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Direct Strategies for Direct Instruction
posted by: Melissa | August 29, 2017, 08:18 PM   

Most teachers like to envision their classroom as a place where curiosity flows and students are allowed to pursue their own interests and drive their own learning. In reality, though, there is a state-mandated curriculum that must be taught and even if there wasn’t, the limits of time dictate that the personal desires of the students sometimes need to be set aside so that students can learn what is expected of them.

In these cases, direct instruction (DI) is both effective and efficient at helping students learn what’s required of them. The problem is that when students and teachers think of direct instruction, they often imagine long hours of a dim room and a Power-Point while a teacher drones on about a topic of their choice and the students slump their way into boredom. However, this does not need to be the case.

There are other ways to teach needed topics directly and explicitly though. Below we have some suggestions:

Flipped Instruction: Flipped instruction turns the typical direct instruction method on its head. Instead of the teacher lecturing in the classroom, the teacher records their lectures and presentations and uploads them to the web. Students can then read and watch the materials at home on their own time, slowing down, speeding up, or repeating as necessary. Classroom time can then be reserved for tasks requiring more aid from the teacher.

Blended Learning: Blended learning uses technology such as the internet or software to deliver instruction while the teacher guides and does periodic check-ins. It can involve adaptive software programs that target each student’s weaknesses, online videos, or web scavenger hunts. Blended learning can focus on developing new skills, practicing old ones, or expose students to new information in ways more engaging than is possible during a lecture.

Demonstrations: Lectures can be dry and boring if they consist of nothing other than an instructor talking for hours on end. Incorporating visual learning through demonstrations and modeling is a great way to bring new concepts to life. This method is especially useful in content heavy classes such as science or social studies. Teachers can demonstrate everything from science concepts to facets of daily life in ancient times, while discussing and teaching accompanying facts.

Charting: Most times, the best way to present new information is to do so in the form of a chart, table, or graph. Rather than place the material in a Power-Point to copy, create the chart together with your students in class, asking them to contribute by recalling previous material or making guesses, while providing correction, guidance, and additional resources when necessary. Charts can then be displayed or students can copy into their own notes.

What methods do you use instead of lectures in your class?

Share below!

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