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Three Proven Intervention and Remediation Strategies for Effective Instruction

Supporting and motivating at-risk and struggling students

Many district leaders are challenged with developing whole-school, data-driven, prevention-based frameworks for improving learning outcomes for every student. Under the new provisions of ESSA, district leaders are also mandated to build curriculum capacity using a layered continuum of evidence-based practices and systems, to improve outcomes for students in Tiers 2-3 and special education.

In this web seminar, leading academic experts discussed three proven strategies for ensuring that district instruction supports and motivates at-risk and struggling students and meets these mandates, by helping teacher leaders to proactively implement intervention and remediation in the classroom.

Professor of Special Education
Department of Educational Psychology
University of Oklahoma
McGraw-Hill Education author

Over 90 percent of all appropriate behaviors in the classroom tend to go unrecognized, and the behaviors that do get recognized are ones we don’t want to see. There’s a lot of negative scanning going on, trying to catch kids who are not following the rules, versus positive scanning, looking for students who are behaving appropriately.

A meta-analysis conducted in 2003 found that there are 31 percent fewer discipline problems for teachers who have positive relationships with their students. What is a positive relationship? It’s how we interact with our students, which we can break down to the ratio of positive to negative interactions. The goal is, overall, to have around a 3-to-1 to 5-to-1 ratio. And that’s not a ratio that was just pulled out of the air.

We know that effective teachers are more positive with their students. They use more positive means of motivating than aversive means. The more positive we are with our kids, the better able we are to provide effective instruction and effective behavior management procedures.

There are a variety of ways to make these interactions more positive.

  1. We explicitly teach and encourage classroomwide expectations, both academically and behaviorally.
  2. We explicitly teach classroom routines.
  3. We aim for that 3-to-1 to 5-to-1 positive to negative interaction ratio. If we’re looking at the biggest bang for our buck in terms of behavior management, this is where we go.
  4. We engage in active supervision with positive, versus negative, scanning. In other words, trying to catch kids being good, versus catching kids who are violating our expectations or our rules.
  5. We provide precision requests for minor and frequent behavior errors, versus warnings and threats.
  6. We use preventive strategies, such as pre-corrections and pre-teaching for chronic errors. If we can predict what behaviors the students will exhibit in certain situations, we take steps to try to prevent those behaviors from occurring in the first place by teaching those expectations, rules and routines.
  7. We want to ensure that curriculum is matched to student skill, to avoid issues with students attempting to escape or avoid academic tasks because those tasks are aversive to them.

Chair of the Department
of Educational Psychology
Professor of Special Education
University of Oklahoma
McGraw-Hill Education author

“Explicit instruction” involves practice that includes student feedback. That’s done until student mastery has been achieved. How do we achieve differentiated instruction using explicit instruction? We need to think about starting where the learner is, but our ultimate goal is that we want the students to be independent. We’re moving from more of a teacher-controlled situation to students doing the work on their own.

It’s important to remember, it’s not a question of if we use one or not, but when to use each. The model that I like to look at with regard to effective instruction, particularly in differentiated instruction, is what’s called a Gradual Release of Responsibility Model.
It includes a guide that provides feedback to the student. Then there’s a monitor, and that’s where the teacher or a computer is monitoring student performance. There are mastery checks to ensure that the skill has actually been acquired—and then anytime something’s learned, it should be folded into a review activity. This is what is referred to as the “I do, we do, you do,” approach.

Before you choose a program, one thing to take a careful look at is the program scope and sequence. What’s been very popular is the Multi-Tiered System of Supports, or MTSS. Instruction is not just setting up what we’re going to do in our core supplemental and intensive intervention programs, but also schoolwide rules, classroom rules and individualized approaches to behavior.

If we are not seeing increases in performance, then we move down the road of looking at a potential referral for special education. All the way, as we’re moving through this, we’re looking at careful differentiated instruction and explicit instruction.

Speaker, Consultant and Trainer
McGraw-Hill Education author

Effective instruction with explicit feedback, provided at the point of need, is an intervention. The problem is, how do we make that happen in classrooms? Of course the most effective instruction for the last four decades has been small-group, teacher-led instruction, but there’s a management challenge with that model.

The habit of our teachers is to teach six or nine weeks and then test for mastery. And that is not the design of the current standards. In fact, most of the standards require progress monitoring of a student’s performance toward the goal, and then if mastery is required to be assessed, then it’s assessed at the end of the year. This is the reason that we have new assessments forthcoming, including report cards that will monitor and report more progress toward the goal, rather than assessing and reporting mastery as we have done in the past.

We need to change the management of instruction, how it’s delivered in classrooms and how students practice. We teach students to collaborate, we teach students to respectfully communicate. We teach teachers and leaders so that they collaborate and they’re focused on the same goals. Then they begin to monitor the impact of the quality of their instruction, because good instruction is the best intervention if you want to increase student learning.

When you change to that model, the first things teachers will see within two weeks—and it’s been true everywhere we’ve implemented this—is a dramatic increase in student participation and a significant decrease in behavioral problems. This happens because students know what to do, when to do it and how to do it—and they received instruction that made sense, and got their questions answered before they had the opportunity to work independently.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, please visit: