The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre is York Region’s only school for autism and we believe that all students have the potential to learn. By combining the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis with the Ontario Curriculum, The Lighthouse gives students with autism the opportunity to access their true academic potential.
What is Direct Instruction?
“Direct Instruction (DI) is a model for teaching that emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments and clearly defined and prescribed teaching tasks. It is based on the theory that clear instruction eliminating misinterpretations can greatly improve and accelerate learning.”
Why does Direct Instruction work?
There are four main features of direct instruction that ensure students learn faster and more efficiently than other program or technique available: at the Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre we focus on three of those;
1. Students are placed in instruction at their skill level
When students begin the program, each student is tested to find out which skills they have already mastered and which ones they need to work on. From this, students are grouped together with other students needing to work on the same skills. These groups are organized by the level of the program that is appropriate for students, rather than the grade level the students are in.
2. The program’s structure is designed to ensure mastery of the content
The program is organized so that skills are introduced gradually, giving children a chance to learn those skills and apply them before being required to learn another new set of skills. Only 10% of each lesson is new material. The remaining 90% of each lesson’s content is review and application of skills students have already learned but need practice with in order to master. Skills and concepts are taught in isolation and then integrated with other skills into more sophisticated, higher-level applications. All details of instruction are controlled to minimize the chance of students’ misinterpreting the information being taught and to maximize the reinforcing effect of instruction.
3. Instruction is modified to accommodate each student’s rate of learning
A particularly wonderful part about DI is that students are retaught or accelerated at the rate at which they learn. If they need more practice with a specific skill, teachers can provide the additional instruction within the program to ensure students master the skill. Conversely, if a student is easily acquiring the new skills and needs to advance to the next level, students can be moved to a new placement so that they may continue adding to the skills they already possess.”
The information above was taken directly from the National Institute for Direct Instruction: The Gold Standard in Direct Instruction. Their website is www.nifdi.org