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

Page 7: Use Evidence-Based Practices

Research Shows

Direct Instruction (DI) programs have been found to be effective for teaching reading in JC settings. These programs incorporate fast-paced scripted lessons, careful scaffolding, frequent opportunities for student responding, and immediate corrective feedback.
(Gagnon & Barber, 2014)

One key recommendation by the Department of Education regarding the education of youths in JC classrooms is that teachers use evidence-based instructional practices (EBP). Unfortunately, there is very little research on what constitutes an instructional EBP in JC settings. However, the few studies that have been conducted identified the following practices as effective in JC settings:

  • Explicit instruction combined with strategy instruction
  • ClassWide Peer Tutoring

Explicit Instruction with Strategy Instruction

Explicit instruction and strategy instruction are two EBPs that are effective when used separately. By combining these approaches, students acquire and build skills through explicit instruction while also learning higher-order thinking skills (e.g., planning, organizing) using strategy instruction.

Explicit Instruction

Explicit instruction involves teaching a specific skill or concept in a highly structured manner. It is often used for teaching new skills or teaching students to generalize knowledge to novel settings. During explicit instruction, the teacher:

  • Clearly identifies the expectations for learning
  • Highlights important details of the concept or skill
  • Gives precise instructions
  • Models concepts or procedures
  • Connects new learning to previously learned material

The steps of an explicit instruction lesson are described below.

Components of Explicit Instruction
  • The teacher models thinking aloud to demonstrate the completion of a few sample problems.
  • The teacher leads the student through more sample problems.
  • The teacher points out difficult aspects of the problems.
Guided Practice
  • The student completes problems with the help of either teacher or peer guidance.
  • The teacher monitors the student’s work.
  • The teacher offers positive corrective feedback.
Independent Practice
  • The student completes the problems independently.
  • The teacher checks the student’s performance on independent work.
Adapted from Bender (2009), pp. 3132.

Strategy Instruction

Strategy instruction involves teaching students clear strategies that help them process and respond to an assignment or task. There are many different learning strategies that teachers can use to help students learn a variety of skills in all academic subjects. One strategy that is used by teachers to help students master a learning strategy is self-regulated strategy development (SRSD). SRSD is an evidence-based framework for explicitly teaching academic (e.g., writing) as well as self-regulation strategies (e.g., self-monitoring, goal setting) to students. It incorporates instructional practices that have been shown to be critical to students’ acquisition and adoption of academic strategies. The SRSD model involves six stages:

  • Identify the skills students will need to use a particular strategy (e.g., vocabulary)
  • Assess whether students possess these skills
  • Help students develop the necessary skills to learn the academic and self-regulation strategy
  • Introduce the self-regulation strategies of goal setting and self-monitoring

  • Help students to understand the benefits of using a strategy
  • Teach students how and when to use a particular strategy
  • Emphasize the importance of student effort, motivation, and self-talk
  • Explain to students that once they learn a strategy, they can use it during different kinds of activities and in different situations
  • Describe ways to measure self-monitoring

  • Use a think-aloud process to verbalize thoughts when demonstrating the strategy, making sure to:
    • Expose students to the thought processes used by skilled learners
    • Show students how to perform each step in a strategy
    • Clarify the reasons the steps in a strategy are necessary

  • Teachers typically use cue cards or a poster to help students memorize the strategy.
  • Students need to learn both the steps of the strategy and what action is performed during each step
  • Students need to become fluent in the steps of a strategy so they can use them without having to stop and think about what step comes next

  • Offer constructive feedback, guidance, and positive reinforcement
  • Fade (or reduce) support based on students’ individual needs
  • Discuss with students ways to maintain, or continue to use, the strategy
  • Support students so that they are able to use the strategy in other settings

  • Monitor and support students’ performance, as needed
  • Incorporate activities in their lesson plans to allow students to maintain and generalize their new strategy skills in various settings and across several tasks

ClassWide Peer Tutoring

In ClassWide Peer Tutoring (CWPT) pairs of students take turns tutoring each other to reinforce concepts and skills initially taught by the teacher. This approach provides students with increased opportunities to practice academic skills, ask questions, and receive immediate corrective feedback. Typically, the pairs differ in ability level, with one partner being stronger in the skill than the other. For example, students can be paired to practice reading comprehension skills. The students take turns reading a short passage to each other and paraphrasing what they read. The stronger reader will go first to model good comprehension skills and then can provide the weaker reader with corrective feedback on their attempt at paraphrasing. Students are taught a specific script to use when providing feedback to ensure it is delivered appropriately. In addition, the teacher walks around the classroom, observing each pair of students, providing feedback on their comprehension skills and their partnering skills.

In the video below, two students are engaged in a peer tutoring activity. In this case, the students are using Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS), one common type of CWPT. For the sake of time, the video highlights only one student serving as the tutor. In reality, the students will switch roles (time: 1:21).

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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.

Evidence-Based Practices

Strategy Instruction

  • Improving Writing Performance: A Strategy for Writing Persuasive Essays
    This Module highlights the differences between students who write well and those who struggle. Elements of the writing process are discussed, as are the prerequisite skills students need to write good papers. The module outlines and describes the process for teaching students the POW+TREE strategy, a writing strategy to help students produce better persuasive essays (est. completion time: 2 hours).
  • SOS: Helping Students Become Independent Learners
    This Module describes how teachers can help students stay on task by learning to regulate their behavior. The four strategies discussed are self-monitoring, self-instruction, goal-setting, and self-reinforcement (est. completion time: 1.5 hours).
  • SRSD: Using Learning Strategies To Enhance Student Learning
    This Module features the Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) model, which outlines the six steps required to effectively implement any instructional strategy and emphasizes the time and effort required to do so (est. completion time: 1 hour).

ClassWide Peer Tutoring

  • 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).

Additionally, NDTAC offers resources about Teaching and Learning, including including an issue brief on FAPE. To access these resources, visit the NDTAC Website and select Teaching and Learning from the Topic Areas menu at the top of the page.

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