- NEW! Are you smarter than a BCP 5th grader?
- NEW! Have you found errors in the DI programs?
- NEW! Literature in Reading Mastery Signature Edition Downloadable Booklet Now Available!
- NEW! Engineering Society of Detroit Recommends DI as Remedy for Lack of Early Reading and Math Skills
- Report on the WWC and Its Reviews of DI Programs
Information for Teachers
ADVANTAGE OF DIRECT INSTRUCTION PROGRAMS
Teachers who receive thorough training and support on the proper use of Direct Instruction (DI) have a very positive effect on student learning and self-image for all their students. The DI programs help teachers teach effectively through the use of clear wording and examples, a step-by-step instructional design and a field-tested instructional sequence that has been proven to work with the full range of learners in a wide range of settings. Students receive careful, step-by-step instruction appropriate for their current performance levels. Grouping and placement is monitored carefully and adjusted periodically as their performance indicates. Students acquire critical skills that lay the foundation for more advanced skills and applications. They develop very positive attitudes toward school and their ability to learn new material. They become attentive and eager learners who are ready to take the next steps on their path to academic success!
The National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) provides a full range of support to schools to ensure that all teachers are successful in improving student performance. A few weeks before the start of school, teachers participate in an on-site, preservice training in DI methods lasting three to five days. The preservice training focuses on the direct application of DI techniques through role-playing along with an explanation of the rationale for the program’s design. NIFDI consultants provide both direct in-class coaching support and in-service training sessions throughout the year. The coaching visits are designed to provide useful feedback to teachers and administrators about what’s working well for students and what needs improvement. Classroom coaching involves demonstrating and modeling lessons by the NIFDI consultant, observing teachers instructing groups, and providing specific feedback on teaching techniques. The in-service training sessions expand on techniques covered during preservice, prepare participants to teach formats that appear later in the programs and address general topics that are causing student learning problems. NIFDI consultants and trainers are experienced DI teachers with advanced degrees and five to 25 years teaching experience in DI. They are experts in the technical aspects of classroom instruction, including student placement and grouping, instructional delivery, and correction procedures. Their primary goal is to help you implement the programs successfully with all your students!
For a description of the support that schools receive from NIFDI:
THE NIFDI ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM
Student success in the DI programs depends on the rate at which students master DI material. The more material students master in a given amount of time, the more their skills and understanding will advance. If students progress at a slow rate, or if they do not master the material covered in class, they will have difficulty learning the skills and concepts that are taught later in the program. The NIFDI data analysis system provides a comprehensive look at the performance of all students in all DI subjects every week across a schoolwide DI implementation. This system allows teachers and administrators to determine the degree to which students are progressing through the programs at mastery and to identify students who are having problems. The system involves recording three types of data: daily lesson progress for each instructional group, individual scores on independent work, and individual results of in-program mastery tests. NIFDI supplies copies of all the forms for recording these data. Teachers and administrators can make decisions based on these data to adjust instruction, placement and grouping to best meet the needs of all students.
For information on the NIFDI accountability system:
MYTHS ABOUT DIRECT INSTRUCTION
Numerous myths about DI circulate in education circles, usually by people who have never taught the program or never seen it used by teachers who have received proper training and support. These myths have to do with the supposed rigidity of DI, its inappropriateness for certain populations and its restrictions on creativity. These myths are myths. After you’ve taught the program for a few months, you will see that the program has the flexibility to accommodate the needs of lower and higher performing students, and it allows teacher creativity within the confines of the script, much as a play script allows an actor to be creative within its confines. Most importantly, you will see that all students succeed in ways you hadn’t thought possible before. The DI programs provide teachers with a powerful tool for presenting an instructional sequence that has been verified to be highly effective with the full range of learners. By providing effective wording and examples, the scripts allow teachers to focus on students’ responses. Teachers don’t need to worry about how to present critical skills and concepts. Instead, they can concentrate on what students know, what they don’t understand, and where they need additional practice or support. Your interaction with students will increase with DI because the DI programs elicit high rates of student responses in each lesson. With DI, you will have a much better understanding of your students’ skill levels than ever before. DI is effective with all students as long as they are placed and grouped at their skill levels and taught to mastery every day. Groups should be homogeneous with respect to students’ current performance level, and these groups should be flexible in order to incorporate different rates of student learning. Some students master skills and concepts quickly and may be ready to move to a higher group. Other students need additional practice and might need to be moved to a lower group. These adjustments to student placement are made on a weekly basis through the analysis of student performance data. To the largest extent possible with the school’s resources, instruction is individualized for students through flexible grouping.
For information on the DI urban legends and myths:
- Myths and Truths Abount Direct Instruction by Dr. Sara Tarver
- Direct Instruction and the Teaching of Early Reading: Wisconsin's Teacher-Led Insurgency
RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS
Teachers who are interested in learning about Direct Instruction before implementing it can access various resources. All Direct Instruction programs come with a Teacher’s Guide, which provides an overview of the program, an explanation of the major tracks within the program, sample formats and lessons, and placement tests with instructions for grouping and placing students. SRA/McGraw-Hill, the publisher of most Direct Instruction programs, can supply your school with a catalog, Teacher’s Guides and sample kits. (Call 1888 SRA 4543 or 1888 772 4543.) SRA provides other information about the Direct Instruction products on line.
Sopris West publishes DI programs for specialized needs: Direct Instruction Spoken English (DISE), a program intended for students in 3rd grade and above who are non-English-speakers, and REWARDS, a reading intervention program to help students decode multi-syllabic words.
Funnix.com publishes two DI reading programs in CD form for individual and small-group use: Funnix Beginning Reading and Funnix 2.
Schools that work with NIFDI receive two video training series on Reading Mastery. The first comes in 16 separate discs or video tapes and provides intensive, step-by-step practice in presenting key formats in the first three levels of the Reading Mastery curriculum. This series is terrific for supplemental training and in-service training throughout the year. The second series comes in 12 separate discs or video tapes and provides a broader overview of Reading Mastery, including a description of why reading is challenging for many students and how to set up a classroom for DI. Both sets are available for purchase from the NIFDI Store.
As mentioned above, NIFDI provides comprehensive training in DI methods for teachers on-site. Before working with NIFDI, schools can also send teachers for program training to the Anuual Direct Instruction Training Institute. The Institute is an opportunity to receive comprehensive training on a wide range of Direct Instruction curricula - the same training that schools partnering with NIFDI have received for years!
HOW YOU CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NIFDI AND THE DI PROGRAMS
Implementing Direct Instruction effectively requires a great deal of work, and being an effective DI teacher requires learning a different skill set than other teaching approaches. Teaching to mastery, following scripts, using specific correction procedures, and pacing lessons appropriately are a few of these skills. Teachers don’t have to spend time planning lessons, but they have to practice the scripts in order to be able to present the lesson formats fluently and respond to possible student responses. Teachers may find that some aspects of the DI implementation are unusual and take getting used to. NIFDI strives to make the implementation of DI a rewarding one for students, teachers, administrators and parents. Teachers working with NIFDI will be part of a schoolwide implementation of DI with flexible grouping, peer coaching and sharing data on student performance. Teachers who implement the program with fidelity will see tremendous gains by students, which will lead to improvements in students’ self-image and a more positive classroom atmosphere in general. With NIFDI, teachers can see unprecedented academic success and celebrate positive changes in the lives of their students!