Direct Instruction (D.I.) is a fairly recent model of teaching, but some of its underlying principles and strategies go back to the early 1970's (see the review by Rosenshine 1978).
The D.I. model of teaching is “an orientation that identifies major skills, selects and modifies commercial programmes that teach those skills, appropriately places students in the classroom programmes, and presents lessons each day in the most efficient manner possible” (Carnine & Silbert, 1979 p.11). D.I. focuses on such factors as increasing engaged time (the amount of time students actually spent on tasks relevant to the skill they are practising), improving the organization of the classroom to allow for more engaged time and carefully structuring the teaching programme to include an objective-based mastery learning paradigm, with frequent criterion-referenced testing to check that objectives have been met.
Central to the teaching programme is the task analysis of complex cognitive tasks such as reading, into hierarchies of component skills, which are then taught. Once students have been taught these component skills, they are taught how to combine them, to develop skills in the original, more complex task. (Carnine & Silbert, 1979 p. 11).