What is Direct Instruction: Spoken English?
Direct Instruction: Spoken English (DISE) is an explicit, systematic instructional program that helps English language learners in grades four and higher acquire a functional mastery of spoken English in less than a year. Developed by Siegfried (Zig) Engelmann, one of the key founders of the Direct Instruction model, DISE addresses the structure of the English language directly as it incorporates high-utility grammatical forms and conversational conventions. In all aspects of the program, DISE moves students toward English language proficiency through clearly defined oral listening and speaking activities.
DISE is motivating for every student
Because the entire program is based on oral instruction and speaking activities, students are actively engaged in oral learning and practice every day. The program:
- motivates students with fast paced exercises and content that ensures every student participates,
- includes easy-to-read directions and symbols,
- clearly identifies what teachers and students say and do,
- involves immediate, corrective feedback and scaffolding support by the teacher,
- provides a strong basis for students to engage in authentic conversations using their English language skills!
DISE builds a functional mastery of English in one year or less by:
- differentiating instruction from the start through appropriate placement in the program,
- taking advantage of students’ native-language literacy skills,
- teaching academic and social vocabulary,
- engaging students with fast-paced, multi-sensory activities,
- providing progress-monitoring assessment.
DISE benefits English language learners in Grades 4-12
DISE accelerates the English language development of students to prepare them to be successful in the general curriculum. Students who complete the two-level DISE program acquire the skills they need to thrive in content-area classes.
Placement and scheduling
In order for your students to be successful with DISE, it is important that they are placed at the proper starting point in the program that matches their English language skills and receive instruction in DISE for sufficient time in the program daily. Placement in DISE is a prerequisite for students’ success due to the incremental design of the program. Assessment guidelines for testing and placing students in the program are available on the Resources page of this website.
Scheduling requirements for DISE differ by program level:
- Level 1 – 90 minutes per day (either as a solid block of time or as two separate 45-minute periods),
- Level 2 – 45 minutes per day.
Because students who place into Level 1 of DISE have little or no functional English language skills, their time is best spent in the DISE program rather than in grade-level content courses in which they would struggle to understand classroom discussions and assignments. The time in the program can be reduced to 45 minutes daily for students who place into Level 2 as these students have developed some functional English language skills and are better able to manage grade-level coursework. (See the Teacher’s Guide for more information on scheduling students in DISE.)
Training and support
In order for your students to be successful with DISE, it is also important that you receive high quality training and support from Direct Instruction experts. EAP does not supply any training or support itself. Instead, you are strongly encouraged to contact the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) to acquire the proper training and support to become proficient in the DI methodology so all your students can excel. NIFDI can provide initial training in delivering DISE as well as ongoing coaching of teachers of DISE. NIFDI can also provide training and support to coaches in conducting observations, taking data on instruction, problem-solving, prioritizing problems, and constructing remedies that provide for all students to get the most out of the DISE program. For more information about NIFDI and what it provides, go to https://www.nifdi.org/.
The following links take you to short video interviews (lasting about 10 minutes) with teachers and coaches on their experience with DISE. They describe how DISE has positively affected the performance of English Language Learners in grades four and above. Bryan Wickman, EAP Director of Sales, interviews the following experts on their experience with DISE:
Research in support of DISE
A study published in early 2022 using gold standard research methods compared the effects of DISE and traditional teaching approaches on English language proficiency and oral reading fluency of 746 sixth and seventh-grade English Language Learners in 29 middle schools in three states. Teachers who participated in the study were randomly assigned to teach DISE Level 1 or their usual English language development program to their students. The authors of the study concluded that
Analyses of oral English language suggested differences between intervention conditions favored the DISE condition for students who began with lower English language proficiency and accumulated when taught over two years.
Access the full text of the article at https://doi.org/10.1080/10824669.2022.2045993.
Erin A. Chaparro, Keith Smolkowski, Barbara Gunn, Caroline Dennis & Patricia Vadasy (2022): Evaluating the Efficacy of an English Language Development Program for Middle School English Learners, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), DOI: 10.1080/10824669.2022.2045993
Go to the EAP Store to order DISE materials.
Download the digital displays that accompany the teacher presentation books from the Resources page.