• A
  • A
Switch colours to view the site as you prefer!

Direct Instruction is a model too

In my hands Direct Instruction was a multipurpose tool used to address every pedagogical situation I faced as a teacher. It was bent and refashioned to do what I wanted but it wasn’t that malleable.

Direct instruction has a poor reputation. Regardless of the language used to describe it – command style, teacher-centred, skills and drills, teaching by task – it is considered to be the poorest of relations when it comes to teaching. It is, in short, the Uncle Buck/Scrooge of pedagogical approaches.

I used to use it. I still do (but I’ll get to that later). Once it was my one and only instructional approach. My role in the class, as far as I could see, was to make all the decisions and the kids, well, if they followed my instructions then they would get better and if they didn’t – well, more the fool them. I didn’t choose to be ‘Commander Casey’– at least I don’t recall going into the pedagogy shop and picking this one off the shelf – it just kind of happened. When I started to lead small groups as a teenager in my school’s PE department I used it. When I worked unqualified for two years in the same school I used it some more. I was just following the example given to me by my teachers.

When, as a pre-service teacher, I meet a road block on my teaching practice (practicum) that my command style approach couldn’t get me past I discovered guided discovery. At the time, I really felt I discovered this on my own – through sheer pedagogical genius (oh the arrogance of youth) – but I now suspect that I’d been guided towards this by the staff on my teacher training course. I just didn’t make the connection.

So now I had two approaches. One (direct instruction) was my days of the week approach and the other (guided discovery) was my special occasion/Sunday best approach to teaching.

When, seven years later (still armed with the same two approaches – although I suspect/hope they had refined like a good wine over the intervening time) I started a Masters’ degree and discovered other ways of teaching I was gobsmacked (chiefly Britain, Australia, slang - flabbergasted, astounded, speechless, overawed). I wanted to get me some of this and I did.

The trouble is I then demonised direct instruction. Guided discovery got a better deal because more of the decisions were being made by the kids. But direct instruction was now the antithesis of what I stood for. I cast it out. Sent it packing. Cut off my nose to spite my face.

And I forgot about all the good things I could achieve with it; indeed, had achieved with it.

In short, I tried to throw the baby (Direct Instruction – now a teenager with its own hopes and dreams) out with the bath water (my desire to be a better teacher).

The things I didn’t consider when trying to do this were many. This is not an exhaustive list but I didn’t consider the sheer effort it would take to get even moderately good at using Cooperative Learning, let alone Sport Education, Teaching Games for Understanding/Tactical games, and Games Making. I don’t consider the busyness of school nor the risks that were inherent in physical education (e.g. in swimming, gymnastics, rugby etc.) and the need I’d feel to be making the decisions when faced with the largest risks to student safety. But instead of seeing the good in, and the need for, direct instruction I simply threw it away. Or at least I tried to.

The truth is direct instruction wasn’t going anywhere fast. Like Woody in Toy Story it remained a childhood favourite but was something, in my maturing years, that I couldn’t be seen to be ‘playing with’. At least not in my newly opened eyes. Despite my scorn, however, it saved me on many occasions. When my novice use of Cooperative Learning stumbled I simply (and unconsciously) brought a little direct instruction to bear on the situation. It helped me to fill the knowledge and practice gaps the kids and I had when it came to using a models-based approach. 

Despite this, truth be told, it annoyed me. Why wouldn’t it just go away and leave me alone? I wanted to be this new teacher who used models and didn’t realise that it was a journey filled with many steps rather than a Start Trek teleporter. I needed to take the time to learn to teach in new ways and the kids needed time to learn to learn in new ways.

Over the years this journey has got me thinking. Why did I immediately seek to relegate the pedagogy of my youth to the position of least favourite and embarrassing uncle? To being a childhood toy left to gather dust in my toy box? Was it really that bad?

The answer is no.

And the answer is yes.

When used as my only approach to teach it was a Swiss army knife. It was a multipurpose tool used to address every pedagogical situation I faced as a teacher. It was bent and refashioned to do what I wanted but it wasn’t that malleable. The malleable bit was the kids’ learning. That could be tailored to fit my pedagogy but there was only so much manipulation direct instruction would take before a bit broke off.

When it was used alongside guided discovery it was better. Now I had two multipurpose tools. Tools that individually and collectively could address more of the dilemmas I was facing as a teacher. But they were also blinding me to other options. I still dressed #physed up as being about skills and techniques. It was about a specific body of knowledge that had to be taught and in this way my pedagogy matched by philosophy and beliefs about #physed.

One of the fundamental changes that occurred in me was the shift in philosophy. Kids didn’t need to learn how to throw a javelin exactly in the way an Olympian would throw one. They didn’t have to swim butterfly at state/district level or thread a pass like [insert the name of greater passer of the ball from your sport]. Not in every lesson or even the majority of lessons. Yes, learning to throw, swim and pass are life skills but if they (the ball or the person) got from A to B at a pace that suited them and I could help them find the means to improve that then I was doing a good job.

If I could help them develop in the physical, cognitive, social and affective domains then I was an improving teacher.

If I could dream about and practice using a models-based approach and improving as a teacher then I would be making progress. If, in turn, I could have higher/different aspiration for learning in my classroom but not make either of these dreams my master then I could make sustained progress to my goals.

What I learnt – and this was the hardest lesson for me I think – was that direct instruction wasn’t/isn’t an inherently bad thing. That said, it’s not the only instructional approach. It becomes ‘bad’ when used unquestionably. When it is positioned as a hammer and every pedagogical situation is seen as a nail then it gets used for everything. That is when it becomes (and should be) demonised and this is where it gets its poor (and well-deserved) reputation.

I wonder though. Do we demonise our own use of it or just other peoples? Do we know when we use it? Why we use it? Do we recognise it in ourselves? Do we see all sides of it and understand, when used by us, what it can/can’t help us achieve?

In his compendium of instructional models Mike Metzler (2011) positions Direct Instruction (with the by-line ‘teacher as instructional leader’) as one of his eight models. His key caveat, however, is that while the popularised notion of direct instruction may resemble the Direct Instruction Model they are not, and should not be mistaken as, the same thing. In doing this Metzler asks the reader to consider the ways in which the model differs from their own practice.

In presenting the Direct Instruction Model (and the other seven models) Metzler explores the assumptions than are made about teaching and learning when using the model. He also presents six operations that a teacher using Direct Instruction would either follow or closely follow. While it is beyond the scope of this blog to cover these in their entirety I will try and summarise below.

Assumptions about teaching: The teacher is the main source of content and should be centrally involved in planning and implementation; The teacher has the requisite content knowledge and should place that content into smaller learning tasks; The teacher should manage the complexity of the learning environment to maximise engagement.

Assumptions about learning: learning occurs in incremental steps when the learner has a clear understanding of the task and the criteria for success; learning occurs when behaviours become reinforced by positive outcomes; learners need very high rates of opportunities to respond (i.e. engagement) in order to shape their learning into the desired performance form or outcome.

The six operations for teachers (Rosenshine, 1983, p. 338 cited in Metzler, 2011, p. 174):

1. Review of previously learned material.

2. Presentation of new content/skill.

3. Initial student practice.

4. feedback and correctives.

5. Independent practice.

6. Periodic reviews.

When considered and used in this way, and when thought of as part of a programmatic approach to teaching (one that uses a range of pedagogical models/approaches), then direct instruction has a meaningful and important place within #physed. This is what took me so long to understand.

So, in reflecting on your desire to, or inquisitive interest in, adopting a models-based approach think careful about what you already do. Find the good bits and take a firm grip. My advice is don’t do what I tried to do and look to throw the baby out with the bath water. 

References

Metzler, M. (2011). Instructional Models for Physical Education (3rd Edition). Scottsdale, Arizona: Holcomb Hathaway. 

Rosenshine, B. (1983). Teaching Functions in Instructional Programs. Elementary School Journal, 83. 335-350.

Brady Turner
About me
On Friday 22 September at 01:36 Brady Turner said

 I am so glad I read this post. It was exactly what I needed to hear while I prepare for my upcoming internship. Since I started learning about models-based practice (MBP) about three years ago, I had often questioned that perhaps it jeopardized some aspects that originally drew me to Physical Education (PE). When I started learning about MBP, my first opinion of it was that it was information overload. I was in my second year of my PE undergrad, and my professor who is my greatest mentor in PE, really put an emphasis on MBP- specifically Teaching Physical and Social Responsibility (TPSR), and Cooperative Learning. While I tried to absorb all I could from their teaching, it was vastly different from my personal experiences in PE. My experiences were very much predominantly command style. While I prepared to become a professional educator, I quickly became frustrated with the inconsistency of teaching styles throughout my degree, and from asking other working professionals in the field. Many did not know about MBP.

From hearing you reflect on your experiences as a working professional, it is really helping tie up some loose ends that have been with me for a quite some time. Direct Instruction, or command style is fine. In fact, I loved my time as a student under that style. As a new teacher, ensuring that my classes run smoothly is very important to me as I adjust to become comfortable in new surroundings. I feel that Direct Instruction will best help me accomplish this goal. However, because I am passionate, motivated, and determined to be as instructionally effective as possible, I will certainly explore, and learn to master MBP.

I think this is an appropriate time to note that as a professional it is important to constantly be a learner. Through practicing the craft of MBP, I will be offering my students an approach that is adaptable, applicable to life-long healthy attitudes, and success-oriented. I believe that when teachers become robotic, predictable, and comfortable, they are not truly doing the discipline justice. Wanting to provide a quality PE program requires research, being a critical thinker, and being willing to change.

Over the past few months, I have developed the philosophy that physical literacy is not a realistic goal, in fact, I don’t even think it is the main purpose of PE anymore. Being competent and confident in movement skills is very useful, but it’s not the only way to promote life-long healthy attitudes in our students. Introducing students to a variety of activities, encouraging community, citizenship, and helping them learn new skills, is much more valuable in my opinion. Currently, less than one in five of Canadian schools are providing daily physical education, while yet we see our life expectancy grow shorter. That in itself does not make sense. We need change, we need better ways, and we need teachers to lead the charge. With that said, like Dr. Casey points out, not everything in the traditional system is broken. As I continue to learn, I will continuously add to my toolbox, and become a diverse educator in the process.  

I hope that over the next few months throughout my professional development, I can have a better understanding about when and how to incorporate each model to instruct the curriculum. To date, I have only extensively reviewed three models in detail- Cooperative Learning, TPSR, and Teaching Games for Understanding.

Brady Turner
About me
On Friday 22 September at 01:39 Brady Turner said

References

(The Canadian Population Health Initiative, 2004, p.131)

Metzler, M. (2017). Instructional models in physical education. Taylor & Francis.

Ashley Casey
About me
On Friday 22 September at 16:09 Ashley Casey said

Hi Brady, Thanks for taking the time to respond to the blog. It is great to hear about your experiences and I strongly encourage you to explore a pedgaogy that best fits the learners in front of you, your context and your apriations. Don't be constrained by models but empowered by them and what they might help you to achieve with the young learners in your care. Ash

comment avatar
About me
On Sunday 24 September at 23:58 Steve said


Direct instruction is often the model that instructors used on me throughout my time in school, both pre- and post-secondary. During my first practicum it’s the model I mostly used since I was unfamiliar with any other methods of teaching. Despite the recent trend in new and developing teaching models within the sector of physical education I believe that Direct Instruction can not only be effectively used and even adapted into other models, but should be learned and used, though used sparingly. I view it as “pedagogical bread and butter”. Other models might be more effective at teaching students cooperation, tactics, etc. but in any given physical educator’s career there absolutely will be cases where the only tool needed is the proverbial hammer that is Direct Instruction. Direct Instruction is a very selective model, “DI is underpinned by the basic notion that behavior, like physical characteristics, evolves or is selected by the environment. Those behaviors that work are selected by the consequences that follow the behavior. Since there are different consequences for the same behavior in different environments, behaviors are situated in contexts.” (Magliaro, 2005), that is to say Direct Instruction can be malleable and can suit a variety of teaching situations.

However a criticism I can level at Direct Instruction is its “one size fits all” philosophy. In order to effectively use Direct Instruction a student must already be in a mindset to receive direct instruction, and there is something quite deterministic about that. Not every student is attentive and obedient. Fulfilling this prerequisite can be troubling when using this model exclusively on pupils that do not resonate with it. Therefore, I think it is paramount that any given physical education specialist should have a lexicon of styles and techniques-a utility belt of sorts-in order to address various behavioural, academic and emotional problems that they can encounter throughout their career. Direct Instruction might work well within the settings of private schools and other upper class academies due to their regiment-style organizational structure. Public and lower class schools, places where individualism and misbehaviour is much more prevalent, could benefit from models outside of strict direct instruction.

When looking back at this old model is important to realize how this “defunct” way of thinking can actually address certain problems seen within the physical education field today. Whereas models like Cooperative learning and TPSR can teach students how to work with their peers and develop community, Direct Instruction is a tried and true method of teaching students critical sports skills such as  throwing a pitch or shooting a basketball.

In conclusion, I agree that the Direct Instruction should not simply be thrown out because it is out of style. Rather it should be a viable, though less often used model for conveying relevant lessons on physical literacy to pupils. It should be noted that the vast majority of educators already in the system hardly ever use Models Based Practice. While successive generations always seem to think they know the world better than their predecessors, it is important to learn from the example they initially set.

 

 

Cite


Magliaro, S. G., Lockee, B. B., & Burton, J. K. (2005). Direct instruction revisited: A key model for instructional technology. Educational technology research and development, 53(4), 41-55.

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 00:00 David Roberts said

My first introduction to direct instruction was the model that I was using without even realizing what it was. As a student, I believed that this was the model that was most focused on me, without anyone ever explaining to me what it was. However, because it was the only thing I was used to, it became my first way of teaching. Direct instruction is not a bad model, it is just one that can be more effective when paired with other pedagogical models, however there may be times when direct instruction is your only option.

 

As I look back so far as a pre-service teacher, I noticed something about my two internships so far. When I was mainly using the direct instruction model at the beginning of my first internship it was reliable and worked because of the grade level of the kids. I still believe that working with older grade levels (as I am now) that there is still an importance placed on direct instruction. Many students may not learn best from direct instruction, but models such as guided discovery may allow a student to learn depending upon their way of learning. You can not just strictly apply one way of teaching, as every student learns differently and there are many different types of learners such as visual and auditory.  In the instructional model to physical education, it refers to a study by Jonasen and Grabowski to determine what teaching strategies that would suit each preference. “Collaborative, students like working with others, competitive will like direct instruction, participant students prefer class discussion, independent students prefer self paced and dependent ones prefer direct teaching”. (Metzler 2017) My point is that no matter what, as a physical educator the importance of understanding that all students will be different and learn differently provides us as teachers an even greater reason to provide more pedagogical models instead of just sticking with one. The more you can provide for students the more interest they will have in wanting to continue to learn and partake in physical education. It is my goal in my time during this internship to be able to not only reinforce models that I have learned through my undergraduate degree but also new ones that I may learn along the way. I think that it is important to never be fixed on one way of doing something. The more choice we can provide for students in how and what they learn, the more engaged they will be.  

Reference

 

 

Metzler, M. (2017). Instructional models in physical education. Taylor & Francis.


 

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 00:48 Abigail Penton said

After reading this post I almost felt a sense of relief. Since reading your previous post on a “step away from the multi-activity curriculum” and creating some discussion within our education classes on model-based practice, I felt that since I am a pre-service teacher I should be wrapping my head around model-based practice and base my plans for teaching solely on this approach. I began to develop strong views on MBP being the most effective instructional practice. In doing this, I reflected on my time in physical education and realized that many of the things I enjoyed the most about Physical Education were taught to me with Direct Instruction. How could this be? If Direct Instruction has such a “bad” reputation, why did I enjoy this style of teaching from my teachers? How am I going to steer myself away from the teaching style that has helped me decide to choose teaching as my career. In fact, I don’t have to. As a teacher, it is important to keep your mind open to new ideas and instructional strategies as the curriculum and the needs of students are constantly changing. To be an effective teacher you must be willing to research new strategies and to make change but it is also important to know that because one piece of research suggests that you change your entire philosophy it doesn’t mean you should. I agree that you should “find the good bits and take a firm grip”. (Casey, 2015) It can be compared to the saying, don’t fix something that isn’t broken. There are many traditional teaching styles that aren’t as ineffective as new research has made them out to be. Although I strongly agree that model-based practice can and should be the start for pedagogical and curricular change it doesn’t mean that we should throw away the teaching strategies that we have held close. They can be incorporated into your model-based instruction. In conclusion, I am constantly changing and developing my teaching philosophies and strategies as a young pre-service teacher and I am looking forward and prepared to continue to do so as I develop into physical educator.

 

Metzler, M. (2017). Instructional Models in Physical Education. Taylor & Francis.

Pereira, J., Hastie, P., Araújo, R., Farias, C., Rolim, R., & Mesquita, I. (2015). A Comparative Study of Students’ Track and Field Technical Performance in Sport Education and in a Direct Instruction Approach. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 14(1), 118–127.

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 00:54 Justin M said

I personally thought that this blog was great insight in terms of the different pedagogical approaches that can be utilized by us as pre service teachers and again in future years. It allowed me to consider the pros and cons of each method and be reflective on the approaches my teachers used when I was a student in the K-12 system.

 Similar to Casey, it seems as though that direct instruction has been a traditional method of teaching for most of my K- 12 years and to be quite honest, it was the only teaching method I was aware of prior to entering my Physical Education program a few years ago.

 Thankfully, I have since been introduced to multiple teachings styles and methods. Like direct instruction each have their positive and negative aspects that I can utilize in my own personal teaching toolkit. Models based practice, cooperative learning and Thinking Games for Understanding are some examples of teaching methods that are new, yet exciting to me and I hope use aspects of each in the coming years.

 I must admire Dr.Casey’s ability to self-evaluate his teaching models and his willingness to grow as a teacher in his early years. This is often difficult to do in any aspect of my life let alone a future career however, thanks to this blog I am able to remind myself that teaching models, including direct instruction can be used in a beneficial way within a classroom if handled delicately and with effective thought.  

 With Physical Education now returning to its sole purpose of increasing public health (Demarco,2010), it is important that Physical Educators like ourselves are aware of the most effective methods to achieve the more engaging, successful results. By keeping Dr.Casey’s ideas in mind, I am able to critically evaluate myself as a teacher and make my classes a place of success.

 

 

Cite

 

Paul Demarco, G. M., & DeMarco, P. (2010). Physical education. In T. C. Hunt, J. C. Carper, & T. J. Lasley (Eds.), Encyclopedia of educational reform and dissent. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Retrieved from https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/sageerd/physical_education/0

 

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 00:55 Justin M said

I personally thought that this blog was great insight in terms of the different pedagogical approaches that can be utilized by us as pre service teachers and again in future years. It allowed me to consider the pros and cons of each method and be reflective on the approaches my teachers used when I was a student in the K-12 system.

 Similar to Casey, it seems as though that direct instruction has been a traditional method of teaching for most of my K- 12 years and to be quite honest, it was the only teaching method I was aware of prior to entering my Physical Education program a few years ago.

 Thankfully, I have since been introduced to multiple teachings styles and methods. Like direct instruction each have their positive and negative aspects that I can utilize in my own personal teaching toolkit. Models based practice, cooperative learning and Thinking Games for Understanding are some examples of teaching methods that are new, yet exciting to me and I hope use aspects of each in the coming years.

 I must admire Dr.Casey’s ability to self-evaluate his teaching models and his willingness to grow as a teacher in his early years. This is often difficult to do in any aspect of my life let alone a future career however, thanks to this blog I am able to remind myself that teaching models, including direct instruction can be used in a beneficial way within a classroom if handled delicately and with effective thought.  

 With Physical Education now returning to its sole purpose of increasing public health (Demarco,2010), it is important that Physical Educators like ourselves are aware of the most effective methods to achieve the more engaging, successful results. By keeping Dr.Casey’s ideas in mind, I am able to critically evaluate myself as a teacher and make my classes a place of success.

 

 

Cite

 

Paul Demarco, G. M., & DeMarco, P. (2010). Physical education. In T. C. Hunt, J. C. Carper, & T. J. Lasley (Eds.), Encyclopedia of educational reform and dissent. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Retrieved from https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/sageerd/physical_education/0

 

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 01:22 Matt McDonald said

Initially from reading your blog post I was met with feelings of comfort and calmness. Being on the cusp of my teaching career, beginning my first internship today, the past few days have been accompanied with feelings of nervousness and skepticism. These feeling were not a result of my inability to teach, but rather surrounding the methodology of teaching itself. All my life I have been instructed physical education from an old fashioned point of view; Direct Instruction. However, recently I have been introduced to the TGfU and models-based practice pedagogical teaching model, which has both sparked my interest as well as complicated my thoughts. I am a huge supporter of life-long learning and I believe that it is an essential part of becoming a good teacher. What may have worked at the beginning of your career may not work not at the middle, or the end. Unfortunately for me, I am at the pre-teaching level of my career, therefor I have little experience to drawn upon for comparison. As a result, I often think back to my physical education experience as a student and what persuaded me to pursue a career in this profession. Undoubtedly, the Direct Instruction is a more old-fashioned, conservative style of teaching and the models-based practice is a new-age, liberal mentality. With no desire to become political, I often feel that a mix of the two is the best way to be a successful teaching. This is why I was thrilled reading your latest blog post, as I feel we agree, in ways, in this thought. I believe that different students have different needs and therefor a different approach maybe be needed for a given situation, or for a given class. Ideally, the goal is to promote lifelong physically active individuals and this needs to be the focus of the physical education teacher in the classroom. Students today are different from students from the past, and sometimes reevaluation of the curriculum and how we deliver the material is the key element to student success.

Resources:

Kirk, D. (2013). Educational value and models-based practice in physical education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 45(9), 973-986.

Metzler, M. (2017). Instructional models in physical education. Taylor & Francis

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 01:26 Kylie J Beals said

As someone still developing their knowledge of models based practice teaching, I find these blogs very effective at explaining the pros and cons of various approaches a teacher can utilize while instructing Physical Education. Since I am just beginning my first internship at the secondary level, it is very useful for me to be able to read a blog written by someone who has tried these various approaches in an actual school setting. This allows me to draw on the previous experience and apprehensions Casey has had with learning about models as mentioned above to influence my own decisions regarding teaching methods so I do not have to start from scratch so to speak.

After doing some research into the Direct Instruction Model of teaching, I realized that as a young teacher this is very much the main style of teaching I have employed in my past internship, coaching and peer teaching experiences. In saying this I think that I am in the same position as many of the other pre-service Physical Education students in my current class. Initially reading this article I began to feel obsolete because of this despite not even beginning my career yet; however, by the end of the article I feel more relaxed. I personally believe that as a new teacher it is important for me to try and gain knowledge about many of the different models as different models may work for different groups of students. It is for this reason that I am very glad I read this post to show me that this form of instruction is also important before I panicked at the concept and attempted to cast it completely aside for other approaches as Casey had mentioned earlier.

References
Himberg. (n.d.). Teaching Styles in Physical Education. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.supportrealteachers.org/teaching-styles-in-physical-education.html


Marchand-Martella. (n.d.). Direct Instruction. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.specialconnections.ku.edu/?q=instruction%2Fdirect_instruction


Metzler, M. (2017). Instructional models in physical education. Taylor & Francis.

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 01:26 Kylie J Beals said

As someone still developing their knowledge of models based practice teaching, I find these blogs very effective at explaining the pros and cons of various approaches a teacher can utilize while instructing Physical Education. Since I am just beginning my first internship at the secondary level, it is very useful for me to be able to read a blog written by someone who has tried these various approaches in an actual school setting. This allows me to draw on the previous experience and apprehensions Casey has had with learning about models as mentioned above to influence my own decisions regarding teaching methods so I do not have to start from scratch so to speak.

After doing some research into the Direct Instruction Model of teaching, I realized that as a young teacher this is very much the main style of teaching I have employed in my past internship, coaching and peer teaching experiences. In saying this I think that I am in the same position as many of the other pre-service Physical Education students in my current class. Initially reading this article I began to feel obsolete because of this despite not even beginning my career yet; however, by the end of the article I feel more relaxed. I personally believe that as a new teacher it is important for me to try and gain knowledge about many of the different models as different models may work for different groups of students. It is for this reason that I am very glad I read this post to show me that this form of instruction is also important before I panicked at the concept and attempted to cast it completely aside for other approaches as Casey had mentioned earlier.

References
Himberg. (n.d.). Teaching Styles in Physical Education. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.supportrealteachers.org/teaching-styles-in-physical-education.html


Marchand-Martella. (n.d.). Direct Instruction. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.specialconnections.ku.edu/?q=instruction%2Fdirect_instruction


Metzler, M. (2017). Instructional models in physical education. Taylor & Francis.

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 01:26 Kylie J Beals said

As someone still developing their knowledge of models based practice teaching, I find these blogs very effective at explaining the pros and cons of various approaches a teacher can utilize while instructing Physical Education. Since I am just beginning my first internship at the secondary level, it is very useful for me to be able to read a blog written by someone who has tried these various approaches in an actual school setting. This allows me to draw on the previous experience and apprehensions Casey has had with learning about models as mentioned above to influence my own decisions regarding teaching methods so I do not have to start from scratch so to speak.

After doing some research into the Direct Instruction Model of teaching, I realized that as a young teacher this is very much the main style of teaching I have employed in my past internship, coaching and peer teaching experiences. In saying this I think that I am in the same position as many of the other pre-service Physical Education students in my current class. Initially reading this article I began to feel obsolete because of this despite not even beginning my career yet; however, by the end of the article I feel more relaxed. I personally believe that as a new teacher it is important for me to try and gain knowledge about many of the different models as different models may work for different groups of students. It is for this reason that I am very glad I read this post to show me that this form of instruction is also important before I panicked at the concept and attempted to cast it completely aside for other approaches as Casey had mentioned earlier.

References
Himberg. (n.d.). Teaching Styles in Physical Education. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.supportrealteachers.org/teaching-styles-in-physical-education.html


Marchand-Martella. (n.d.). Direct Instruction. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.specialconnections.ku.edu/?q=instruction%2Fdirect_instruction


Metzler, M. (2017). Instructional models in physical education. Taylor & Francis.

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 01:44 Andrew said

This post was very intriguing for me and gave me some very helpful information for my upcoming two-week teaching internship.  I have only been introduced to model based practice within the past few years of my undergrad and before that the only style of teaching I have seen was the direct instruction/command style.  I myself can say that before learning about a model based approach I used the command style while working with a community recreation program, simply because I was following the example of teaching given to me as a student.

 

Since studying physical education in my undergrad, I now have a better understanding for a model based approach to teaching physical education.  Aspects such as Cooperative Learning, Teaching Games for Understanding and Teaching Physical and Social Responsibility have shed a new light on to how students can be taught physical education.  I will admit it took some adjustment to get used to these new styles of teaching and at sometimes it can be frustrating to try and find that one style that really works for you.   

 

From reading your article it really reminded me of myself while working as an after-school program coordinator.  I did not have any major problems with direct instruction but since completing my undergrad I have a new outlook on this “traditional” style of teaching.  All these new methods of teaching however overwhelmed me at first as I was trying to use too many methods at once and it has actually been shown that physical education teacher education programs focus on no more than two or three instructional models at a time.  I read an article recently comparing Cooperative Learning vs Direct Instruction and how they contribute to teaching efficacy and planning skills in physical education preservice teachers.  It was found that those who used Direct Instruction perceived their teaching efficacy to be higher than those who taught using cooperative learning.  The Cooperative learning however included more cooperation principals in their planning compared to Direct Instruction.  This article may show that direct instruction may have a better chance of learning the desired outcome but it does not take into fact that there is much more to physical education than that.  Promoting healthy lifestyles, healthy attitudes, building community, learning new skills are things that are much more important in my opinion and a direct instruction style of teaching does not really incorporate them into their pedagogy.

 

I’m hoping that within the next few months of my preservice internships I will be able to get a better understanding of which model I like best using a hands-on approach in my internship.

 

Reference:

 

Cohen, R., & Zach, S. (2013). Building pre-service teaching efficacy: a comparison of instructional models. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 18(4), 376-388.    

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 01:54 Pat Slaney said

Dear Ashley, reading this blog post could not have come at a better time for me. I am currently a pre-service physical education teacher completing an observation period at a said school. This is an important time in my teaching career as I am able to observe the teaching methods of other established physical educators , and I found this blog post to have many intriguing points that I personally agree with. 
I personally believe that there is no one size fits all approach to effective teaching, and that no method is wrong or right, rather they just have pros and cons in each unique situation. I am particularly familiar with the direct instruction model as I was faced with it for the majority of my intermediate/secondary schooling experience, therefor in the early stages of my post-secondary career I felt that it was the most effective way to teach. 

Recently we have been exposed to a models based practice approach to physical education and we are exploring how this approach is far more success oriented than teaching for sport in the multi activity curriculum. I feel that recognizing the specific needs of the individual students for a particular goal is extremely important when choosing a method of instruction. We need to consider things such as the overall physical literacy of the students at hand, previous experience in the activity, how well they respond to instruction, if any, etc.

As stated by the National Association for Sport and PE (NASPE), “ Teaching is to the teacher as cooking is to the chef. There are recipes to be followed, but as all great chefs know, the unique ingredients and the creativity of the chef are what make a great meal. Teaching can be seen in the same light. It is a combination of many ingredients, and the teacher makes wise decisions about how to blend those ingredients to achieve a particular outcome.” (Carpenter & Sinclair ,2011). Using this quote as support, I fully agree with your argument that direct instruction can be an effective teaching model in the appropriate situation. For example, a direct instruction approach keeps the students on topic in an orderly fashion and directions and expectations are very clear. This may be very beneficial to students who have limited experience in an activity and would struggle on their own otherwise. While this methodology may not be useful in every situation, I couldn’t agree with you more that we should “ find the good bits and take a firm grip.” (Casey,2015)
Reading this blog post has been an eye opener for me that we as physical educators need to constantly evolve our philosophy’s and continue to improve each day. While I believe that a models based practice will be the main driving force behind a positive change in physical education, I also believe that taking the good out of the overused, and somewhat outdated approaches is important in providing an effective learning environment for all students. Most importantly, I feel that reading these past two blog post has allowed me to think much deeper into the methodology of physical education, and has allowed me to evaluate and reconstruct my beliefs on what an effect physical education program should consist of.

 


Carpenter, J., & Sinclair, C. (2011). Combine teaching styles and strategies for effective instruction - The Physical Best Program NASPE. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/teaching-styles-and-strategies-combine-for-effective-instruction---the-physical-best-program-naspe

Casey, A. (2017, September 15). Direct Instruction is a Model too. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.peprn.com/2017/9/direct-instruction-is-a-model-too.aspx

 

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 01:56 Brandon Petten said

I am very happy this post is relatable to myself as I just begun my two week internship at my local high school. It is clear to see how direct instruction gets a bad reputation. It's understandable how this method can be difficult to be enjoyable for the audience and totally engaging. Direct instruction as a teacher-centered method can create an atmosphere for students where they may not feel as engaged in the lesson, causing some students to drift from what is being taught.

I read an interesting article on direct instruction that had three experimental groups of sixth grade students. The three groups consisted of a strategy group, basal group, and a control group. Sixty-six students from an elementary school in a rural Midwestern community participated in the study. All students were part of a three-teacher, sixth- grade team who utilized a physically open classroom environment. All sixth-grade students participated in the study, with the exception of one mainstreamed learning disabled student and one student who failed to receive parental permission to participate. (Baumann, 1984) The study found that the direct instruction paradigm provided more straight to the point learning for students. Students tend to get caught up in information that isn’t necessary when missing the main point of some lessons. Small points lead students off track of the main message and most important points. The direct instruction model was proven to drive right to the main point and cover the main information and instruction needed for students. I think the six operations for teachers that you mentioned in your post is very important as it gives you an in depth look at how the direct instruction model really works. Basically the six points are operations that we have been repetitively taught throughout our physical education degree.One of the most important points I believe would be the use of feedback. With this direct instruction model, giving constructive feedback will be so important to reinforce what is meant to be taught. Its clear to see that until you considered and used this approach of the direct instruction you realized how meaningful and important it was in physical education. Until reading this blog I didn’t have a strong understanding of the concept. After reading this blog I thing it is important to have a mixture of direct instruction incorporated within your lessons to create a better learning environment that allows the main points to be emphasized. I hope over my two internships this year I will be able to have the opportunity to practice model based pratice, as well as direct instruction.

Reference

Baumann, J. F. (n.d.). Effect of a Direct Instruction Paradigm for Teaching Sixth Grade Students to Comprehend Main Ideas.

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 01:59 Emily Babstock said

My experience with Direct Instruction in the past starts with my earliest memories of Physical Education and continue on into my undergraduate studies. Direct Instruction was never problematic to me as a student, but as a student teacher I began to identify some faults in the model. It is interesting that I read this blog post today, as I just began an internship with my former high school physical education teacher. In spending just one day with him, I read this post and immediately thought of how he has changed his pedagogy since I left high school and has moved away from Direct Instruction. During my time in high school, physical education was delivered to me in the form of Direct Instruction. Although I thoroughly enjoyed physical education as an adolescent, I can now see that not all students like to be taught this way. I am happy to see that my cooperating teacher did not get stuck in his ways or become too stubborn to move on from Direct Instruction, but rather incorporates newer methods into his pedagogy. Direct instruction was all I knew physical education to be before I began my undergraduate studies, and even then it was a while before I realized that there was another approach to physical education. I agree that physical education classes should not be solely Direct Instruction, and I believe that guided discovery should not be used only on special occasions. In a study conducted by Kulinna and Cothran, students reported that they preferred to be taught in by guided discovery, but in some instances they favoured direct instruction. For instance, the students in this particular study indicated that they preferred direct instruction for movement activities such as martial arts and aerobics (Kulinna & Cothran, 2003). Ultimately I agree with Dr. Casey in that Direct Instruction should not be entirely disregarded, but rather used in combination with other effective teaching methods.

 

References:

 Kulinna, P. H., & Cothran, D. J. (2003). Physical education teachers’ self-reported use and perceptions of various teaching styles. Learning and Instruction, 13(6), 597-609.

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 02:12 Tonie Keats said

Throughout my university degree of physical education and now in education I have always battled with what teaching style I should use while I teach. At first I thought one should only use one teaching style but as I grew and became more familiar with the curriculum I came to the conclusion that one can use various teaching styles. It just really depends on the situation, such as the students, what you are teaching, etc. It also depends on what you are most comfortable with. With my teaching practicum at an elementary school during my physical education degree, I found myself using a mixture of teaching styles. I used the similar styles that you have used and continue to use, guided discovery along with direct instruction (command style). I believe that it is suitable to use the command style approach but you have to be careful not to abuse it or go overboard with it. By that I mean you should not take this style of teaching as a way of controlling the students and thinking it’s your way or the highway, as some would say. When I first heard of this style of teaching I thought to myself, “I would never use this style” or “I cannot see myself teaching in this way”, because the first thing that came to my mind was a PE teacher such as, Mr. Woodcock. But as I learned more and became familiar with this teaching style I grew to like it and found myself using it, along with guided discovery. I believe that using this mixture of styles will help me become a better PE teacher, but first I just have to figure out how to implement both while I am teaching. I think it is important to let students explore and figure things out on their own, like letting them determine strategies of specific games. But at the same time I also think it is important to give students instruction on how to do it, what to do and what would be expected, like when demonstrating how to overhand throw and then getting them to do so but also giving them feedback and reinforcing certain points to that skill. I really enjoyed reading this blog post because it enlightened my opinion on being open to various teaching styles.

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 02:42 Tim said

Reading this blog really made me think back to my years of physical education in junior high and especially high school where the direct instruction model was predominately used. Being heavily active in sports, I excelled at most if not all the sports that were taught in physical education class. Not only did I excel, I had had fun while doing it. Looking back, that was one of many reasons I decided to become a physical education teacher.

            Saying this, gym class was very enjoyable for me but it wasn’t for many students who were less physically inclined. Since direct instruction seamed to be all sport based, many students were not benefiting from the physed classes the same as I was. I agree with Casey in the fact that direct instruction is bad but also good as long as its not over used. Direct instruction typically uses skills and techniques of a specific sport to reach curriculum outcomes. These specific techniques are based of movements that progress from different skill levels, most at which build on each other. This poses the problem that when students are not the typical “athlete” they may be stuck on a skill and until they can get it, they do not progress. Many people may then consider this student not physically fit which is completely wrong. I feel that direct instruction can be used but only for small portions of the curriculum, conjoint with such models like cooperative learning and teaching games for understanding. This allows all students to be more equally skilled.

            I agree with the statement that students don’t need to be able to perform a skill the same as a professional athlete, being a good teacher and improving comes from the ability to help the student develop the physical, cognitive, and social domains. This statement is a clear reason why transitioning from the direct instruction into the model based practices is very important. Direct instruction can be used to hinder creativity and there is very little room for exploring new ideas since most instruction must use a step-by-step process to learning the skills (Markusic, 2012). Although, Direct instruction is great for teaching specific skills to students which is ideal for teaching the fundamental movements such as throwing and kicking (Markusic, 2012). Direction instruction can be very useful if teachers can use it appropriately, when necessary while using other methods when they see fit.  

Markusic, M. (2012, 01 06). Classroom Instruction: Pros and Cons of Direct Teaching. Retrieved from Bright Hub Education: http://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-methods-tips/5487-pros-and-cons-of-direct-teaching/

 

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 02:56 Samantha Morey said

Dr. Casey, I can thoroughly relate to the type of teacher you were in your early teaching days. Reading this post shed some light on the style of teaching I default to. I don’t believe I chose to be this type of teacher either, it kind of just chose me. When I look back at the teachers who taught any differently, they were few and far between given that my educational experience was a traditional one with few teachers who branched out.

            As a pre-service teacher I was beginning to feel overwhelmed by all of the information of different models of teaching. I truly believed that if direct instruction was considered the “runt of the litter,” then I had terrible teachers. It’s a relief knowing that this type of teaching can be valuable when used appropriately. I’m currently back at my old high school as an intern and as I observed a few classes today I noted that the teachers that taught me all had different teaching methods than what they had when I was attending as a student there. This further supports the idea that you refine your teaching strategies, as you become a more seasoned teacher.

The key concepts highlighted in the SAGE Encyclopedia of Contemporary Childhood Education truly helped me understand one of the ways in which direct instruction is used and integrated into other teaching styles. One of the concepts states that the teacher-directed activities are decreased over time allowing the students to use more of their own understanding and gives them more freedom to put their own knowledge into practice (Wong, 2016). So, with teaching new skills and concepts, the teacher can begin by having a more refined set of expectations and activities that help the students learn key concepts, which may then be transferred into a different models-based approach.

             With the understanding that direct instruction, when used in coherence with other pedagogical models, is effective, I will be able to make a conscious effort not to make directive instruction my sole teaching method but instead an asset to the other models.

 

Wong, C. (2016). Direct instruction. The sage encyclopedia of contemporary early childhood education (Vol. 3, pp. 427). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications L

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 02:56 Zack Hurley said

I have really enjoyed reading this blog and it comes as a point of interest for my current situation as a pre-service teacher beginning my internship today. Most of the teachers throughout my life, specifically through intermediate and secondary school, taught in a way that resembles direct instruction (command style). As a student I had no problem with this as I achieved fairly well academically and I also had no knowledge of the different models and styles for teaching. Throughout my Physical Education degree and now my Education degree I have learned much more.

When completing my practicum at the primary/elementary level I was very nervous starting off. I had just one observation day before my cooperating teacher, for lack of a better term, threw me to the wolves. To be fair I did not go in unprepared as I had a lesson plan set up but I did however began teaching without thinking of models and strategies. I just did what came natural. When looking back on it now, as I read your blog, the style of teaching that resembled what I was doing was in fact direct instruction or command style. I think I taught this way starting off because it was the most comfortable way of teaching for me. As I became more comfortable interacting with the students I began to see a change in how I was teaching. This is where I started to use the TGfU model. My cooperating teacher at the time went over this with me one day after school and it just made sense. I used it the next day during my lesson and found great success from it. That being said there was a couple of days where the students “got away from me” and I resorted back to what came naturally, command style of teaching. However this did not stop me as I still went back to TGfU when I could.

I guess the point of that story was to show that there are multiple styles for teaching and while scientifically some have been proven to be better than others, I believe it depends on the situation and the teacher as to what model or style works best. During the next two weeks of my internship I plan to implement a cooperative model of teaching along with TGfU and if those backfire on me I’ll most likely fall back on what I’ve known the longest and that’s direct instruction. I believe direct instruction can be very useful (with regards to Physical Education) as it is great for teaching fundamental skills such as throwing and kicking to students (Markusic, 2012). Ultimately, I do think that teachers should have an array of teaching styles at their disposal and use them accordingly to match the situation and learning styles of the students.

References

Markusic, M. (2012, 01 06). Classroom Instruction: Pros and Cons of Direct Teaching. Retrieved from Bright Hub Education: http://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-methods-tips/5487-pros-and-cons-of-direct-teaching/

Metzler, M. (2011). Instructional Models for Physical Education (3rd Edition). Scottsdale, Arizona: Holcomb Hathaway.

comment avatar
About me
On Tuesday 26 September at 03:12 Brad Murray said

Direct instruction has definitely gotten a bad rap, especially in recent years. As a student who has been taught under this model I can see how it can be viewed as outdated and out of touch. Not giving students the ability to make choices in their classes, and simply acting as a drill sergeant everyday can make class a living hell, especially to those not athletically inclined. What is so great about this blog however, is the fact that you really made me think about how no education is bad education, I mean after all I didn’t hate my physical education teachers. As a pre-service teacher, I have been taught all of these “better” pedagogical options, that theoretically should make me a better teacher in the classroom, but as you mentioned, direct instruction has served me well not only in my previous practicums but also in coaching. Until reading this I sort of felt bad still using direct instruction, almost like I’m doing something wrong. Direct instruction is by no means ideal in every context of physical education but if modified or used in particular situations, I think its still a tool that should be kept in your back pocket just in case. Metzler (2017, p. 194) states, direct instruction is often the best model when dealing with certain skills, for example basic movements. If this is the case, why try and change something or eradicate it completely if It still has significant value? What I’ve also taken from this blog is that by no means do I have to be a pro at all pedagogical models, nor do I have to base my entire career around one model or the other, if anything this is the beginning of the journey and I still have a lot to learn. Great insight Dr. Casey, and thanks for reminding me that we should never stop learning and self reflecting.

 

Reference:

Metzler, M. (2017). Instructional models in physical education. Taylor & Francis.

comment avatar
About me
On Thursday 28 September at 22:45 Kasondra Perrier said

Dr. Casey, this post relates to myself as a pre-service physical education teacher who is currently observing at a highschool. Much like yourself in your early teaching days, I have experienced both teachers who adopted completely the direct instruction model and the free exploration model. Neither model is ideal when used alone, direct instruction can be harmful which is often seen when teachers use this model to control students. Free exploration, in my experience, also can be harmful in terms of success. I think in order to be an exceptional physical educator, one must be open to adopting more than one model. For example, asking students to play 3v3 ultimate frisbee, letting them try first and then stopping to instruct would be an example of using both TGFU, free exploration andif needed direct instruction.

Metzler (2011) explains the importance of adopting more than one model by explaining that if a teacher instructs in the same way consistently, students cannot be fully engaged. If in order to be a sucessful educator, and in order to foster sucessful learning, why wouldn't I as a new teacher try to incorperate multiple models into my teaching?

Through experience you have learned that throwing out a model (direct instruction), is not the solution to a bright future in P.E, instead we should inccorporate many teaching styles even the demonised when used responsibly. 

Thank you Dr. Casey for the great read and outlook. 

Reference:

Metzler, M. (2011). Instructional Models for Physical Education (3rd Edition). Scottsdale, Arizona: Holcomb Hathaway.

comment avatar
About me
On Thursday 28 September at 22:46 Kasondra Perrier said

Dr. Casey, this post relates to myself as a pre-service physical education teacher who is currently observing at a highschool. Much like yourself in your early teaching days, I have experienced both teachers who adopted completely the direct instruction model and the free exploration model. Neither model is ideal when used alone, direct instruction can be harmful which is often seen when teachers use this model to control students. Free exploration, in my experience, also can be harmful in terms of success. I think in order to be an exceptional physical educator, one must be open to adopting more than one model. For example, asking students to play 3v3 ultimate frisbee, letting them try first and then stopping to instruct would be an example of using both TGFU, free exploration andif needed direct instruction.

Metzler (2011) explains the importance of adopting more than one model by explaining that if a teacher instructs in the same way consistently, students cannot be fully engaged. If in order to be a sucessful educator, and in order to foster sucessful learning, why wouldn't I as a new teacher try to incorperate multiple models into my teaching?

Through experience you have learned that throwing out a model (direct instruction), is not the solution to a bright future in P.E, instead we should inccorporate many teaching styles even the demonised when used responsibly. 

Thank you Dr. Casey for the great read and outlook. 

Reference:

Metzler, M. (2011). Instructional Models for Physical Education (3rd Edition). Scottsdale, Arizona: Holcomb Hathaway.

In order to add your comments, you must login or register as a member

You can login or register here