In the last year there has been a significant change to our academic program here at Sunrise.  Our students used to work independently on a curriculum that was developed by their teachers.  While there were some strengths to this approach, it was decided that we could better serve our students through direct instruction.  By using direct instruction, teachers give daily lessons to a class, and then individualize their instruction as needed.  This type of method has numerous advantages, and is very important to the academic success of our students.

1. Direct Instruction Mirrors Home Life

Direct instruction is important because it mirrors the environment that many of our students will return to when they leave Sunrise.  They will be in a class full of other students, they will have to listen to lectures, they will need to be able work in groups, they will have deadlines, they will have a work load, and they will not always be able to work at their own pace.  By using direct instruction, we are able teach our students coping skills in dealing with a school environment; we are able to prepare them for what they will encounter once they leave Sunrise.

2. Direct Instruction Provides More Detailed & Varied Instruction

I believe that by using direct instruction instead of independent study, I am able to provide more detailed and varied instruction.  Instead waiting for my students to turn in their work, I am able to assess how well they grasp a concept while I am teaching it.  This then enables me to modify the lesson as needed.  As a result, I am able to accommodate more learning styles and better help students with learning disabilities.  It also lets me monitor their progress and adjust my instruction to fill in the gaps they might have in their learning.  Using direct instruction also allows students to ask more questions and have me reteach the concepts that they are having difficulty with.  I am able to be far more flexible than if I had my students do independent study.

3. Direct Instruction Allows for More Interaction

Lastly, direct instruction is important because it allows for more interaction.  Students are able to ask more questions and request assistance.  They are also able to discuss their interests, enabling me to add those to my lessons.  At Sunrise, we emphasize the building of appropriate relationships.  Direct instruction helps facilitate this by encouraging more communication in the classroom.  Students have a better opportunity to discuss their ideas and feelings in a group.  They are able to get to know one another as well as their teachers.
Moving to direct instruction has been very successful at Sunrise.  We have been able to better prepare our students for their academic future, while addressing their individual needs.  This change has allowed us to give our students the means to be more successful in the future.
by Jeff Rohwer, BS, Social Studies Teacher.