Direct Instruction

Direct instruction is a teaching method that puts into consideration the needs of children with disabilities. This has made it a prevalent approach in many schools due to the need of initiating inclusive classrooms. The method builds on behaviorist learning theory by breaking learning tasks into smaller components. As a result, there is need to develop mastery of simple skills before an individual can proceed to more complex skills. Direct Instruction ensures that students are grouped based on their achievements. This helps in ensuring that the needs of every student have been taken care of. Direct Instruction is not a single approach; it entails a family of approaches that revolve around a similar ideology (Schug et al., 2001). It is arguably the most tested method with regards to teaching reading. The method is not only effective, but also works for both disadvantaged and advantaged students. It provides a suitable solution for inclusion whereby students with disability are accommodated in normal classroom environments. This aspect has made several critics argue that it favors students with disability more, which is not necessarily the case. Such arguments do not emanate from logic and evidence, but mere assumptions. Direct Instruction has the ability of enhancing competition among students based on the approaches used. Every student wants to stand-out hence gain the desire to study hard with the objective of gaining better results compared to their colleagues. This is a favorable way of prompting average students to move to the next level due to eminent satisfaction likely to be derived (Schug et al., 2001). While students put more effort in their education, aspects of undesirable behaviors also tend to decline. This is because they tend to concentrate their energy in learning rather than engaging in other mischievous behavior.

Implementation of Direct Instruction requires teachers to be provided with scripted lesson plans. The aspect ensures that the desired uniformity is established. These scripts are written, re-written, tested, retested, and revised in various classrooms setting in order to ensure that all students find it easy to grasp whatever material being relayed. The teacher is not expected to move forward until all the students are on the same page. The curriculum also ought to be vastly researched and tested before it is extended to the students. There is need to group students based on their achievements. This ensures that the students progress at a similar pace and none is left behind (Schug et al., 2001). Frequent assessments are also mandatory in order to ensure that all the students are attaining the desired mastery. Assessments help in identifying unresponsive students in order to come up with ways that would help them improve more.


There are several studies that have been conducted in the past regarding Direct Instruction. These studies can be used to show how effective it can be for struggling students.

Lingo, A., Slaton, D., & Jolivette, K. (2006). Effects of Corrective Reading on the Reading Abilities and Classroom Behaviors of Middle School Students With Reading Deficits and Challenging Behavior. Behavioral Disorders, 31(3), 265–283.

Lingo et al. (2006) assert that students with behavioral and emotional disorders are characterized by the aspect of not succeeding both socially and academically. They face a high probability of experiencing deficiency in basic academic skills compared to their peers without disability. On most occasions, the students tend to be excluded due to aggression, noncompliance, anti-social responses and disruption. It has been suggested that an effective mechanism of enhancing education among struggling students is by way of enhancing effective academic instruction. Direct Instruction has been identified among the methods that would help struggling students to improve (Lingo et al., 2006). The study was designed with the objective of identifying the efficacy of Corrective Reading program. This is a teaching mechanism encompassed in the Direct Instructions method.

For the methodology, the study uses seven participants. These participants are middle school students with diverse ethnic backgrounds. All the students are from special education classrooms. Seven students without disability were also chosen for comparison purposes. Two teachers were involved in the study. The effectiveness of the Corrective Reading Program was evaluated by use of multiple probe designs among the students. Periodic baseline data was collected once a student was introduced into the intervention.

From the study it was evident that the struggling students improved in one way or another. All the students involved improved their reading abilities. However, this was under varying degrees. The fluency gained was as a result of the Corrective Reading program. With regards to social behavior, there were contrasting results. Some students portrayed increased percentage of appropriate behavior while some portrayed a decreasing perspective (Lingo et al., 2006). These results are an indication of the benefits to be derived as a result of using Direct Instruction while dealing with students with disability.


Hicks, S., Rivera, C., & Wood, C. (2015). Using Direct Instruction: Teaching Preposition Use to Students With Intellectual Disability. Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch, 46, 194-206.

Hicks et al. (2015) emphasize that students with disability tend to struggle with regards to impairment and language delay. As a result, they tend to acquire language at a slower rate compared to other students without disability. This makes communication with their colleagues difficult. The students require explicit instruction in order to acquire certain basic skills (Hicks et al., 2015). The intention of this study was to assess the effects that direct education has with regards to response and use of prepositions among elementary students suffering from intellectual disability.

The participants involved in the study were students aged between 7 and 10 years. The participants ought to have had an IQ between 40 and 55, have the ability to repeat two-word phrases and have difficulties with prepositions for eligibility. A doctoral student involved with special education conducted the experiments. The research design entailed a multiple baseline with replication among participants. The participants obtained instructions on a certain preposition at a time.

The results indicated that all the students involved had the ability to generalize new skills on three different activities. The pre-test score for every student was zero. However, the post-test scores for every student were 100% after the intervention (Hicks et al., 2015). This was an indication that Direct Instruction is effective among students with disability. They were able to respond to and learn how to use preposition by use of this method. This study works to support other studies that indicate the effectiveness of Direct Instruction on struggling students.


Kim, T., & Axelrod, S. (2005). Direct instruction: An educators’ guide and a plea for action. The Behavior Analyst Today, 6(2), 111-120.

Kim & Axelrod (2005)postulate that there has always been a disparity on academic achievement between whites and the minority students. According to them, it is an aspect that prevails at every age level. There are numerous factors that can be considered to contribute to this occurrence. The research involved compared a variety of educational approaches in order to identify the most effective in helping to reduce this gap. Direct instruction method emerged as the most appropriate technique to help solve the problem.

The study focused upon is the 1967 national study that was promulgated by Lyndon Johnson’s administration as part of gearing war towards poverty. The study examined a variety of teaching methods in order to find the one that works for children of poverty. It used planned variation experimental designs with the objective of obtaining appropriate results. Any school that received a certain implementation was matched with another school that did not receive the implementation.

The results indicated that the most requested method from this study was Direct Instruction. This is a technique that involved teacher-centered approaches in impacting academic skills among students. It was evident that Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory, Intellectual Achievement Responsibility Scale and Metropolitan Achievement Test favored Direct Instruction in a big way (Kim & Axelrod, 2005).  Direct Instruction helped improve math and reading skills, conceptual and cognitive thinking and self esteem. This shows how the method is effective in bridging the gap between minority and majority students.


Using the Direct Instruction Method

The above information shows that Direct Instruction works favorably when dealing with students with disability. As a result, it is a method that I would use with my students. This is for both students with disability and students without disability.

I wish to use this approach by way of a resource room. This would mean grouping students with disability together in order to ensure that they are moving in the same direction. Grouping them together ensures that there is formation of a unit that has similarities in various ways. This means that it would be possible to implement a similar curriculum without putting any student at the expense of being left out. The approach will help give the disabilities portrayed specialized and direct instruction on various academic areas. This can be done in groups or approach it as per individual based on the needs. Instructions provided will be systematic and explicit based on the lesson scripts. There will be an emphasis on efficiency and pace under this array. I will conduct frequent assessments in order to identify the progress made by each student. The assessments will provide information on whether there is need to regroup the students or things are heading in the desired direction. The resources rooms will play a vital role in ensuring that students with disability gain the relevant academic skills, hence move forward as their counterparts without disability.



Lingo, A., Slaton, D., & Jolivette, K. (2006). Effects of Corrective Reading on the Reading Abilities and Classroom Behaviors of Middle School Students With Reading Defi cits and Challenging Behavior. Behavioral Disorders, 31(3), 265–283-265–283.

Hicks, S., Rivera, C., & Wood, C. (2015). Using Direct Instruction: Teaching Preposition Use to Students With Intellectual Disability. Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch, 46, 194-206.

Kim, T., & Axelrod, S. (2005). Direct instruction: An educators’ guide and a plea for action. The Behavior Analyst Today, 6(2), 111-120.

Schug, M., Tarver, S., & Western, R. (2001). Direct Instruction and the Teaching of Reading. Wisconsin’s Teacher-Led Insurgency, 14(2), 27-27.


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