Direct Instruction – How to Make A Difference to Learning

Direct Instruction

The Powerhouse of Learning

Direct instruction should be on the teaching strategies list.

Your stratgeies lists is your Tools of Trade.

Like any professional, you must keep your tools of trade in good order. Relief Teachers are in the enviable position of being able to try out the full range in your teaching strategies list.


A teaching strategies list is like a recipe for success.

You can flick through the list, select any teaching strategy that may suit and give it a go.

Let me start the teaching strategies list with the number 1 teaching strategy - Direct Instruction.

Direct instruction was the teaching strategy of choice in the 60s. In fact it was pretty much the ONLY teaching strategy

That's 1960, but I guess it was also the strategy of choice in the 1760 and 1860 as well - it has been around THAT long.

Direct Teaching is not Rocket Science

Direct Instruction

Really, Direct Teaching is an effective teaching strategy and it is not difficult to understand why?

Direct teaching is based on the premise that every student will learn and quality teaching makes a difference. In fact quality teaching is the driving force of the achievement of learning outcomes.​

However, it lost its popularity in the late 70s in favour of the more liberal approaches of the child centred open classrooms and the more exploratory system of learning. These include inquiry based, discovery learning, peer tutoring and the like.

Children began working in groups. Teachers no longer stood at the front of the room. Classroom interactions became more varied.

Unfortunately, Direct Instruction was frowned upon as being old-fashioned.

And perhaps it was and still is. But is gets results. 

An American study called "Project Follow Through" is the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted.

The study looked at data from 1965 to 1995 and found Direct Instruction to be the most successful of all teaching strategies in achieving student outcomes.

This Project looked at the comprehensive range on the teaching strategies list and came up with the inescapable conclusion.

Direct Instruction Works.​

direct instruction

Direct Instruction Works

It is difficult to refute the facts that Direct Instruction as a teaching strategy consistently gets results.

Why is Direct Instruction top of the teaching strategies list?

Direct instruction (or direct teaching) is a highly structured teaching strategy. It's used to build and consolidate student knowledge, understanding and skills.

The teacher actively directs the students in learning activities and focuses on ensuring all students achieve and consolidate the learning objectives.

The teacher is the driver of the learning situation.

Direct Instruction uses an explicit skill-set including lectures or demonstrations of the material.

The teacher explains the skill or subject matter to be taught and usually includes an opportunity for student participation and individual practice.

direct instruction

Direct Instruction is not only found in schools. It is found in sport training, driving instruction, armed force training. It is found where the achievement is an important outcome.

Don't get me wrong here.

Successful Direct Instruction does not just mean standing in front of a class and talking.

How to Make Direct Instruction Successful

Direct instruction requires several key components to be successful including the following

  • Explicit Teaching
  • Intensive Instruction
  • Structured Overviews
  • Drill and Practice
Direct Instruction

Please don't assume Direct Instruction is the only model of instruction you should use. You will be doing your students a gross disservice if this is the case. You must incorporate other models of learning.

Just don't forget that Direct Instruction always get results.​

Join the Direct Instruction online course - coming soon.

Direct Instruction is a general term  referring to a specific skill set. It is powerful and gets results. Learn More.

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