Our philosophy starts with the belief that every child can learn when the instruction is appropriate, and that the failure of a child to learn is the failure of the instruction, not the child. The role of the teacher in the learning process is to find the appropriate mode of instruction for all students and to spend the time allocated for instruction in direct-teaching activity. It is also important that our approach to teaching is effective with students of all levels and abilities.
At Crestview we use a combination of Direct Instruction curriculum, Saxon Math, and curriculum we developed that adheres to direct-instruction principles.
Our skills classes teach generalization strategies rather than isolated bits of information or facts. This is done by breaking down skills into smaller parts. The parts are taught until children fully master them. Then the parts are strategically brought together into higher-order skills including comprehension, analysis, critical thinking, and problem solving. Throughout this process the emphasis of instruction shifts from teacher-led practice to fully independent application.
Direct instruction presentation techniques assure that every child is an active participant throughout each lesson, not just when it's his or her turn. The result is a high-energy classroom in which learning is vigorous, active and constant. Teachers move around the classroom, leading the instruction, and frequently assessing each student to ensure that s/he understands the material.
How Is This Different From Other Ways of Teaching Skills?
There are several important ways that direct-instruction teaching differs from other methods.
Flexible groupings. Students are initially placed in groupings that match their level of performance in a given subject. As they learn and grow, they are assessed and may move into different groupings at different levels to match the speed at which they master the material. Flexible groupings make sure that each student is challenged to his/her fullest potential, and that no student will be overwhelmed by material that is too difficult for his/her level. Gifted and talented students, as well as students who struggle in a skill, are well served with flexible groupings.
Mastery learning. Students must demonstrate mastery of the material before moving on to the next lesson or concept. This ensures a solid foundation and prevents students from getting behind or becoming lost when the material gets more difficult. Teachers frequently assess each student to ensure that s/he understands the material, and students receive corrections as they practice and learn the material so that good habits are reinforced and bad habits cannot take hold.
Results oriented. Direct-instruction teaching methods ensure that evaluation is based on measurable, objective, demonstrated skills and material learned. As a parent, you will know very specifically how your child is doing at all times.
A great deal of research during the past two decades supports the use of direct -instruction methods and programs for the teachers of basic skills. No other curriculum and teaching method has been field tested and refined to the extent that it has. The results are outstanding. At Crestview, our students perform extremely well on tests designed to measure their skills against other schools. Our standardized test scores are consistently and significantly very high in both the skill and content areas.