Saxon math is a much studied and critiqued math curriculum. The research that has gone into this program is astounding. Saxon is based on the “instruction, practice, assessment” approach to teaching. This company was founded in 1981 and now includes the math, phonics and spelling programs. Each subject is built on the same principles of instruction, practice and assessment.
Direct Instruction is teacher led and is a very successful way to present information to students. It follows a definite pattern with steps to help students get to the desired outcome. Teachers are able to efficiently feed a lot of information to students and the greatest bonus is that because this teaching method is teacher led it can be tailored to the student’s specific developmental stages.
How it works is broken down into categories:
Introduction: The first issue is to gain the focus or attention of the students. Students are informed as to what they will be learning and what the goal is. If necessary the instructor can give a review of past information if the new information is a building block on the older information.
Development: In this step the teacher demonstrates the goal of the instruction. The instructor needs to be sure that there are clear expectations and that each student understands the goal. This can be done by asking key questions that will let the teacher hone in on any problems or misunderstanding that student’s may have. It is a good idea for teachers to use visual aids, or other methods of reinforcing the concept.
Guided practice: After the development phase is over the teacher can then present tasks and activities for the student’s to accomplish. The teacher needs to closely monitor these activities and make sure that the student’s are focused on the overall goal while completing the tasks. This is where teachers may give extra time and attention to students that appear to not grasp the overall concept or the end goal.
Closure: The instructor gives closure to a lesson or goal by recapping the information that was presented and discussing what was learned throughout the activities and tasks.
Independent Practice: This may be in the form of class time activities or homework. The student is given activities and tasks to reinforce what was learned in the guided practice portion of the lesson. The teacher needs to make sure that they only go to this step after it is clear that the student’s clearly grasp the concept in the guided practice. This is why the teacher needs to be so aware of the individuals in the class.
Evaluation: This may come in the form of review, tests, exams, essay questions or class discussion. The evaluation phase helps a teacher assess the needs of each individual student and to cater to their needs.