differentiating characteristics of teacher-centered or directive teaching versus learner-centered or nondirective teaching were being researched over twenty years ago (e.g., Anderson, 1959). Nonetheless, DI, as it is currently and operationally defined, is a product of several studies beginning in the 1970’s (see Rosenshine, 1971, 1978 for reviews) that have attempted to isolate specific instructional variables related to achievement gains. According to Rosenshine (1978), DI refers to an instructional pattern that stresses teacher directiveness, academic focus, and structured, sequential learning activities. Specifically, it includes the following components: teacher selection and pacing of activities; structured, step-by-step learning; group, as opposed to individual, instruction;continuous and controlled practice; sufficient time allocations for learning; immediate and corrective feedback; and, questioning at a low cognitive level to ensure production of correct responses. Reviews of studies on the effects of DI suggest that it is a highly effective approach for teaching non-handicapped learners. Pupil attention, degree of pupil engagement, achievement gains, amount of content covered, and even self-esteem have been shown to increase significantly through the use of DI procedures (e.g., Bennett, 1976; Brophy & Evertson, 1974; Filby & Cahen, 1977; Good & Beckerman, 1977).
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