Training in Systematic Instruction (TSI) is a teaching approach we use that presupposes everyone, no matter how disabled, has the right to learn skills.

As the name suggests, TSI argues that learning will happen when a person is motivated to learn and if the opportunity to do so is carefully managed in a planned and systematic fashion.

How TSI works

In TSI, the person responsible for organising opportunities so that learning is likely to happen is referred to a trainer, whilst the person they teach is called a learner.

As trainers, we spend some time understanding:

  • what skills the learner already has
  • what skills the learner would benefit from developing
  • what motivates the learner
  • what opportunities for learning skills naturally occur in the learner’s life
  • how the learner responds to prompts, suggestion and instruction.

Having identified an available opportunity in which we can teach a skill that will be motivating to the learner, the trainer first masters the specific skill themselves. They make a written description of the activity and the specific skills involved, and then establish what methods will be effective for teaching the learner, for example demonstration, instruction, hand-ove- hand support etc.

Why is TSI so successful?

By consistently taking opportunities to teach skills and recording the progress made by the learner, we monitor the progress the learner makes in acquiring and embedding skills. Over time, we shift the focus of TSI towards other areas in which new skills can be learned.

TSI is positive in its expectation that everyone can learn, but helps us to be clear that opportunities to learn need to be managed and planned if people are to develop skills.

Take a look at our related approaches and resources: