EdSe 3204 - General Instructional Methods Fall 2004: Dr. Helen Mongan-Rallis


Teaching Strategies: Direct Instruction

Teaching strategies unit objective:

  1. Create or select teaching methods, learning activities, and instructional materials or other resources that are appropriate for the students and that are aligned with the goals for the lesson.

Direct Instruction lesson objectives:

  1. Describe and explain the features and purposes of direct instruction.
  2. Describe and be able to follow guidelines for the effective use of different methods of direct instruction (such as presentations, questions,practice, drills, reviews, guided practice, and homework)

Overview of lesson activities:

Do now:

Create a table (T-chart) comparing the characteristics of direct vs. indirect instructional strategies. Refer to the intro pages of Chapters 6, 7, and 8 to assist you.


  1. Review what they have learned so far about (a) lesson planning (b) differentiating instruction (c) instructional strategies. Do this using "chalk-talk" strategy: 2 teams, 2 boards. Each team takes it in turns, and writes on their board, but may not duplicate ideas that the other team has written on their board (so everyone has to listen to both teams). Round 1: one student comes up and writes something s/he learned, then nominates the next student to come up (no repeating students or ideas) Round 2: one student comes up and explains meaning of one of concepts that is on the board, then nominates the next student. If a student nominates someone who has already been, or repeats something that is already on the board and has been explained already, that team loses a point. The team with the most points remaining at the end of the review wins.
  2. What questions to you have about what you have learned from Bruce, Dan and Jody in my absence? What would you like to discuss further before we move on?
  3. Revisiting course schedule and assignments plan:
  4. Note that I eliminated one of the lesson plans (initially required 3, now only 2) and one of the peer teaching lessons and changed due dates for assignments.
  5. Overview of next few classes: Today = direct instructional strategies; Monday 22st = indirect strategies; Wednesday 24th (day before Thanksgiving) = group planning time for peer teaching; Monday 29th: peer teaching.

Direct Instruction

Have students explain the difference between direct and indirect teaching strategies

    Direct instruction Indirect instruction
    • Teachers tell the students the concept or skill to be learned and then lead them through instructional activities designed to result on student learning.
    • based on behavioristic learning principles (e.g. getting students' attention, reinforcing correct responses, providing corrective feedback, practicing correct responses)
    • higher use of academic learning time (time on task)
    • teacher structured lessons, following a clear, sequential approach, with teacher in control of the content, activities, and lesson pacing.
    • usually used to teach new skills or concepts (often use deductive methods)
    • academically focused, with teacher stating the goals for the lesson
    • teacher monitors student understanding and provides feedback
    • 4 components:
      • clearly articulated goals
      • teacher-directed instruction
      • careful monitoring of student outcomes
      • use of clear classroom organization and management strategies
    • Key models: Rosenshine's Explicit Teaching & Hunter's Instructional Theory Into Practice (ITIP) or Elements of Lesson Design
    • Limited teacher direction, with emphasis on students co-creating their learning with the teacher as a facilitator of their learning.
    • May use social instructional approaches (learning with other students) or students working independently.
    • Often based on constructivist principles where students create meaning through active engagement and investigation. Constructivism promotes (a) the student point-of-view (b) teacher-student or student-student interaction (c) questioning to promote student thought (d) nurturing of student reflection rather than emphasis on a single correct answer.
    • tend to use more inductive methods (leading students to discover concepts)

Teaching strategy continuum

  1. Use continuum, with direct on one end, indirect on other. Have students draw 3 continuums: (1) enjoy most as learner (2) learn best (3) might prefer teaching using. Have them put "x" on each continuum, committing to which category of strategy they enjoy most as a student; then repeat, but ask them from which category of strategies that think they learn best. Now, have them stand on continuum in the room, and see what the spread is.
  2. Discussion: of where they places themselves on each continuum, why, and if there were differences, why. Specific questions:
  3. For those of you who enjoy learning most from direct instruction, why? From indirect? Why?
  4. How many had differences between the category they enjoy most and the category from which they learn best? Why these differences? For others, why not different?
  5. How many had differences between the category they enjoy most and the category from which they might prefer teaching most? Why?
  6. What are the implications of this discussion for you as teacher? (discuss in small groups)

Key steps in teacher directed lesson:

Barak Rosenshine's Explicit Teaching model pp. 167-170:

  1. daily review
  2. present new material
  3. conduct guided practice
  4. provide feedback and correctives
  5. conduct independent practice
  6. weekly and monthly review

Madeline Hunter's Instructional Theory Into Practice (ITIP) or Elements of Lesson Design

  1. anticipatory set
  2. objective and purpose
  3. instructional input
  4. modeling
  5. monitoring to check for student understanding
  6. guided practice
  7. independent practice


For Monday: Review the different direct teaching strategies described in Chapter 7 and consider ways in which you might use each to teach your subject. The read chapter 8, Indirect Instructional Strategies, and also consider ways to use in in your area.

Begin developing a matrix of teaching strategies, with the first section being on Direct Strategies and the second on Indirect. Under each section, list as many strategies that you can find, and for each give examples of when and how you might use these for teaching middle and secondary students.

Peer teaching strategies: Lecture/presentation, Demonstration using deductive strategies & questioning, Recitation, Concept attainment; Inquiry problem solving, Whole class discussion.