Siegfried "Zig" Engelmann co-developed the approach to instruction termed "Direct Instruction". Engelmann is currently Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Oregon and Director of the National Institute for Direct Instruction.
He was born November 26, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating with class honors in philosophy from the University of Illinois in 1955, he spent time in a variety of occupations, from working in exploratory oil to being a science editor. While working as a marketing director in the early 1960s, Engelmann became interested with how children learn. This interest began with examining how much exposure was required for a young child to learn a motto or an advertising theme and what effects reinforcing presentations would have on learning rates. He began working with preschoolers, including his own children, focusing first on topics related to advertising and then on more academic content. In 1964, he left his job in advertising and became a research associate at the Institute for Research on Exceptional Children at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, working with Carl Bereiter. In 1970, he moved from the University of Illinois to the University of Oregon in Eugene, becoming a Professor in the University’s College of Education.