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Direct teaching/instruction

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Direct teaching/instruction is a step-by-step, lesson-by-lesson approach to teaching which is scripted and follows a pre-determined skill acquisition sequence. The aim of using direct teaching/instruction is to take local variation and teacher/child idiosyncrasy out of instruction (Luke, 2014) and for children to learn through imitation. It is also used as a general term for the teaching of skills by telling or demonstrating. It is a common approach used for the teaching of handwriting, as well as phonics, letters and numerals.

If utilised effectively, possible characteristics may include: explicit and scaffolded.

Direct teaching/instruction unpacked

Teachers may:

  • control content, activities and lesson pacing
  • use pre-planned sequences of content and activities (fixed, linear and incremental)
  • use behaviouristic learning principles (getting children's attention, reinforcing correct responses, providing corrective feedback, practising correct responses)
  • place children in ability/achievement groups.

Children may:

  • follow and participate in structured class routines
  • follow a series of instructions
  • acquire content or skills through rote learning, drill and repetition
  • practise content or skills using worksheets and workbooks
  • produce a desired action/behaviour/product.

Download the approaches of age-appropriate pedagogies in action: direct teaching/instruction (PDF, 178KB) (DOCX, 38KB) to further explore the approach.


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Last updated 29 April 2019