Functional mediators are cues or prompts that are used to teach a new skill/behavior and can be easily transferred across different settings where the skill/behavior is used. This assists the student in being able to generalise his/her learning. For example, teaching the student to use a quiet voice using a rules card (functional mediator) in the classroom and using the same rule card (functional mediator) in the library.
The 4 types of functional mediators are described as:
- physical stimuli (such as rules cards across settings)
- social stimuli (such as peers who are in both settings and can provide peer mediated intervention. See the
peer mediated intervention factsheet.
- self-mediated physical stimuli (such as a self-monitoring sheet). See the
- self-mediated verbal stimuli (such as the student reminding themselves of the rules and consequences before going into a new environment).
Using the strategy
Identify the behaviour/skill to teach. This would be a skill or behaviour that applies to multiple contexts e.g. quiet voice inside, walking feet. Spend time observing what behaviours student/s find difficult to remember. Are these behaviours used in different contexts at school?
Select the functional mediator. This has to be transportable from context to context (e.g. rule card, peer).
Using the functional mediator (e.g. rule card – quiet voice) teach the behaviour in the classroom.
Reinforce the student’s behaviour with specific praise (e.g. Jordan, you are following the rule card quiet voice. Great job).
Take the functional mediator to the
new environment (e.g. library). Show this to the student.
Immediately reinforce the student as soon he/she engages in the desired behaviour/skill (e.g. Jordan, you are following the rule card quiet voice. Great job).
This is appropriate for the following age groups:
- high school.