T&D: Goodbye to One of the Fathers of Direct Instruction. RIP.

RIP Siegfried “Zig” Engelmann

November 26, 1931 – February 15, 2019



Siegfried “Zig” Engelmann was an American educationalist who co-developed the approach to instruction termed “Direct Instruction”.

Engelmann was Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Oregon and Director of the National Institute for Direct Instruction.

Zig Engelmann Biography Part 1

Zig Engelmann Biography Part 2

Direct Instruction – In Action

28 minute video

The Theory of Instruction

In addition to developing curriculum, Engelmann wrote 19 books as well as scholarly articles and other reports of his experiments on teaching and learning. In a book called The Theory of Instruction, Engelmann and Douglas Carnine summarized the theoretical basis of the Direct Instruction approach.

They analyzed three components of cognitive learning: behavior, communication, and knowledge systems. They proposed that the mechanism by which humans learn involves two attributes. First, they postulated that individuals can learn any quality, defined as an irreducible feature, from examples. People are limited in this ability only by their sensory capabilities. The second attribute involves how learning occurs, and involves the notion of generalizing from examples. Learners have the capacity to develop “rules” or “understandings” about common qualities to a set of examples. As soon as learners are presented with information, they begin to formulate such rules. This is done by noting what is equivalent or “same” about the various examples that are given. Once the learner has determined what is the same about the examples of the concept or quality, generalization occurs.

A Conversation with Siegfried Engelmann

26 minute video

Obituary – NY Times



Here is Greg Ashman’s tribute to the late Zig Enggelman – father of Direct Instruction: So long, Zig – here.

From Education Next – here.

From CORE – here.

# # #

One comment on “T&D: Goodbye to One of the Fathers of Direct Instruction. RIP.

  1. Pingback: T&D: Direct Instruction Is Needed At First | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.