How do teachers meet the academic needs of youth in juvenile corrections settings?

Page 6: Foundations of Effective Instruction

teacher with student image in background

As you learned earlier in this Module, a number of factors affect the ability of teachers in JC settings to provide high-quality instruction, including the behavioral and instructional challenges presented by youth. To address these challenges, teachers should first establish a solid instructional foundation for the implementation of evidence-based practices. Teachers can begin to build this foundation by incorporating into their instruction the practices described below.

Establish a Positive Relationship

One of the most important tasks for teachers in JC settings is to establish positive relationships with their students. This can be a trial-and-error process. Teachers who respect their students and have high expectations for their behavior and achievement create environments where students can be successful.

Peter Leone explains why it is important to build rapport with students in order to more successfully implement effective instructional practices. Next, Robert White describes why it is critical for teachers to offer assurance and support to youth in JC settings.

Peter Leone

Peter Leone, PhD
Professor, Department of Counseling, Higher Education & Special Education
University of Maryland

(time: 2:34)

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Robert White

Robert White
Former incarcerated youth

(time: 2:06)

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Apply a Rigorous Curriculum

Teachers should hold high expectations for their students and apply a rigorous curriculum based on college- and career-ready standards. A rigorous and comprehensive curriculum will maximize educational opportunities for youth and support their success when they return to the community. Ideally, the school in the JC setting will facilitate that transition by using the same curriculum as the local school district. However, this is not always possible, as Peter Leone explains below.

Peter Leone

Peter Leone discusses the importance, as well as the difficulty, of aligning curriculum to the district’s standards (time: 2:29).

View Transcript

Peter Leone, PhD
Professor, Department of Counseling, Higher Education & Special Education
University of Maryland

Make Data-Based Decisions

Teachers in JC facilities should collect diagnostic assessment and formative assessment data on all students. Data should be collected when the student enters the program in order to determine his or her initial level of achievement and instructional needs, and throughout instruction in order to adjust instruction to meet the student’s needs. Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is an evidence-based practice (EBP) that allows teachers to collect formative assessment data and use these data to help plan and structure instruction.

Implement Tiered or Intensified Instruction

Similar to PBIS, which provides increasingly intensive and individualized behavioral support, multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS)—sometimes referred to as tiered instruction—is a framework in which struggling students receive increasingly intensive and individualized academic support. All students receive high-quality instruction; additional support is provided for those who need it. This additional support often occurs in small-group formats.

Provide Culturally Responsive Instruction

Culturally responsive instruction involves modifications or adjustments made by educators to meet the individual needs of their students that acknowledge, respond to, and celebrate all cultures. Teachers who embrace a fuller understanding of their students’ backgrounds and personal experiences can use them as a tool to make connections for their students. Teachers can do this by:

  • Including content about the histories, contributions, experiences, points of view, and concerns relevant to students from diverse backgrounds
  • Using a number of sources in addition to textbooks to provide curriculum content
  • Making connections between background knowledge and content standards
  • Utilizing an array of instructional strategies (e.g., role-playing exercises, response cards) to address students’ distinct preferences
  • Teaching students to respect their own and others’ cultural identities and differences
  • Using multicultural literature to teach reading and writing and to illustrate the social or cultural contributions made by various groups of people

Use Grouping Strategies

The use of different grouping strategies has been shown to be effective in teaching both struggling learners and students with disabilities. Depending on the instructional activities and the needs of the students, teachers can use one of the grouping strategies outlined below.

  • Peer-pairing: Two students work together to assist and remind one another of the procedures to be implemented during the application of a strategy, to complete a task, or to solve a problem.
  • Small-group instruction: The teacher provides instruction and support to a subset of students with similar needs.
  • Whole-group instruction: The teacher provides instruction to the entire class or to a large portion of the class.

Employ a Variety of Instructional Types

Learners are more engaged when teachers vary how they provide instruction. When choosing the type of instruction to employ, teachers should consider the academic content and the needs and abilities of the students. Several types of instruction are briefly described below.

  • Project-based learning: A dynamic classroom approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge of the content
  • Explicit instruction: Approach in which teachers clearly identify the expectations for learning, highlight important details of the concept or skill, offer precise instruction, and connect new learning to earlier lessons and materials
  • Cooperative learning: Instructional arrangement in which heterogeneous (mixed ability) groups are employed as a method of maximizing the learning of everyone in those groups; it also helps students to develop social skills
  • Peer tutoring: Two students of the same or different ability levels work together on an instructional activity; it often includes reciprocal tutoring, where students take turns being tutor and tutee. Two common peer tutoring approaches are Peer Assisted Learning Strategies and Class-Wide Peer Tutoring.
  • Reciprocal teaching: An instructional tactic wherein teachers and students switch roles in predicting, summarizing, questioning, and clarifying reading passages

Provide Flexible Instruction and Assessment

In addition to using a variety of instructional types, teachers can further address learner differences by utilizing flexible instructional and assessment practices. When they design lessons, teachers need to consider how to effectively teach content or skills to a classroom of students with different abilities and learning preferences. This requires teachers to be flexible in the way they present and teach information and to offer their students options in the learning environment (e.g., provide multiple examples, provide opportunities to practice with scaffolds and supports, offer choices of content and tools). Just as with the instructional components, teachers need to use multiple means to assess student learning (e.g., oral presentations, visual display, skit).

For Your Information

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that incorporates flexible teaching and assessment approaches to address the learning needs and preferences of all students. When they use UDL, teachers provide multiple means for students to access information and demonstrate their learning. For example, a teacher might provide multiple means for students to learn information, such as reading the information, watching a video, or using hands-on learning materials. The teacher can also provide options for assessing student learning (e.g., writing a paper, creating a model, creating a poster, delivering an oral presentation). Teachers also purposefully plan lessons and activities that will stimulate students’ interests and engage them in the learning process.

 

teacher toolbox

This toolbox lists and describes additional resources related to the information presented on this page. These resources are provided for informational purposes only for those who wish to learn more about the topic(s). It is not necessary for those viewing this Module to read or refer to all of these additional resources to understand the content. The resources are organized by the page section/topics to which they apply.

To address these challenges and to promote the provision of high-quality educational services in JC settings, the U.S. Department of Education has provided guidance on Correctional Education in Juvenile Justice Facilities. This Web page offers a Guidance Package, information on civil rights concerns for students in detention facilities, an FAQ, and much more.

Apply a Rigorous Curriculum

Make Data-based Decisions

Implement Tiered or Intensified Instruction

  • RTI (Part 1): An Overview
    This Module outlines the differences between the IQ-achievement discrepancy model and the Response-to-Intervention (RTI) approach. It also offers a brief overview of each tier in the RTI model and explains its benefits (est. completion time: 1 hour).
  • RTI (Part 2): Assessment
    This Module explores in detail the assessment procedures integral to RTI. It also outlines how to use progress monitoring data to determine if a student is meeting the established performance criteria or if more intensive intervention is needed (est. completion time: 2 hours).
  • RTI (Part 3): Reading Instruction
    This Module illustrates different research-based reading strategies that may be used with the response-to-intervention model to improve reading skills (est. completion time: 1.5 hours).
  • Intensive Intervention (Part 1): Using Data-Based Individualization To Intensify Instruction
    This Module, first in a series of two, overviews data-based individualization and provides information about adaptations for intensifying and individualizing instruction. Developed in collaboration with the National Center on Intensive Intervention at American Institutes for Research and the CEEDAR Center, this resource is designed for individuals who will be implementing intensive interventions (e.g., special education teachers, reading specialists, interventionists) (est. completion time: 3 hours).
  • Intensive Intervention (Part 2): Collecting and Analyzing Data for Data-Based Individualization
    This Module, the second in a series on intensive intervention, offers information on making data-based instructional decisions. Specifically, the resource discusses collecting and analyzing progress monitoring and diagnostic assessment data. Developed in collaboration with the National Center on Intensive Intervention at American Institutes for Research and the CEEDAR Center, this resource is designed for individuals who will be implementing intensive interventions (e.g., special education teachers, reading specialists, interventionists) (est. completion time: 3 hours).
  • RTI: Mathematics
    This Module describes the RTI framework as applied to mathematics. It includes discussions of instruction, assessment, and data-based decision making at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels (est. completion time: 2.5 hours).

Use Grouping Strategies

  • PALS: A Reading Strategy for High School
    This Module outlines the benefits of implementing PALS for high school, a peer tutoring strategy in which students work in pairs to strengthen their reading skills. Also included are step-by-step instructions for each of the three PALS activities as well as printable PALS materials (est. completion time: 1 hour).

Employ a Variety of Instructional Types

  • CSR: A Reading Comprehension Strategy
    This Module outlines Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR), a strategy for helping students to improve their reading comprehension skills. In CSR, students work together in small groups to apply comprehension strategies as they read text from a content area, such as social studies or science (est. completion time: 1 hour).

Provide Flexible Instruction and Assessment

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