EDI: An Adaptable Approach to Education

May 9, 2024
A teacher at Clearpool campus helps a student through a small group task, an important part of the EDI teaching model.

An important part of educating children is adaptability. It’s an ability to adjust instructional style to ensure students can focus, participate, and grasp content in order to proceed with classwork and independent assignments. Over the past year, Green Chimneys School has adopted a teaching model called Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI). EDI is an evidence-based approach in working with special education students.

What is EDI?

EDI includes extensive differentiation, to acknowledge individualized learning needs, and scaffolding, which presents new information in a collaborative manner, and progressively builds on it. A typical lesson begins with teacher-directed instruction and incorporates check-ins and opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding in different ways. Then it transitions to a gradual release to independent tasks. This method supports whole and small groups, as well as individual instruction. It also enables the teacher to assess each student’s comprehension of the material being taught.

“I’m excited about the positive impact the EDI approach is having on our students,” says Clearpool campus teacher Laurie Sarracco. “We’re breaking down lessons into clear and straightforward steps; like giving students a roadmap for learning. This is particularly beneficial for our kids because it caters to different learning styles and helps keep everyone on the same page. My students remain on task more consistently because of the expectation to respond in different ways. It keeps them engaged.”

One of the strengths of the EDI model is how it integrates with Green Chimneys’ Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) objectives in the classroom. Encouraging and recognizing student participation, and helping them feel successful in carrying out the work motivates them to stay focused. Plus it contributes to a more effective learning environment for the entire class.

In and Out of the Classroom

“What’s really cool is that EDI isn’t just about academics; it’s helping to build confidence in our students,” says Laurie. “Students are fond of the whiteboard and ‘pair-share’ partnering activities; these engagement tools allow for students to get their thoughts out without having to wait as long. By providing a structured and supportive environment, they’re not just learning, they’re really getting it. Then, that feeling of accomplishment is spreading some serious good vibes in the class.

As part of our commitment to our students and to provide a sense of familiarity and consistency within their academic progression, Green Chimneys School delivers established, nationally recognized curriculums that are used by many of our referring districts. Students receive a modified curriculum that supports the New York State Next Generation Standards and is based on their abilities, strengths/weaknesses, and individualized IEP goals. Learn more about our therapeutic school program