Teaching is a complex and challenging process, and to achieve success, educators need to refer to the experience of experts in the field and use evidence-based strategies and techniques to improve their lessons and contribute to students’ learning. Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI): The Power of the Well-Crafted, Well-Taught Lesson is the book by Hollingsworth and Ybarra (2017), who are specialists in educational research and practice. The purpose of this paper is to provide the review of this book with reference to its effectiveness for teaching.
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Most valuable aspects of the book
Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) described in the book is an approach, according to which all students are viewed as able to perceive and learn the material effectively in spite of their diversity when appropriate practices are applied by educators. Thus, the most valuable aspects of this work are that the authors provide teachers with strategies on how to explain each stage and moment of the lesson to any student in order to achieve high results, and the authors give clear directions for working with students that can be used by teachers. This approach is teacher-centered and based on the quality of direct instruction (Hollingsworth & Ybarra, 2017). As a result, it allows teachers to work effectively with students in those situations when their learning needs do not let educators apply more creative methods. Therefore, using this book as a guide, a teacher is able to conduct well-designed lessons that involve appropriate instruction and that are effective for diverse students.
Three things from the book to be used in practice
Referring to this book, I began to use the following strategies in my practice: I improved the beginning of lessons and concentrated on setting objectives for the lesson and using the prior knowledge; I focused on using “checking for understanding” methods; and I improved my use of feedback. Limited time and a lot of tasks planned for one lesson often made me avoid setting goals of the lesson clearly and achieve students’ understanding, but this ineffective practice was changed. Furthermore, some of the strategies used for checking students’ understanding were also modified with reference to the recommendations from the book. Moreover, I began to provide effective corrective feedback using strict rules and recommendations from the work.
Two observed differences or changes
As a result of these changes in my practice, the following differences in students’ learning and classroom management were noticed: students became more engaged into activities from the very start of the lesson, and they became more interested in the results of their work because of the provided feedback. Thus, I noticed that it is easier for me to attract students’ attention when lesson goals and objectives are strictly formulated and, at the end of the lesson, students decide whether they achieved these goals. In addition, effectively formulated corrective feedback became important and interesting for my students who began to work more actively during lessons to address the feedback and my recommendations. Classroom management also improved because students remain focused during whole lessons while following direct instructions.
It is possible to state that the book provides reliable and evidence-based recommendations for teachers who need to make their lessons effectively structured because of specifics of the class demographics. Furthermore, the described strategies are also important for young teachers who need to improve their experience in applying effective practices and methods based on direct instruction in order to be ready to implement student-oriented strategies later. Therefore, this book is helpful and can be actively used in teaching practice.
Hollingsworth, J. R., & Ybarra, S. E. (2017). Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI): The power of the well-crafted, well-taught lesson (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Corwin Press.