Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Education Bookcast

Aug 8, 2022

I've spent a lot of time on the podcast so far discussing discovery learning, but not had any episodes explicitly dedicated to what might be considered its antithesis, Direct Instruction. In this episode I finally get round to this worthy topic.

First of all, uppercase "Direct Instruction", or DI for short, should be distinguished from lowercase "direct instruction". The latter refers to explicit teaching in general, whereas the former, as a proper noun, refers to a specific implementation and philosophy as designed by Siegfried Engelmann and colleagues, starting in the early 1960s. Direct Instruction is also considered to be a type of Comprehensive School Reform (CSR), and indeed, in my episode covering a meta-analysis of CSR I pointed out that DI was one of the three most effective CSR models.

Direct Instruction came to fame in the early 1970s as a result of Project Follow Through, which was the largest educational study ever funded by the United States government. DI was one of the 13 models used in the program and performed very well. Since then it has had a further half century of evidence gathering, which will give us plenty to look at.

In this first part of the episode, I introduce the nature and methods of Direct Instruction, as well as a brief introduction to Project Follow Through. The aim is to have you familiar with exactly what this approach is before we go into how well it does or doesn't work in the later recordings of this episode.

Enjoy the episode.



The Direct Instruction Follow Through Model: Design and Outcomes by Engelmann et al. (1988)

The Effectiveness of Direct Instruction Curricula: A Meta-Analysis of a Half Century of Research by Stockard et al. (2018)


74. Marva Collins' Way by Marva Collins and Civia Tamarkin

76. Comprehensive School Reform

88. The Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-based, Experiential, and Inquiry-based Teaching

90. Discovery learning: the idea that won't die


You can support Education Bookcast and join the community forum by visiting