The Value of Direct Instruction
Educational pedagogy reminds Montessori teachers that to achieve best results with student engagement, learning capability and high interest, there is a need for explicit and direct instruction. By this, we mean clear and unambiguous detail given in small groups.
Didactically we are told when we complete our teacher training, that students must be able to connect new information to known concepts, for the new information to make sense and augment understanding. We also know from practice that students will grasp easily and enjoy the new teachings, if the lesson is explicit and appropriate for individual students. Student engagement is the first step for learning and real learning happens when more parts of the brain are involved. Next we need the student to retain the new concept shared. Recall will generally happen if the student is given ample opportunity to repeat new content in various ways and through different modalities.
A Montessori class director will apply these pedagogical approaches to teaching with ‘A Three Period Lesson’. A student is observed so that their individual learning strategies can be identified, along with their unique capabilities and their specific personal interests. A lesson is then planned including this previous learned information and a clear focus on concept is taught. Generally the lesson incorporates concrete materials for sensorial exploration (this constitutes the first period). The child will make use of own learning style, be it visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or a combination of these, to repeat the exercise until they feel comfortable they understand the new concept (this is the second period). Finally, the adult will assess understanding and mastery of learning (the third period of the Three Period Lesson).
Adults have the ability to empower students to perceive where they are in the process of learning through much constructive feedback and the process of conferencing.