Direct Instruction Strategies

Direct instruction strategies are used in a structured environment that is directed by the teacher/group leader. Direct instruction encompasses a wide variety of instructional strategies that are effective when:

  • background information is required for learning;
  • new knowledge and skills are introduced and/or modeled by the teacher;
  • it is necessary to communicate information known only to the teacher (for example, safety information);
  • prior learning needs to be reinforced.

Direct instruction includes a variety of delivery modes (for example, lecture, modelling, demonstrations, use of overhead projector) that control the focus of attention, especially when time constraints require immediate delivery of information. Material to be learned is often presented through the use of questions and statements, which allows for quick feedback from the class to ensure understanding and enables the teacher to use student
reaction to modify a lesson or activity. The teacher can also respond to individual questions that may be of interest to the entire class. Other directed strategies include structures such as text frames, advance organizers, and task cards, as well as guided reading and writing activities to focus on specific learning expectations.

Direct instruction strategies are useful in providing information to students who have difficulty learning through investigative discovery methods and when there are no appropriate resources available for students to use to conduct their own research and investigations. Direct instruction meets the needs of auditory learners, in particular, and sometimes of visual learners. However, the instructor needs to be aware of maintaining the attention of all students throughout the lesson.

For effective use of direct instruction, the teacher understands the content prior to delivery, organizes and plans effective delivery in a logical sequence, and provides opportunities to check for student understanding. Direct instruction strategies are part of the repertoire of every teacher and should be used in those teaching and learning situations for which they are most appropriate.