Module 5 Instructional management

About this module

The focus of this module is to increase engaged time in learning by using a range of instructional strategies.

Active supervision

Active supervision is an opportunity to:

  • observe student performance for both academic and social behaviours
  • provide relevant feedback (praise)
  • provide correction (proactive)
  • encourage efforts
  • build positive adult-student relationships.

Active supervision consists of 3 general components:

  1. Teachers move among students, visiting problem areas frequently, discretely making their presence known, and scan the environment frequently (looking for both appropriate and inappropriate displays of behaviour).
  2. Active supervisors interact frequently with a variety of students by having conversations, providing pre-corrections and reminders, and teaching appropriate behaviours.
  3. Teachers give frequent positive reinforcers for displays of appropriate behaviours.

Ensure you are moving constantly. Consider that:

  • your presence is known and obvious
  • frequent proximity to non-compliant students
  • target problem areas.

To ensure you are scanning effectively, consider:

  • all students observed regularly
  • make eye contact with students
  • look and listen for signs of a problem.
  • proximity to students.

Consider the physical environment:

  • seating
  • sight lines
  • traffic flow.

Positive contacts

  • Friendly, helpful and open
  • Proactive

Positive reinforcement

  • On time
  • On target

Corrective responses

  • Non-argumentative
  • Specific to behaviour
  • Systematic – correct, model, practise, reinforce

Deliver consequences

  • Neutral demeanour
  • Fair

Multiple opportunities to respond

Teachers provide multiple opportunities for students to respond to questions and learning. A teacher presents an instructional question, statement, or gesture that promotes student responses. The teacher then provides feedback to students based on responses. There are two basic types of opportunities to respond: verbal responses and non-verbal responses.

What are opportunities to respond?

Teacher behaviour that prompts or solicits a student response such as:

  • reading aloud.
  • writing answers to a problem.
  • verbally answering a question.
  • responding to a teacher’s cue.

The value of providing opportunities to respond

  • Increased rates of responding and subsequent improved learning, tend to increase the amount of work that can be covered.
  • On-task behaviour and correct responses increase, while disruptions decrease.
  • Shown to improve reading and math performance.
  • Provides continual feedback for the teacher on student learning and the effectiveness of teaching strategies.

Guidelines for response rates

  • Teacher talk should be no more than 40-50% of instructional time.
  • New material, a minimum of 4-6 responses per minute with 80% accuracy.
  • Review of previously learned material 8-12 responses per minute with 90% accuracy.
  • Increase wait time to 3 seconds.

Response strategies

Verbal strategies

  • Students respond orally to teacher prompts or questions.
  • Individual questioning or choral responding.

Non-verbal strategies

  • Student or teacher uses a signal, card, writing or movement to respond.

Strategies to increase student’s opportunity to respond

Are all students called upon?

  • Use a seating chart and mark off when a student is called on to answer an academic question.
  • Draw students’ names from a jar.

  • Choral responding is an instructional technique in which the teacher gives an instructional prompt or signal to which students generate a reply and respond in unison.
  • Useful during large group instruction to increase student participation and increase opportunities to practice skills during the lesson.
  • Associated with higher rates of on-task behaviours and decreased inappropriate behaviours.

Cards, signs, or items simultaneously can be held up by all students to display their responses.

Types of response cards:

  • preprinted cards: yes/no, true/false, agree/disagree
  • preprinted cards with multiple answers: letters, numbers, parts of speech, characters in a story
  • write-on cards: 9x12 response cards and dry-erase markers
  • clean side of recycled paper
  • easy to manipulate, display and see.

Technology is interactive and can illustrate a concept through attractive animation, sound, and demonstration. They allow students to progress at their own pace and work individually or problem solve in a group.

Technology provides:

  • high levels of response opportunities.
  • immediate feedback.
  • enhanced motivation for learning.

Direct Instruction is a teaching model that emphasizes carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments with clearly defined and prescribed teaching tasks.

The teacher decides the learning intentions and success criteria, makes these transparent to the students, demonstrates them by modelling, evaluates if they understand what they have been told by checking for understanding, and retelling them what they have told by tying it all together with closure.

Direct instruction characteristics:

  • explicit, systematic instruction based on scripted lesson plans
  • ability grouping
  • emphasis on pace and efficiency of instruction
  • frequent assessment
  • quick pace helps keep students on task
  • new material is worked on in highly interactive format.

Activity sequencing and choice

For students who can do the assigned academic work but do not choose to do it, activity sequencing and choice strategies may be helpful.

  • Activity Sequencing: Altering the way in which instructional tasks, activities or requests are ordered (task interspersal and behaviour momentum).
  • Choice: Providing options in activities such as the type, materials, who, where and when they occur.

Activity sequencing: Task interspersal

Task interspersal is a simple strategy of interspersing academic tasks that have already been mastered with a few new concepts

Research suggests:

  • Students are more likely to engage in a task if it does not require significant effort
  • Error rates are higher during the acquisition stages of learning
  • Interspersing easier tasks among more difficult tasks and using simple instructions to proceed more difficult instructions have demonstrated increased student willingness to do the task
  • Students prefer assignments with a mix of already mastered tasks with new tasks
  • · Interspersing tasks that have already been mastered within the assignment can promote greater confidence and motivation to both begin and finish the activity.

Activity sequencing: Behaviour momentum

Behaviour momentum is a similar strategy that uses the momentum of easier tasks to build motivation to complete more challenging tasks.

  • Used to build confidence with students who may not otherwise attempt a more difficult activity.
  • Can be used with individual students, small groups or the entire class.

How to use behaviour momentum:

  • Identify behaviours that have a higher probability of completion
  • Then precede with more difficult requests by giving three or more requests the student can readily do.

After successful completion:

  • Reinforce the student
  • Then present the task that is known to have a lower probability of being completed
  • Again, reinforce the student
  • Gradually reduce the number of easier requests.

Providing choice

Providing opportunities for students to make choices has been demonstrated to be an effective intervention in preventing inappropriate behaviour and increasing engagement.

Benefits of providing choice

  • Feasible and easy intervention to implement
  • Effective for class, group or individual students
  • Does not require significant modification to existing instruction.

Strategies for offering choice

Choice might include:

  • type of activity or mode of the task such as written, oral, project
  • the order or sequence of tasks to be completed
  • the kinds of materials to be used
  • who to work with (for example group pairs, individual)
  • place to work
  • what will be done when the work is completed.

Steps for using choice in the classroom

  1. Create a menu of choices you would be willing to provide to students
  2. Look through your choice menu before planning each lesson
  3. Decide what types of choice are appropriate for the lesson and where they fit best in the lesson
  4. Provide choices as planned while teaching the lesson
  5. Solicit student feedback and input.

Task difficulty

Task difficulty relates to work assignments that exceed the student’s skill level.

  • Providing appropriately adjusted tasks decreases inappropriate behaviour and increases opportunities for academic success.
  • Work assignments that are too difficult for students or require them to use skill sets that are challenging for them, commonly result in inappropriate behaviour.
  • Providing tasks at the correct level of difficulty increases and promotes on-task behaviour, task completion, task comprehension and appropriate class-wide behaviour.
Consider aspects of the student, the materials and the task.

Types of adjustments

  1. Content, what students learn
  2. Process, how students learn
  3. Product, how student demonstrates what they have learned
  4. Environment, the surroundings in which students learn

  • Academics are accurately matched to student’s ability, but the length of the assignment exceeds student motivation or endurance
  • Decreasing overall task length or offering periodic breaks to do something else can decrease inappropriate behaviour and aid task completion.

  • The mode that is required to complete a task can contribute to inappropriate behaviour
  • Reading or fine motor difficulties often make reading or writing tasks appear overwhelming
  • Providing an alternative mode (for example computer, voice recorder, paired student reading) may reduce behaviour problems.

  • Using instructional strategies that are appropriate to the student’s stage of learning is essential
  • Some students may not be at the same stage of learning as other students e.g. acquisition level, fluency building, mastery or generalisation
  • For some students, they can learn and do the work if there is more teaching, guided practice or fluency-building activities.

Examples of adjustments

  • Have shorter work periods with other assignments in between
  • Provide physical breaks between difficult tasks
  • Provide alternative times for students to complete their work.

  • Highlight in a colour, the problems for students to complete
  • Have the student cover all tasks except the one they are working on at the time
  • Break assignments into chunk.

  • Include illustrations on worksheets describing how to complete tasks
  • Highlight and/or underline important words in instructions and texts
  • Create guided notes that highlight key points.

  • Provide choice of written or oral answers
  • Permit students to use outlining software to facilitate planning
  • Allow students to video or take pictures to produce journals or compose essays.

  • Different instructional strategies than were presented during initial instruction – incorporate multiple representations
  • Arrange for additional brief instruction using modelling. Then guided practice, then independent practice if student is in the acquisition stage
  • If student understands the content but needs more practice arrange a peer tutor
  • Use flash cards to increase fluency.

Module wrap up

Active supervision

There are 3 components: moving, scanning, interacting.

  • Allows for provision of immediate learning assistance to students
  • Increases student engagement
  • Reduces inappropriate and increases appropriate behaviour
  • Provides knowledge on whether students are using expectations
  • Allows for frequent use of encouragement
  • Allows for timely correction of behavioural errors
  • Builds positive adult student relationships

Opportunities to respond

Strategies for increasing student opportunities for response include:

  • Verbal strategies: students respond orally to teacher prompts or questions
  • Individual questioning
  • Choral response
  • Non-verbal strategies includes students using a signal card, writing or movement to respond.

Other strategies:

  • Computer assisted instruction
  • Class wide peer tutoring
  • Direct instruction

Activity sequencing and choice

For students who can do the work but choose not to do it consider:

  • activity sequencing
  • task interspersal
  • behaviour momentum.

Offering Choice

Remember – every lesson doesn’t have to include all of the choices on your list, but if each lesson you teach provides at least one opportunity for choice, students are likely to benefit.

Task difficulty

  • Will the student be able to complete the work if adjustments (of content/ process/product or learning environment) are provided?
  • Content, for example using texts or novels at more than one reading level
  • Process, for example develop activities that target auditory, visual and kinaesthetic learners
  • Product, for example students to express what they have learned in varied ways
  • Learning environment, for example areas to work quietly without distraction and areas that invite collaboration
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