Throughout the year, the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) provides staff development through in-service training sessions for schools implementing Direct Instruction (DI). These in-service sessions pick up where the preservice training leaves off by preparing participants to teach formats that appear later in the program and expanding on techniques covered during preservice. The NIFDI Implementation Manager initially conducts the in-services. The building coordinator and grade-level coaches (with the support of the NIFDI Implementation Manager) begin conducting training sessions after they have completed the first level of the coaches’ training program and gained some experience teaching the DI programs.
In-service sessions can involve just the teachers or aides teaching a specific level of a program, or they can involve the whole staff. The sessions may focus on a specific technique or format for a small group of teachers, such as a rhyming format, or on a more general topic for the whole staff, such as motivating students. In-services can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a whole day depending on the topic and the number of teachers involved. As with the preservice training, in-service training sessions usually focus on the direct application of DI techniques through simulated practice to ensure that teachers and aides can perform these techniques in their classrooms.
Session topics are based on student and staff needs, not on a predetermined schedule. Sources for session topics include classroom observations by the NIFDI Implementation Manager and the building’s coaching staff, teacher reports of student problems, and student performance data. Although there are some reoccurring in-service topics--like using specific praise effectively, teaching to mastery and providing appropriate think time for students to respond to tasks--the in-service sessions for each school are unique and designed to address problems specific to each situation.
IMPORTANT: An effective preservice training can provide a good start for a successful implementation of DI, but for teachers to be highly successful with the program, they should receive ongoing professional development throughout the first three years of implementation. Schools that receive in-service training sessions targeted at specific needs will be much more successful than schools that simply rely on an initial preservice training for professional development.
See also: Practicing