Four decades of teaching and learning research have proven that coherent unit/lesson design strategies, systematic instruction, pre-corrective and corrective routines, high levels of engagement, ongoing formative assessment, re-teaching, acceleration, and retesting routines – in combination – predictably and positively impact student achievement. Action Learning Systems has designed and developed a proven system for instructional design and delivery.
Called Direct Interactive Instruction, or DII, this is the single most efficient, effective, and research-based approach to closing the achievement gap. DII strategies guide teachers to disaggregate and sequence even the most difficult concepts at the highest levels of cognition and achieve a high success rate with all students. DII delivers a comprehensive schema for teachers, coaches, and principals to ensure every student is interacting with content from bell to bell.
Using Academic Learning Time as the centerpiece for DII and its components transcend, expand and deepen familiar DII strategies. Academic Learning Time includes all available time, time allocated to instruction, and the engagement rate of students during the allocated time. When allocated time is equal to available time, and students are highly engaged, the result is a higher success rate.
Direct Interactive Instruction involves consistent, persistent, and creative application of four components: (1) Standards and Measurable Objectives, (2) Lesson Structure and Sequence, (3) Student Engagement, Feedback, and Correctives, and (4) Proactive Classroom Management. Each of these essential components has identifiable, explicit, observable characteristics that differentiate it from the other three and from traditional approaches to instruction. DII as a set of teacher planning and delivery techniques can be applied to all content areas and grade levels.
Each of the four essential components has identifiable, explicit, observable characteristics that differentiate it from the other three and from traditional approaches to instruction. DII as a set of teacher planning and delivery techniques can be applied to all content areas and grade levels. Using Academic Learning Time as the centerpiece for DII and its four components transcend, expand and deepen familiar DII strategies.
Standards and Measurable Objectives
When teachers ground their lessons in explicit standards and measurable objectives that define what students will know and be able to do at the end of—the lesson, the chapter, the course, the semester—clarity of focus is assured for students. When the teacher is focused on what “the end” looks like and what students will demonstrate to “show they know,” much more effective and targeted instruction is possible.
Lesson Structure and Sequence
Instructional routines provide predictable structure to the lessons. The sequence of lessons should be consistent and use best practices. These practices include a “path” from the introduction of the lesson objective through to the final demonstration of the learning. When instructional routines including lesson structure and sequence are held as constant as possible, student learning rate increases over time—students learn how to learn and less time is spent organizing, structuring, and orienting students.
Student Engagement, Feedback, and Correctives
This is perhaps the greatest single factor for an individual student and has the greatest effect on his/her opportunity to achieve. Engaging students in a continuous, high level of expectations and interaction can test beliefs about whether all students can learn at high levels. The flow of interaction, a balance of opportunity, and rapid correctives that re-teach when a student doesn't "get it" is hard work. However, the positive results obtained through teacher-student and student-student relationships are known to impact student motivation, understanding, retention, and transfer of important learning.
Proactive Classroom Management
Students and teachers have a limited amount of energy to spend learning during a given lesson. If much of that energy is used in managing frequent stops and starts of instruction due to student off-task behaviors, getting back on track, and dealing with the ripple effects of interruptions, not much time, or energy, will be left for instruction. Active management of downtime in the classroom is an important factor in acquiring and maintaining active engagement during instruction. Proactive Classroom Management is a powerful way to avoid behavioral interruptions that steal Academic Learning Time.