Evidence-based practice and intervention refers to the exercise of investigation and methodical studies as a base for shaping the best practices in an area. Evidence-based practices eliminate subjective professional judgment when establishing proper academic plans of action. In teaching, this refers to teaching techniques, teacher training, and evaluation assessments. This approach ensures development of programs, curriculum, and teacher preparation courses to ensure that all learners are offered with opportunities to excel through methods and practices proven to be effective. Research-based instruction allows the instructional methods applied to meet the needs of earners. Research-based instruction comprises of staff development, which enhances the learning of all students and prepares educators to apply research to decision making. In this approach, the paramount objective is to find what works for which students under given circumstances and to determine the replication of the approach to other learners. Scientifically-based research, on the other hand, is research which involves the application of meticulous, methodical, and goal procedures to acquire dependable and compelling information pertinent to instruction activities and programs (Haager, Klingner, & Vaughn, 2007).
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The three instruction practices and interventions have slight differences in relation to education. However, the ultimate goal of each method is to meet the demands of students through valid, tangible, and accepted teaching methods. The objective of applying each method may vary, but, the essence is to improve instruction practices and interventions in academic settings. Teachers and to some level medical doctors employ the instruction practices and interventions interchangeably to ensure effectiveness and productivity in learning. Educators recommend the identification of proper instruction practice and intervention to employ on a given learner or learning situation. This will be highly dependent on the circumstances presented by the learning situation.
For anyone to properly understand the student-teaching process, it is necessary to acquire first-hand experience in a setting where the programs undertake a defined instruction and intervention method. It is essential for one to have program experience to understand specific evidence-based methods of instruction and intervention. In this regard, I worked with the general education 2nd grade and Pre-K, Kindergarten, 3rd grade exceptional education as an early intervention specialist. This position offered much to be learnt concerning evidence-based methods of instructions and interventions. According to the experience obtained as an early intervention specialist, evidence based instruction involves a particular program or collection of instructional practice which has a record of success. In any evidence-based instruction practice, there must be reliability, trustworthy, and valid evidence of the program. This in turn should improve the learners’ ability to read and grasp information taught in classrooms (McGraw, Brown-Chidsey, Bronaugh, 2001). Evidence-based instruction implies that the methods in use must exhibit elements and records of success. However, it can be challenging to determine successful programs in learning. For this reason, educators have identified key indicators of successful programs, which include objectivity, validity, reliability, systematic, and reference. It is essential that programs receive an evaluation from all quarters to determine whether the programs deliver in regards to set results.
Working as an early intervention specialist provided substantial feedback on the programs employed by the different levels of learning. At the end, of every stipulated period learners reported improved reading and writing skills after the use of evidence-based instruction programs. For the replication of these programs, teachers need to identify whether the academic problems presented by the learners resemble, consider the age factor, language and cultural backgrounds, learning profiles, and size of the class. In addition, the teacher undertaking the program needs to ensure availability of adequate instructional resources to ensure effectiveness in the delivery of information.
During my practicum, I have made specific uses of evidence-based instruction and intervention. Mainly, Discrete Trial Training has been useful during my practicum, and I have majorly employed it in the process. Children with autism spectrum disorder usually undergo several teaching approaches, healing protocols, and specific programs. Through applied behavior analysis, teachers and other relevant people can identify the effectiveness of methods applied to these children. Discrete Trial Training arises from Applied Behavior Analysis and is significant when dealing with autistic children. Discrete Trial Training is a technique of teaching in which teachers categorize different abilities into teachable steps, then presented and impacted in a recurring fashion until the learner exhibits mastery of the proficiency. This approach follows the following outline. The teacher presents a question or instruction to the learners, students’ responds, and then the teacher presents appropriate consequence (McGraw, Brown-Chidsey, Bronaugh, 2001).
Under Discrete Trial Training, there is the 3-step guided instruction which employs systematic least-to –most prompting. This instruction ensures follow-through and access to reinforcement based level of independence. The three steps include the following actions; saying, showing, and doing. The first step is for the teacher to give an instruction to the learner and this should be followed by reinforcement. If the student responds positively according to instructions, the teacher should apply reinforcement. The teacher then shows the learner through restating verbal instruction and offers a visual cue (Rosenfield, 2009). Positive response by the learner should also summon positive reinforcement to encourage interest in the activities from the learner’s side. Finally, the teacher should give a practical example by executing the action together with the learner. In the event the teacher physically prompts the response, then there is no reinforcement. According to discrete trial training, this should be a repetitive process until the learner can master the instruction. This aspect of evidence-based instruction had positive outcomes during my practicum as the autistic children showed considerable improvement.
Being knowledgeable of and having skills in regards to evidence-based instruction and intervention practices has been useful and made a significant difference in my instructional practices. As an early intervention specialist, there is a need to have skills and knowledge of evidence-based instruction and intervention methods while delivering these services. Evidence-based practice will be developmental in the practical aspect of instruction. Being knowledgeable of the evidence-based teaching practice ensures students receive the highest quality of instruction. Instruction techniques proven effective can help learners to make more progress in shorter lengths of time. When these practices are included in teachers’ professional skills and knowledge of their learners, then the result is a positive one. Teachers and upcoming teachers need to have the time, tools, and resources to implement the practices and knowledge of what is theoretical (Flick, 2011).
In as much as there are fields which require minimal training and knowledge of the field of practice, in teaching prior knowledge is essential for dissemination of services. Handling children with disabilities require knowledge and skills in the field concerned without which will make the entire process complex. Having knowledge and skills of evidence-based practices ensures flow of activities and while undertaking the activity, to only deliver the necessary instructions. In my case, having knowledge of evidence-based practice made a difference in relation to dealing with the learners. The main objective while giving instructions is to ensure positive outcomes at the end of the process. In special education, many issues are complex ranging from the academic setting, learner’s disability, availability supports, and content to be taught. It is necessary that these areas be highly scrutinized by the instructor to ensure effective and proper undertaking of teaching (Rosenfield, 2009).
Applied Behavior Analysis therapy using DDT, NET, Errorless learning, Verbal behavior analysis, and positive behavioral support
Applied behavior analysis is the discipline in which procedures derived from principles of behavior are systemically applied to improve socially significant behavior. The defining assumption of ABA is that learning and control of behavior is through contingencies within the setting. ABA practitioners uphold close and persistent contact with pertinent outcome information in order to make empirical-based decisions across character programs. The ABA theory works well under certain approaches such as DDT, NET, Errorless learning, verbal behavior analysis, and positive behavioral support. Natural environment strategies comprise of several specific methodologies derived from ABA including incidental teaching and pivotal response training which target global deficits like motivation, initiation, engagement, and attention to multiple and relevant cues. Natural environment strategies are child-directed and aim language skills within logically manufactured opportunities throughout the day. Another approach is Discrete Trial Training which is a method of teaching in which abilities are divided in to teachable steps then given and emphasized in a repetitive fashion until the student exhibits mastery of the efficiency. This as earlier discussed mainly employs the 3step guided instruction which uses systematic least to most prompting which ensures follow-through and admittance to strengthening based on height of sovereignty (Haager, Klingner, & Vaughn, 2007).
Another ABA therapy is errorless learning, which is similar to DTT but employs prompts in a most-to least fashion on order to elicit only correct responses. This will be followed by less prompted trials until the student demonstrates mastery of the skill. Particular reinforcement and momentum strategies are necessary to combat prompt reliance and keep the child motivated through teaching sessions. Verbal behavior analysis uses principles of ABA and centers on the improvement of practical communication by setting up motivating rules in which to instruct language. This approach bases on B. F Skinner’s examination of spoken conduct and employs errorless learning and specific quick-transfer procedures within the ordinary setting as well as during teaching sessions (Flick, 2011). Finally, ABA employs another approach which is positive behavioral support. Positive behavioral supports are used within a program to endorse behavioral transformation. The instructors offer support driven by a thorough comprehension of the problem behavior and its function. Reduction of problem behaviors is a result of unending team examination and problem solving to increase preventive strategies, administer alternative skills, design crisis management procedures, and modify contingencies in the child’s environment. Essentially, the positive behavioral supports draws near to holds a broader inspection of intervention accomplishment by evaluate whether improvements in the use of different behaviors have been kept across time and comprehensive across settings (Rosenfield, 2009).
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