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Friday 24 Oct 2014

Teaching Strategies


The book “Teaching Infants and Preschoolers with Disabilities”, by Donald B. Bailey and Mark Wolery, suggests 10 intervention strategies to promote learning. These intervention strategies are also applicable to teaching older students.

Structuring the physical space to promote engagement and learning

The physical environment should be structured to promote experiences that will cause children to learn important skills. Some ways of structuring the environment will increase the likelihood that children will perform important skills.

Structuring the social environment by using models, proximity, and responsive adults to promote engagement and learning

The adult should be sensitive to the child’s behavior and assume the role of observer or monitor. The child’s behavior should be watched to determine what secures the child’s attention and what causes shifts in the child’s focus of attention. The assumption is that attention is prerequisite to learning and that child-initiated attention sets the stage for optimal learning.

The adult should read the child’s behavior as intents to interact. Instruction is best accomplished when the intent of the child’s behavior is understood.

The physical and social environment should be responsive to the children’s behavior. Being responsive to children’s behavior can teach them to learn on their own and can be used to increase the behaviors that are important for more adaptive functioning.

The adult should encourage children’s ongoing interactions. Activities should be structured to encourage high levels of engagement and child-initiated play and interactions. There should also be an emphasis on increasing the duration of children’s engagement, play interactions and communicative exchanges.

The adult should support and encourage children’s attempts to display more complex behaviors. There should be focus placed on teaching children to try new things, to explore, to vary their responses and to persist despite unsuccessful attempts to solve some problem.

Using children’s preferences to promote learning

When possible, teachers should honor children’s preferences in terms of activities to be engaged in, and the reinforcers to be used for adaptive performance. Children are generally more motivated to participate in activities they prefer than in low-preference activities. This does not imply children should never encounter difficult situations or be encouraged to participate in low-preference activities, but it does mean that children should be provided as many choices as possible. In structuring the environment, adults should identify and endeavor to use children’s preferences for particular materials, peers and activities.

Structuring routines using violations of expectancy, naturalistic time delay, and transition-based teaching

Routines are events that must be completed on a regular basis and frequently involve chains of responses. Routines are performed daily and usually in ritualistic ways which leads to the child beginning to anticipate particular steps.

Violation of expectancy involves the adult doing a step incorrectly, doing a step out of sequences or not performing a regularly completed step. Using violation of expectancy can increase social initiations, increase communicative initiations, and foster independence.

Naturalistic time delays can be used in routines or at other times to teach communicative behavior.

Transition-based teaching involves the adult presenting a learning opportunity during a transition between activities.

Using structured play activities

During social play activities, there are six tasks that need to be accomplished: agree on the theme of play, assuming roles, manage temporal structure (i.e. taking turns), handling interruptions, communicating and changing themes. Research has shown that the more structured activities are, the more peer social interactions occur among children with and without disabilities. The amount of structure and the nature of play activity can set the stage for interactions and learning.

Using differential reinforcement, response shaping, and correspondence training

Differential reinforcement involves the presentation of reinforcement under defined conditions and the withholding of reinforcement under other conditions.

Response shaping is a variation of differential reinforcement involving differential reinforcement of successive approximations.

Correspondence training involves reinforcing children for making verbalizations about their behaviors, or for matching their verbalizations and their behavior.

Using peer-mediated strategies

Peer management involves teaching a peer to prompt and/or provide consequences of the nonacademic responses of the target individual.

Peer tutoring is a type of peer-mediated intervention that involves a peer teaching a target child a skill.

Peer modeling a type or peer-mediated intervention involving having a peer perform the response desired from the target child.

Group contingencies involves the teacher providing reinforcement equally for all group members but makes this blanket reinforcement dependent upon the performance of just one or a few of the group’s members.

Using naturalistic or milieu teaching strategies

This strategy utilizes the techniques of modeling, incidental teaching, mand-model procedure, and naturalistic time delay. These procedures involve relatively brief interactions between adults and children (usually in a low-structured setting), provide instruction based on the child’s focus of attention, and provide assistance as the child needs (e.g. through models or prompts).

Using response prompting procedures

Error correction involves the teacher providing the target stimulus (aka discriminative stimulus, instruction or cue) and presents an opportunity for the child to respond. Correct responses are differentially reinforced and errors result in more prompts.

Antecedent prompt and test involves the teacher presenting a prompt simultaneously with the target stimulus before the learner responds, presenting an opportunity to respond and reinforcing correct responses. In subsequent trials, the prompt is removed and a “test” is given to determine in the behavior occurs when presented with the target stimulus alone. During a test trial, an error response may or may not receive a prompt.

Antecedent prompt and fade involves the teacher presenting a prompt simultaneously with the target stimulus, presenting an opportunity to respond and reinforcing correct responses. Over trials, the prompt is systematically faded until the learner responds to the target stimulus alone. Fading may occur on the dimensions of frequency and intensity.

Simultaneous prompting involves the teacher providing a prompt simultaneously with the target stimulus, presenting an opportunity to respond and reinforcing correct responses. In daily probe trials, the target stimulus is presented alone.

Most-to-least prompting (decreasing assistance) involves the teacher using a hierarchy of prompts ordered from most to least intrusive. Initially the most intrusive prompt is presented simultaneously with the target stimulus, and correct responses are reinforced. This continues until the child attains a specified criterion level of performance. When criterion is reached with the most intrusive prompt, the next less intrusive prompt is provided until performance meets criterion. This process continues until the child responds to the stimulus alone.

System of least prompts (increasing assistance) involves the teacher using a hierarchy of prompts ordered from least to most intrusive. On each trial, the teacher presents the target stimulus alone and provides an opportunity to respond. If no response or an error results, the least intrusive prompt is presented as is an opportunity to respond. Again, if no response is forthcoming or an error occurs, the next most intrusive prompt is presented with an opportunity to respond. This process continues until the child responds correctly. Reinforcement is provided and the trial is terminated when the child responds correctly to any level of the hierarchy.

Constant time delay involves the teacher initially presenting the target stimulus simultaneously with a controlling prompt followed by an opportunity to respond for a specified number of trials. Correct responses are reinforced. For subsequent trials, the interval between the delivery of the target stimulus and presentation of the prompt is increased for a fixed number of seconds. Correct responses before and after the prompt are usually reinforced.

Progressive time delay involves the teacher initially presenting the target stimulus simultaneously with a controlling prompts followed by an opportunity to respond for a specified number of trials. Correct responses are reinforced. For subsequent trials, the interval between the delivery of the target stimulus and presentation of the prompt is gradually increased. Correct responses before and after the prompts are usually reinforced.

Graduated guidance involves the teacher beginning each trial with the type and amount of prompt necessary and as the child begins to perform the task the prompts are removed immediately. If the child stops or begins to perform incorrectly, the type and amount of prompts needed are immediately applied and withdrawn as appropriate. Reinforcement is provided if the child completes even a minimal amount of the task correctly; reinforcement is not provided if the child resists at the end of the task.

Incidental teaching involves the teacher arranging the environment to cause the child to initiate. When the child initiates, the teacher asks for an elaboration of the child’s language and provides a response interval. If the elaboration is forthcoming, the teacher responds accordingly to the child’s initiation (e.g. supplies permission, materials or information). If the elaboration is not forthcoming, the teacher provides a prompt and another response interval.

Mand-model procedure involves the teacher observing the child and noting his focus of attention. When the focus of attention is determined, the teacher provides a mand (a non-yes/no question) and provides a short response interval. If the child responds correctly, the child praises the child and terminates the interaction. If the child does not respond correctly, the teacher provides a model, a response interval and consequences as appropriate.

Using stimulus modifications

There are three types of stimulus modifications: stimulus shaping, stimulus fading and superimposition. Stimulus shaping involves changing the defining characteristics of the stimulus over time. Stimulus fading is when a non-critical characteristic of the stimulus is changed over time. Superimposition is when the target stimulus and some current stimulus are put on top of one another and their relative salience is changed over time until the target stimulus becomes the controlling stimulus.

Source: Descriptions were adapted from “Teaching Infants and Preschoolers with Disabilities, Second Edition” which was written by Donald B. Bailey and Mark Wolery.

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