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Direct Instruction: Explicit, systematic, detailed, and complex

Dr Kerry Hempenstall, Senior Industry Fellow, School of Education, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.


My blogs can be viewed on-line or downloaded as a Word file or PDF at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/olxpifutwcgvg8j/AABU8YNr4ZxiXPXzvHrrirR8a?dl=0

In 2016, I presented a paper at the researchED conference in Melbourne Australia. Entitled Direct Instruction: Explicit, systematic, detailed, and complex, it was a relatively brief (40 minute) presentation in which I attempted to contrast Direct Instruction with direct instruction and explicit teaching. I particularly wanted to highlight the instructional design element as a critical, but often ignored, strength of the DI approach.


I’m not sure how well I achieved my objective, but the overheads are available at https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-vOm7ef976_VnpXTGNUWTdwakk&usp=sharing


Direct Instruction is an often misunderstood exemplar of explicit teaching. Its underpinnings are comprehensive, and will be summarised. Engelmann described the preeminent feature of Direct Instruction as the orchestration of detail in program design and presentation. This involves “picky details of how the tasks are formulated, how the example sets are designed, how the details of lessons are organized and sequenced from lesson to the next so that only about 10-15% of each lesson presents brand new material, and how exercises are designed so they are unambiguous about details of the content” (Engelmann, 2004).


researchED is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing support for teachers across the world by creating opportunities for educators to meet face-to-face with academics, and hear the best of what we know about educating children. See their information at http://www.workingoutwhatworks.com/



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