Direct Instruction

In direct instruction, the teacher delivers information to students with an “I talk, you listen” approach. This means that “the teacher stands in front of a classroom and presents the information. The teacher gives explicit, guided instructions to the students” (Renard, 2019). Although direct instruction is a teacher-centred pedagogy and modern learning should be more a student-centred approach, it is important to incorporate aspects of direct instruction. Particularly, direct instruction can be used effectively for providing more detailed, important, and structured information (particularly safety concerns). Although I do not support and implement strictly teacher-direct lessons, I do understand the benefits of direct instruction (in segments) and it is a part of my teaching pedagogy and learning design. 

Teaching” by DBduo Photography is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

In my teaching pedagogy and learning design, I truly value student-centred learning and the use of inquiry, research, and critical thinking skills to answer questions that are designed by the students (with support from the teacher). However, I structure my lessons include multiple teaching approaches and pedagogies. In a routine lesson (i.e., mathematics), students problem solve, inquire about questions (using manipulatives), I use direct instruction to teach, then students practice and ask questions to clarify. In this lesson model, students use their critical thinking, problem solving, and oral language skills to create a personified meaning of material and direct instruction is used to certify answers, clarify misconceptions, and give concrete information. I find this learning design model particularly useful during my mathematic lessons. However, I strongly discourage direct instruction being the only teaching pedagogy and learning design model that is used. It needs to be supported with different learning approaches and pedagogies to further student learning. If direct instruction is used for a prolonged period of time, brain breaks need to be implemented to increase student engagement, information intake, and learning outcomes. 

Powerpoint Slide: ‘A measure of the amount of direct instruction the brain can handle at different ages’” by Ken Whytock is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

The use of direct instruction in this learning design approach supports students’ learning by giving them the information needed to become successful. Generally, direction instruction “breaks learning into smaller steps with scaffolding, leading towards students’ independence and master” (Rosenshine, 2008; Rupley, 2009). Adding on, although direction instruction is beneficial for all students (when used appropriately – timespan matters! – see above), “it is particularly effective in increasing the rate of learning for students with specific learning disabilities” (Sommerville & Leach, 1988). 

After becoming more informed about the direct instruction approach, it does have a limited role in our Interactive Learning Resource. Through our learning resource about brain breaks, there will be aspects that will rely on direct instruction; however, most of our learning resource will rely on different approaches to learning. This is because our learning resource will be interactive, have a wide-range of activities, and will have a limited amount of teacher-centered instruction. As stated earlier, direct instruction does have its benefits, so it will be prominent in the resource. 


Rosenshine, B. (2008). Five meanings of direct instruction. Center on Innovation & Improvement. 

Renard, L. (2019, March 28). Direct instruction – A practical guide to effective teaching. BookWidgets. 

Rupley, W.H., (2009). Introduction to direct/explicit instruction in reading for the struggling reader: Phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Reading & Writing Quarterly25, 119-124.

3 Replies to “Direct Instruction”

  1. Hi Joshua!

    Thank you for your blog post! It was laid out very clearly, and I learned a lot! One thing that really surprised me was the picture of appropriate direct instruction. It shocked me that direct instruction for adults is recommended to be 15-18 minutes, yet we spend hours, sometimes up to 2 hours, listening to direct instruction from professors. I often use the phrase “they are just talking at us”, because after a while of sitting in lectures (usually about 20 minutes) I stop taking things in and truly listening.

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