Direct vs. Indirect Instruction

Direct Instruction
-best to use when teaching knowledge acquisition involving facts, rules, and action sequences
-teacher-centered (teacher provides information, facts, rules, action sequences)
-teacher is lecturer (most often)
-common form: lecture-recitation with explanations, examples, and opportunities for practice and feedback
-instructional methods: lecture, collaboration
-uses the first three of Bloom’s taxonomy: Knowledge, Comprehension, and Application
-largely verbal, lecture and teacher-student question/answer practice for understanding
-steps: present objectives and goals (may use a set induction), present content sequentially in small steps (may use a graphic organizer), model skills or processes with specific and concrete methods (use an advanced organizer to access prior knowledge), check for understanding before moving from one point to the next (with corrective feedback), ask students questions and have them summarize in their own words or re-teach a partner (give period practice and feedback)
-full-class instruction
-organize learning around questions you pose
-provide detailed and redundant practice
-present material sequentially so students can master a new fact or rule before moving on
-classroom is formally arranged to facilitate recitation and assessment during practice

When to use: If there is a workbook and textbook that help student practice, you would more likely use direct instruction if the material within required much breaking down or subdividing the material. Another reason is to spark student’s interest (ie if they think the textbook looks boring): make it relevant to real-life or explain any questions or misunderstandings they have. In order for students to master learning they need additional instruction from the teacher to give clarity to the information and to ensure their comprehension of it.

When not to use: When objectives other than learning facts, rules, or behavior sequences are desired, direct instruction would be less efficient than inquiry or problem-solving strategies. Direct instruction relates more to lower levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. Do not use if students already have a grasp of lower-level learning concepts of the topic.


Indirect Instruction
-Indirect means that the learner acquires a behavior indirectly by transforming, or constructing, the stimulus material into meaningful response or behavior that differs from both (1) the content being used to present the learning and (2) any previous response given by the student
-best to use when teaching concepts, abstractions, or patterns
-best to use when the learning process is inquiry-based, the result is discovery, and the learning context is a problem
-student-centered (student is an interactive participant)
-teacher is facilitator
-small group instruction
-instructional methods: discovery learning, cooperative learning, all student-guided
-uses all parts of Bloom’s taxonomy including Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation
-indirect instruction involves: organizing content, inductive and deductive reasoning, examples and non-examples, student experiences, questions, student’s self-evaluation, and group discussion