The Research Supporting TESS (part 2)
A continuation of The Research Supporting TESS (part 1)
The second great influence on the development of what we now know as direct instruction was Dr. Madeline Hunter, who published most of her research and theory in the 1980’s. Dr. Hunter believed that the majority of a teacher’s work was decision making; decision making around three categories, 1) Content decisions – what is to be taught, 2) teacher behavior categories – how is the material to be taught, and 3) learner behavior categories – how will the teacher know when the student has mastered the material/skills.
Dr. Hunter’s seminal contribution to teaching was her “Instructional Theory Into Practice.” ITIP consisted of her famous seven-step lesson plan, very similar to the direct instruction framework. Her lesson plan consisted of: 1) Learning Objective, 2) Anticipatory Set, 3) Lesson Objective, 4) Input (main concepts and skills), 5) Check for Understanding, 6) Guided Practice, and 7) Independent Practice.
What Hunter’s theory and practice did was to expand the work of Bloom and add significant detail to the process. (For example, she provided much greater detail on the importance of modeling, and introduced many techniques for evaluating student response (checking for understanding). She also reminded educators that not all seven elements needed to be present in every lesson, and that several lessons might be needed before the students were ready for independent practice. Dr. Hunter noted that all the elements didn’t guarantee student success. The teacher needed to have a knack for the “art of teaching.” Both the art and the science of teaching needed to be present for successful learning. The art of teaching revolved around the teachers being able to make decisions as the lesson unfolded.
The march of direct instruction research has continued to the present day. Researchers such as Gusky, Leyton, Wiggins, Burns, Block, and many others, have added to the depth of understanding concerning the model and its elements. They have also added elements of instructions, such as pre-teaching, group-based initial instruction, the use of formative assessment, correctives, and extension activities; elements that TESS now weaves into the training of brain-based direct instruction. All of these pedagogical devices stem from the initial work of Bloom’s formulating a model of instruction and Hunter’s additional work on expanding the steps, or the scaffolding of the lesson design.