What is it?
Good teaching accommodates a variety of instructional communication approaches to ensure a 'no fail' atmosphere is in place for every student. This means that important instructions are delivered clearly, and sometimes through multiple modes such as accompanying written instructions, cues or individual guidance. Modifying instructions can be an important part of helping students understand what is said, while helping the student avoid feeling distressed. Reducing misunderstanding in communication between the student and the teachers also reduces the likelihood of problems escalating to the point where the situation becomes a disciplinary matter.
How do I use it? Planning
- Identify the skill/knowledge you want the student to demonstrate e.g. writing a short paragraph, addition using two digit numbers.
- Based on your knowledge of the student identify what supports their learning e.g. extra time, smaller group instruction, modelling, visual reminders, template.
- Plan instructions so they follow a clear sequence e.g. each step builds on previous knowledge and provides the foundation for the next step. For tips on breaking down steps see the Task analysis factsheet.
- Gain the student's attention.
- Provide simplified instructions:
Teach the first step of the process e.g. a paragraph has a key point). Information identified in Step 2 will assist in teaching this step.Provide students Opportunities to respond. This allows you to monitor their understanding and provide corrective feedback if required e.g. identifying the key point in paragraphs.Provide the student opportunities to practice this step.Provide specific corrective feedback e.g. writing topic sentences you could say 'This sounds like you are talking about…. Is this what you want to talk about? What did you really want to say?'When the student has demonstrated his/her ability to complete the step, progress to the next step.
- use words the student can understand e.g. check understanding of concepts like before/after; first/next/last; next to/near/beside, compare, example
- when using new or unfamiliar labels limit the number e.g. two new labels in one day
- keep instructions short and clear e.g. 'Today we are going to look at how to formulate a distinct section of a piece of writing, usually dealing with a single theme' could be simplified to 'We are writing a paragraph'.
Mindfulness strategies have been used with children from 4 years of age through to adulthood.
Where can I learn more?