Borich Chapter 7 (reading Reflection #5, due 8/2)

NOTE: what follows is basically my own rough outline of the chapter, my personal thoughts are in this font and color

Teaching Strategies for Direct Instruction

An instructional strategy by which the seven instructional events (from chapter 4)

  1. Gaining attention
  2. Informing the learner of the objective
  3. Stimulating recall of prerequisite learning
  4. Presenting the stimulus material
  5. Eliciting the desired behavior
  6. Providing feedback
  7. Assessing the behavior

Categories of teaching and learning

  • Type 1:  facts, rules and action sequences
  • Type 2:  concepts, patterns and abstractions

“Knowledge acquisition and inquiry are different types of learning outcomes, so each must be linked with the specific strategies most likely to produce the desired outcome. This chapter presents a group of strategies for teaching knowledge acquisition Involving facts, rules, and action sequences called direct Instruction. The next chapter presents strategies for teaching inquiry and problem solving involving concepts, patterns, and abstractions called Indirect Instruction. In subsequent chapters, both types of learning are combined to show how together they can provide a menu of teaching strategies that help your learners solve problems, think critically, and work cooperatively”  (Borich, 2011, p. 223).

Introduction to direct instruction strategies

  1. You clearly present goals and main points
  2. You present content sequentially
  3. You are specific and concrete
  4. You check for students’ understanding


When is direct instruction appropriate?

  • when the book is boring (facetious)
  • when students don’t read the book, because it is boring (facetious)
  • when the content is so boring it can only be learned by repetition (mastery of learning) (facetious)

NOTE:  I really don’t think Direct Instruction is getting a fair and impartial treatment in this chapter, FYI.  It almost seems like it is the last resort and bastion of the boring teacher…


Daily review and checking the previous day’s work (1/6 DI strategies) can be done by

  1. Having students correct each other’s homework at the beginning of class
  2. having students identify especially difficult homework problems in a question-and-answer format
  3. Sampling the understanding of a few students who are good indicators of the range of knowledge possessed by the entire class
  4. Explicitly reviewing the task-relevant information necessary for the day’s lesson.

steering group:  is a small number of low, average and high performers who can be queried at the start of class on the task-relevant prior knowledge needed for the day’s lesson.

Presenting and Structuring (second strategy 2/6 in the direct instruction model)
some ways to break down topic into smaller, more manageable chunks

  • Part-Whole Relationships
  • Sequential Relationships
  • Combinations of Relationships
  • Comparative Relationships
  • Using the Methods (above)  rule-example-rule, order.

Guided student practice (third strategy 3/6 in the direct instruction model) (Borich, 2011, p. 234)

rethink – focus – remember

  • Prompting
    • Verbal Prompts
    • Gestural Prompts
    • Physical Prompts
    • Least-to-Most Intrusive Prompting
    • Full-Class Prompting (ordered turns)
  • Modeling (social learning theory)
    • Attention (four psychological processes need to occur in order to benefit from modeling)
    • Retention
    • Production
    • Motivation

Feedback and Correctives (fourth strategy 4/6 in direct instruction model) (Borich, 2011, p. 238)

  • Correct, Quick and Firm (four categories of student responses)
  • Correct, but Hesitant
  • Incorrect Because of Carelessness
  • Incorrect Because of Lack of Knowledge


  • Strategies for Incorrect Responses
  1. Review the key facts or rules needed to produce a correct solution
  2. Explain the steps used to reach a correct solution
  3. Prompt with clues or hints that represent a partially correct answer
  4. Use different but similar problems to guide student to the correct answer

active responding / passive responding

Independent Practice (fifth strategy 5/6 in direct instruction model) (Borich, 2011, p. 240)

  • unitization:  force simultaneous consideration of all the individual units of a problem
  • automaticity:  connect the units into a single harmonious sequence of action

guidelines for promoting effective practice

  • students should understand the reason for practice
  • effective practice is delivered in a manner that is brief, non-evaluative, and supportive
  • practice should be designed to ensure success
  • practice should be arranged to allow students to receive feedback
  • practice should have the qualities of progress, challenge and variety

things the teacher can do during practice

  1. walk through the first two
  2. schedule seatwork/computer time
  3. circulate during practice time

Weekly and monthly reviews (sixth strategy 6/6 in direct instruction model) (Borich, 2011, p. 243)

Schedule these in response to student accuracy of cold calls.

Other forms of direct instruction

Culturally responsive direct instruction

  • fluency, i.e. quickness of student response, can be influenced by nurturing and expressive qualities of the teacher
  • body posture, language, eye contact all form a pattern of metacommunication that is recognized by the learner and acted on according to the message being conveyed, intentionally or not.
  • tricks to convey a sense of nurturance and caring
    • appropriate examples –> clarify concepts & model performance
    • accept student’s way of understanding
    • reduce feelings of competitiveness
    • increase opportunities for social reinforcement
    • facilitate group achievement
    • use and expect culturally appropriate eye contact with students
    • recognize longer pauses and slower tempo
    • respond to unique or different questions during response
    • balance compliments and reinforcement equally.

What I learned from this chapter.  It is good to know that direct instruction is not dead, which you might assume to hear how other methods are talked about and touted for their ability to get results.  It is also good to know certain tricks that help my direct instruction be more effective.  In particular I learned about tips in giving feedback and correctives.  I really want to have productive dialogue, good give-and-take during my direct instruction sessions.  I think that is a valuable part of direct instruction that simply *cannot* happen during other classroom modalities.


Borich, G. D. (2011). Effective Teaching Methods: Research-Based Practice. (7th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.

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  • Elaine Schield  On August 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I agree, it seems that direct instruction has become the second choice method for presenting material. This chapter did have some really great strategies for feedback. I think the take away from all the types of instruction is that they should be chosen based on the type of outcomes we desire. For example, if we want type 1 learning, direct instruction is the best method. If type two learning is our desire, we need to choose a different method of instruction, mainly indirect.

    By the way I like your outline format for your post.

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