EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION AND SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT
Williams-Bost and Riccomini (2006) have presented 10 principles for implementation of effective instruction to increase engagement for students with disabilities.
1. Active Engagement
The definition of active engagement is the amount of time students are actively engaged in relevant instructional tasks. The amount of time students actively engage can be increased using effective design and delivery of lessons, selection of interesting materials that are culturally relevant and appropriate to the students’ instructional levels, offering a variety of opportunities for student responses and reinforcing class participation.
2. Provide the Experience of Success
Teachers must provide students the opportunity to experience academic success early and regularly. Matching students’ level and task assignments is crucial to providing successful outcomes. Low academic achievement is a major factor in students dropping out of school.
3. Content Coverage and Opportunity to Learn
Deliver the content in the curriculum or classroom so students have the time to learn the content. Addressing absenteeism as a factor for youth at risk by assuring the content is engaging for students. The delivery of instruction is important to consider if students are disengaged.
4. Grouping for Instruction
Teachers who supervise learning activities directly help student engage and achieve their best. Grouping can help teachers engage students in continued learning. Groups consist of whole class, one to one, peer partners with each having its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. The most important thing to consider is the student’s academic success through increased support or grouping leading to a more likely result the student may stay in school.
5. Scaffolded Instruction
Encouraging students to become self-regulated and independent learners with scaffolded instruction allows students to become successful in school. Scaffolding is a systematic, sequenced series of prompted cues and material and teachers support to help the student utilize their strengths to overcome their weaknesses.
6. Addressing Forms of Knowledge
Teachers who balance the following critical forms of knowledge associated with strategic learning and address the students need to see relevance in the learning are more likely to encourage engagement with at risk youth. The critical forms of knowledge according to Ellis et al (1994) as cited by Bost-Williams & Riccomini (2006) are:
a. Declarative knowledge: basic facts and vocabulary
b. Procedural knowledge: steps used to solve problems
c. Conditional knowledge: when and where to use certain strategies
7. Organizing and Activating Knowledge
Carefully combining previous knowledge with new information is vital to student success. Build simple tasks into more complex tasks to develop foundational skills and knowledge to progress to tasks that are more difficult.
8. Teaching Strategically
Teach students “how to learn” versus “what content to learn”. Strategies include how a person thinks and acts when completing a task or assignment.
9. Making Instruction Explicit
Explicit instruction is teacher-directed instruction that is highly organized, task orientated and presented in a clear, direct manner to promote student understanding.
10. Teaching Sameness
Design instruction so students can recognize patterns and organize information in similar ways. Teaching sameness helps students make relevant connections, link and utilize information in a more effective and efficient way.