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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Testing What Works...


In trying to select academic interventions for individual students:
  • How much should previous research (on interventions that show promise) weigh in?
  • Should the students' thoughts and feelings on the problems they are having (and why these problems are there) be taken into consideration?
  • Should their progress/what works or doesn't work for them according to their own standards be measured?
If different interventions are tested on the student while taking into consideration students preferences for the different interventions, the academic interventions may yield more successful results.

This Blog was created by: Nicole Aramando, Kevin DeJong, and Jalissa Hardesty.

19 comments:

cyndi said...

If the main focus of academic intervention is to increase active student response and engagement, then I think students should be encouraged to voice their opinions and/or thoughts on why they are having problems in certain areas or what they feel they need help with. Besides academic issues which can be voiced or tested, there could be a personal issue at home that is distracting them from learning or a social issue in class preventing them from focusing on what the teacher is saying.
Previous research should give insight to what interventions can be used but individual plans should be designed for students who need help in certain areas which can take into account relevant opinions, thoughts and feelings of students and their parents.
Another way students can be heard is by giving feedback on the types of "rewards" that may prompt changed behavior during intervention without directly asking them, of course. For example, you might have the student list 5 things they like do at home (e.g. use computer, draw, read a magazine, watch tv, play a board game, etc.). During intervention, when trying to get them to solve a certain amount of math problems or read a passage in a certain amount of time (once you know its a performance deficit and not a skill deficit) you can use one hobby off their list to reward them (as long as its within school guidelines).

Joey said...

The child's thoughts on the problems they face and the interventions that they are going through should definitely be taken into account, but this should not be the end all be all in terms of deciding what course of action to take in the future. The child's thoughts on the intervention or the problem they face could stem from more general feelings about school, homework, etc. that are a result of their experiences before the intervention took place. Working through and dealing with one's problems can take time to get adjusted to. If the first couple of weeks of the intervention is hard on the child but its is a proven way that is backed up by literature to solve exactly what the child is going through, do you continue with it when the child voices his/her opinion on the course of action.It seems like a fine line to walk on because the intervention could be good longer term but will short term frustrations harm those future gains. The child's feelings, plus the thoughts of the teacher/parent/school psychologist, and the latest research should all be taken into consideration.
@cyndi...i like the idea about rewards, people like to do what they like to do and thats good motivation

Kevin said...

In response to Joey, you are correct I believe that solid research and the professional opinions of the child study team and and the opinions of the parents are all things that are necessary in the process probably more so than the child's feelings and opinions. this is an idea that those feelings and opinions could be useful in tailoring an Individual Education Plan for a child. even if you cannot use the child's suggestions the way they would like it is very possible that just having them feel like they are contributing can be a positive thing. Maybe if they feel like more a part of the process they will be more willing or determined to work the plan mapped out for them.

Nicole said...

It would probably be more effective for the student's input to matter when the student is a little bit older. The younger students might not be as curious as to what interventions are occurring, but the older ones will most likely appreciate the opportunity to be involved in the decisions which are directly effecting them. I agree that what the child thinks should not be the "end all" decision, but I do not see how it can hurt. By including the students' input, they may feel more in control and therefore more comfortable with the whole process.

Reward systems can certainly be helpful, but they have to be put into effect in just the right way, or it may turn into bribing/inconsistencies.

Kasandra said...

@Nicole-

I agree with you that age matters. At my current school, most of the younger students are not even aware of their IEPs let alone any academic interventions. However, the older students have a better grasp on it. One student I work with knows *exactly* what is in his IEP and he knows what interventions are implemented. It's really great because he is empowered by it.

Joey said...

Just a question on all of this: How much information about the IEP goes to the child. Does it depend on how old they are? Are there guidelines requiring how much a student be told about their IEP? I know parents are required to give consent to the IEP to be put in place but it could seems as if the people who make the IEP appear like, "we know best for you and your just going to listen to us."

Kasandra Aristizabal said...

@ Joey-

I think it's pretty much up to the parents. In my school, the older kids have some sort of idea. I think this is great because it empowers the kids. The younger ones are sort of clueless to the whole thing. When I was working with the first graders last year, as far as the kids I was there to help were concerned, I was Ms. A who came into the classroom sometimes and played with them.

It comes down to the parents deciding whether or not they want their kid to know. I think it's important for the older ones to know because eventually they are going to wonder why they are being treated differently.

Nicole said...

I think it is great when an older student can feel empowered by decisions being made for his education and entire school experience. It is true that the younger students will sometimes look at any professional outside their classroom as someone "fun" to visit with them. As far as the adults stating "this is what is best for you because we say so," I do not really see any other way since they are the professionals who have enough knowledge on the child (hopefully) to make the right decisions for that student. The younger students will probably understand very little (if any) information regarding the IEP anyway.

Toyin said...

I feel students oftentimes don't have a voice in what is happening in their own lives. Several things happen that is out of their control, e.g. parental discord, living in an area with limited educational resources, limited socio-economic resources, etc. The research that is out there is good to refer to, but not all research is generalizable to each student's situation.

The student's thoughts and feelings on their education should be considered. If the student feels that they have a voice and control over their own education attainment, perhaps they will do better. We see examples of this in Montessori schools and other educational designs that follow a self-directed learning model.

Kasandra said...

@Toyin-

You bring up a great point with the Montessori school method. I'm not going to lie, even though I've heard of Montessori schools before, I was not really sure what made them special. For those of you who don't know exactly what makes a Montessori school different- here's a link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori_method


I know that wiki isn't always reliable but this seems to be a pretty good answer.

Jennifer said...

We like to speak positively about knowledge and how it empowers children, and many times it does. On the flip side there are plenty of students that use knowledge of their IEPs and limitations to their advantage, manipulating situations. It can be quite frustrating when a student disrupts a classroom or walks out of the classroom knowing the teacher can’t do anything about it because their IEP says they can’t be penalized for it.

Kevin said...

There are things to take into account when it comes to age and how involved the student should be with their IEP. younger students most likely will not really understand what their IEP means and could possibly be negatively affected if this makes them feel like they are different. as the students get older i feel they should be encouraged know about their IEP and what services they are supposed to be getting.

Kevin said...

@Jennifer

thats when those situations have to be controlled and you cannot allow the student to abuse their privilege to leave class. put restrictions on being able to leave class like they must report to their case manager or they will be considered to still be breaking rules and will see consequences. That privilege is something very important to some students say a student who gets frustrated and then acts out because of it given the privilege to walk out of class they can learn to avoid trouble situations because now they know they have another option besides acting out and probably seeing consequences. I Can personally say having that option in high school saved me from numerous suspensions and possibly expulsion

Julian said...

The child's opinions can play as a major role because then we can get a better picture of what the child is going through and understand his or her likes and dislikes. However, I do believe that it also depends on the age of the child. For example, if you are looking at a middle school or high school student, then it would be easier for them to express themselves. On the other hand, a younger student in like third grader may not be able to voice his problems and express him or herself in the way they would like. This is where we would have to take into account research, perhaps get the parents involved, or even take a closer look at the child; by observing his attitudes, behaviors, academics. I also agree that a child's progress should be measured because it can provide the educator with a better feel of how the child is responding to the individual intervention.

Lisa said...

@ everyone

I agree it can be empowering to the student to be involved in their IEP. It makes them aware of why they may seeem different and if asked by another student they would be able to explain. I've seen examples of child study teams implementing strategies for school and home that failed because they didnt take into account the student's environment. This is especially important to remember when dealing with CLD students

Nicole said...

@ Kasandra...
I do agree that the Montessori technique is a good one (I actually attended Montessori pre-school for two years. However, it is important to take into account that with Montessori schools, the majority of those students probably do not have special circumstances warranting them an IEP; some of those students might be better able to handle the idea of guiding their own education.

@ Jennifer & Kevin....
It might in fact be the case that some older students may take advantage of the system, so it should definitely be monitored in some way. I agree that having them report to their case worker each time they leave class should be a requirement.

lisa said...

@ kevin
This is new territory for me so forgive me if this question sounds dumb. But are there case workers in each school in which the student could report to if they had to.

Jennifer said...

@ Kasandra I was trying to stir the pot before with how teacher sometimes view IEPs. The truth is that students that have IEPs have a case manager, it can the school psychologist, social worker, etc. If a child's IEP allows them to walk out of a classroom (e.g. remove themselves from a situation that is too stressful, etc) the provisions usually require the child to go from that classroom straight to see their case manager/ counselor. It has been my experience that older children (High school age) sit in on their IEP meetings and are aware of everything in their IEPs. It has also been my experience that younger children (3rd - 4th grade, middle school age) know what's in their IEPs whether they attend the meeting or not. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Even kid's whose parents don't tell them what's in their IEP start to pick up on things.

Jennifer said...

Sorry! That was for Lisa :)