Friday, 20 March 2015

Is it ok to give direct instruction to our students???

With the advent of an inquiry approach to instruction, many people assume that direct, or explicit instruction as we at Bradbury call it,  is no longer used or is appropriate. This is not quite true. While we do have a different approach to the acquisition of knowledge, we  acknowledge the importance of gaining skills. So, therefore, we will still explicitly teach the skills associated with writing and the skills of reading, for example. We believe that we need to scaffold our children's learning and help our students along the way at all times in a way that is appropriate to them.

Our framework for instruction is the Primary Years Programme (PYP). The PYP contains five essential elements for learning:
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Attitudes
  • Concepts
  • Action
Each of these elements work together to make a well rounded curriculum for our students. We do not just attend to their knowledge, but also to other important facets of learning.

The importance of directly teaching skills was really brought home to me the other day when I was looking at some of the art that our Artist in Residence, Eleanor McColl, had been doing with our Year 1 students. On one half of a piece of paper, she had asked the students simply to draw a self portrait with no other direction or instruction.

She then had them put this aside and gave them some explicit teaching around how to do this, creating  signposts for them along the way by using fruits to help them apply what they were learning. So, lips were like bananas, eyeballs like blueberries etc. The students were then asked to do another self portrait, this time putting into practice what they had just learned.

Below are the results, which I found simply amazing! So yes, explicit instruction does have a place in our student's learning and can produce stunning results as we can see:

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