How Enhanced Cognitive Capabilities Lead to Direct Instruction Success
In many classrooms, direct instruction is a very small part of a lesson.
The leading constructivist theories in contemporary education propose more student-led methods like inquiry-based learning. The problem is, however, that many teachers use these methods without properly scaffolding the content. Students who need more help, often find themselves floundering about as important information is missing and/or out of sequence so the foundation learning scaffold does not support the acquisition of more complex information.
For students who need more support, direct instruction may help improve cognitive capability and contribute to learning success. Keep reading to find out more about this educational methodology.
What Is Direct Instruction?
Direct instruction may sound like the traditional form of teaching that has gone on for generations. It involves a teacher leading the class, talking about and showing information to the students and providing lots of opportunities for practice.
Content that requires specific, procedural knowledge is ideal for direct instruction.
What Are Cognitive Skills?
In a classroom, the teacher's goal is not simply to make students know more, or expand their cognitive capabilities. There are many different skills a teacher is responsible for developing. Social and emotional skills are also important as are the motor skills, both fine and gross motor.
Cognitive ability is a measure of a student's capacity to process information, focus, remember, and logically reason.
For some students, direct instruction is the best way to improve these cognitive capabilities. Unfortunately, not all teachers have time to dedicate extra direct instruction for the students who need it most as the curriculum is overcrowded.
What Are Cognitive Strategies?
Learning programs that use direct instruction to teach cognitive strategies are some of the most effective learning interventions. By directly teaching cognitive strategies, educators scaffold the procedural skills for students. They give them the tools to start thinking about how to think and learn.
For example, something as simple as repetition is actually a cognitive strategy that helps learners better retain what they have learned.
Some other common cognitive strategies include drawing pictures to represent or organize knowledge, summarizing content, and guessing at meaning using context.
Teachers know that there are some fun and engaging ways to use these strategies that make learning exciting and interesting.
Improving cognitive capabilities through direct instruction requires the knowledge and skill of a professional educator.