As special education teachers, our primary focus is to improve student outcomes and close the gap. How do we do that? How can we utilize best practices to get the job done? The CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) has gathered the research and organized it to showcase what would be considered high-leverage practices. These are practices that should be embraced by special education teachers! The practices are broken into four areas: collaboration, assessment, social/emotional/behavioral, and instruction. To learn more, click here.
Last month we started our journey with high-leverage practices by looking at the first practice in Instruction. This month we will continue with INSTRUCTION by looking at HLP 12: Systematically Design Instruction Toward a Specific Learning Goal. Once learning goals have been established we need to plan for instruction that will support students to meet the learning goals. This involved developing a sequence of lessons that build on each other and become more complex as skills are developed. Lessons should be designed so students can make explicit connections between lessons and see how each lesson “fits” with the previous one. Planning must be done to organize lessons that match student needs and help students progress towards individual student goals as well as grade-level standards. Lessons should be mapped out but also be flexible enough to be altered along the way to accommodate for changes that are needed based on student response to instruction.
Students perform better when they know the goal(s) that they are working towards and when they are provided instruction that is organized in a logical manner. When instruction is disorganized and not well-planned, students are unable to see how the new learning connects to previous learning and they are unable to connect it to their own lives. When teachers systematically design instruction they can individualize it to the strengths and preferences of their students to increase engagement and promote better retention of new learning. Systematic instruction begins with careful planning by the teacher and requires teachers to consider the individual needs of each student and the demands of the core curriculum. Knowing the grade level standards being taught in the general education classroom is a critical component to being able to provide systematic instruction that not only helps students make progress towards their individual goals but also towards mastery of grade-level standards.
Watch this 17-minute video to learn more about HLP #12. This video provides a definition, background, and rationale for high-leverage practice (HLP) 12 and demonstrates three key components of this HLP through video exemplars from in-service practitioners. The three key components highlighted in this video are the importance of setting specific and measurable learning goals for students, organizing and sequencing lessons logically and supporting students in organizing new knowledge by providing scaffolds and structures for learning.
Kennedy, M. J., Peeples, K. N., Romig, J. E., Mathews, H. M., Rodgers, W. J. (2018). High-leverage practice #12: Systematically designed instruction towards learning goals. https://highleveragepractices.org/hlp-12-systematically-design-instruct…