The Curriculum Approach of Direct Instruction

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The National Institute for Direct Instructions defines DI as a model for teaching that emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments and clearly defined and prescribed teaching tasks. It is based on the theory that clear instruction eliminating misinterpretations can greatly improve and accelerate learning (NIFDI 2007). Primarily the series cover an elementary school (pre-K-6) program, but it is also used successfully with secondary and adult special education and remedial students (J/P Associates 2006).Unlike the majority of modern mainstream curriculum programs, demanding more funding, more welfare, more licensing of parents, more computers, more self-esteem therapy, etc. and blaming the government, family and the society as a whole, the philosophy behind Direct Instruction is If the child hasn’t learned, the teacher hasn’t taught. Direct Instruction has proved that even disadvantaged children may excel if simply properly taught at school. The vast research accomplished during thirty years has demonstrated that DI not only helps at-risk groups of students to catch up with their peers but even to overcome them and continue being successful further in upper grades. Another important feature of DI is that the program is not expensive, while it was designed for the schools in poor districts, where the children have always shown low academic performance. The schools that have acquired the program have become the ones with the best results in their districts or even cities, notwithstanding the fact that those were less funded schools, with students viewed as problematic and disadvantaged.According to the American Federation of Teachers, the program was created by Siegfried Engelmann and Dr. Wesley Becker in the 1960s as part of Project Follow Through, a massive educational initiative of President Johnsons War on Poverty.