The Effectiveness of Direct Instruction in Teaching English in Elementary Public Education Schools in Kuwait: A Research Case Study

Article excerpt

Introduction

Since the 1960s, the Kuwait Ministry of Education (KMOE) has been responsible for establishing and mandating all programs provided in the public school system (Kuwait Ministry of Education, Law 11, 1965; Kuwait Ministry of Education Annual Report, 2004). Despite the increasing number of universities that provide teacher education programs in Kuwait, Kuwaiti teachers still do not apply the direct instruction approach in their classes. Similarly to the U.S., professors of education and reading specialists do not espouse the direct instruction approach, especially new teachers who do not have any interest in learning about direct instruction during their training programs (Schus, Tarver, & Western, 2001). The present research study focused mainly on the importance of direct instruction as a successful approach that yields very positive educational results and as an efficacious indicator of student achievement in academic learning. This study was designed as a case study that "illustrates the effects of a particular intervention or treatment" (Fraenkel & Wallan, 2003, p. 308). Researchers chose two groups for this investigative study. Group one (experimental group) received direct instruction, while group two (control group) did not receive direct instruction, to validate the main premises of this research study. Researchers decided to apply this method in an elementary school. The case study was eventually conducted in two elementary schools in the State of Kuwait to examine the effectiveness and efficacy of direct instruction in improving student achievement in two groups of 5th-grade English classes. Researchers used this instruction approach when designing and setting objectives, and modeling steps and procedures systematically based on the content of the English subject. Attention was paid to student differences and abilities that could affect their academic achievement in schools. Most current research studies (e.g., Becker & Gersten, 2001; Cross, Rebarber, & Wilson, 2002; Kinder, Kubina, & Marchand-Martella, 2005) indicate improvements in student achievement when applying this type of instruction. Also, the researchers noted similarities between their results and those reported by other researchers in this area of study.

Discussion and Literature Review

A direct instruction approach is a learning process, a method and a model that designs, prepares, presents, deals, and manages several organized steps, procedures, and techniques, and even the amount of time that lapses from initiation of its purpose to the results of instruction. According to Gersten (1984), direct instruction involves specific ways of teaching, designing curriculum, conducting in-service education, and monitoring the performance of teachers and students. Furthermore, most researchers describe direct instruction as a process that breaks down the pedagogical task into components. When teaching according to these components, instructors are able to demonstrate the technique efficiently to students as a combination of instructional components that result in an easier and more systematic learning process (Slavin, 2006; Stein, Silbert, & Carnine, 1997; Watkins, 2003).

Researchers consistently support the idea of using direct instruction in their classes to teach basic concepts and skills that are prerequisites to complex tasks. Steventon and Fredrick (2003) noted the importance of using the direct instruction approach with specific programs that have positive effects on students who have undergone repeated reading interventions. In their study, they applied Engelmann's corrective reading series with struggling readers. The crux of their study relied upon the continuum of decoding strategies in reading, the daily practice of oral reading, the daily reading check-out with specified rate and accuracy criteria, and a reward system for students.

Repeated reading is an unexplored area that requires further and more indepth study. …