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Effective Practices for Teaching Social Skills  

Timothy J. Lewis, Courtney Jorgenson, Jessica Simpson, and Trisha Guffey

Student problem behavior continues to significantly impact student academic, social, and emotional functional in school and post-school. Positive behavior support (PBS) focuses on identifying and teaching prosocial behavior and providing environmental supports to increase the likelihood that students will fluently use prosocial skills across school environments. Directly teaching prosocial social skills, discrete behaviors that lead to important social outcomes for the student, has been an advocated strategy for decades. Effective social skill instruction follows a direct instruction format and are taught through a “tell-show-practice” format whereby the teacher provides a definition of the skill and under what conditions it should be used (tell), then provides examples and non-examples of the social skill (show), followed by students using the skill in role-play situations based on natural school contexts (practice). Key to success, of course, is providing multiple opportunities to practice across all school settings with multiple adults to build fluency and generalized responding. Social skill instruction is one component of increasing student “social competency.” Social competence is defined as using the appropriate social skill, as defined by the students’ peers, adults, and larger community standards, to get their needs met. Social skill instruction should focus on improving overall student social competence, and not simple discrete skill mastery. Recent work expanding PBS across all school settings (i.e., school-wide) through a continuum of tiered instruction and environmental support strategies has demonstrated improved social competence among all students, including those at risk and with disabilities.


Response to Intervention  

Evelyn S. Johnson

Response to intervention (RTI) is a framework that can help ensure the academic strengths and needs of students are met effectively and efficiently. Patterned on a public health model of prevention, the focus of RTI is on preventing and intervening for academic challenges through a system of increasingly intensive supports, where the least intensive but most effective option is the most desirable. RTI models consist of the key essential components of effective inclusive instruction, universal screening, progress monitoring, data-based instructional decision-making, tiered levels of evidence-based and culturally responsive interventions, and fidelity of implementation. When the RTI framework is well implemented, most students are successful in the general education environment. In the general education classroom, teachers provide quality core, or Tier 1, instruction for all students. Even with high-quality instruction, however, not all students will be successful. Between 10 and 15% of the student population will likely need more intensive academic support at some point during their schooling, typically referred to as Tier 2 intervention. Tier 2 provides a system of evidence-based intervention, designed to meet the needs of most students at risk for poor academic outcomes. Tier 2 interventions are meant to be short in duration, focused on improving skill deficits that interfere with students’ success, and comprised of systematic approaches to providing student support. For some students whose needs cannot be met through Tier 1 or 2 instruction, an even more intensive level of intervention will be required. Tier 3 consists of specially designed interventions to support the needs of students who require a more individualized, intensive instructional program. Through this multi-leveled prevention system, the RTI framework provides supports to students that are appropriate to their needs within an environment of equity, efficiency, and accountability. With a well-structured, rigorous implementation of RTI, schooling becomes much more fluid and responsive to meet student needs.


Language Planning and Education in Asia  

M. Obaidul Hamid and Md Maksud Ali

The relationship between language planning and education is described by terms such as language in education planning (LEP), which is a subtype of language policy and planning (LPP). Although LEP is limited in scope because of its association with education only, it has attained special significance because the broader societal language policies are usually enacted through the mechanism of LEP. A survey of LEP in theoretical and empirical terms is reported. Theoretically, the examination of the nature, context, purpose, and process of LEP with reference to a framework for policy translation is followed by a discussion of various directions of research in LPP and LEP to provide an understanding of what questions have driven the field, and what theoretical and methodological resources have been deployed for research. The empirical examination focuses on language in education policy in Asia to provide an understanding of what languages have been prioritized, what types of language programs have been implemented, what linguistic perspectives have underpinned those languages and programs, and what linguistic and social outcomes have been reported for this linguistically and culturally diverse region in the world. The review of selective studies shows that LEP in Asia has prioritized national language and English, giving limited attention to local minority languages. Although there is a growing recognition of linguistic diversity and multilingualism across the world, Asia seems to be still dominated by monolingual ideologies as reflected in the language programs. The continued dominance of English, which is brought to schools and higher education institutions as a language subject and/or a medium of instruction, is another observation. Language testing, which works as de facto language policy, also endorses the hegemony of English given its perceived instrumental value as a global lingua franca in a neoliberal world. An overview of where LEP with reference to Asia currently stands and how it may evolve in the future marks the conclusion.


Differentiated Instruction and Inclusive Schooling  

Diana Lawrence-Brown

Differentiated instruction encompasses a wide range of responsive pedagogies, including individualized types and levels of curricula, teaching methods, materials, and assessment strategies. It has at its roots the impetus for effective inclusive schooling, providing supports directly within general education classrooms for students with the full range of exceptionalities (both significant disabilities and giftedness) and other diverse educational characteristics such as cultural and linguistic background and socioeconomic status. To effectively include students with higher levels of need, comparable levels of supports follow the student from the special education setting to the general education classroom. This enriched level of support in the general education classroom benefits not only students with disabilities, but the class as a whole. The legal and ethical bases for inclusive schooling are connected with various civil rights movements (including race, disability, culture and language, gender); it can be viewed as a response to segregated schooling (and denial of schooling altogether). Schools frequently remove students when traditional educational programs fail, adding on separate programs rather than rectifying the existing system. Such special programs have been routinely promulgated without substantial evidence of their effectiveness over supportive general education classrooms (either for segregated students or for their unlabeled general education peers). Important aspects of differentiated instruction and inclusive schooling include multilevel instruction; authentic and culturally responsive curricula, methods, and assessment; universal design for learning; assistive and instructional technologies; positive behavioral supports; and a collaborative team approach to instructional decision-making and delivery. Differentiated instruction and effective inclusive schooling are vital for equitable access to educational opportunities, bringing more responsive curricula, methods, and perspectives to increasingly diverse classrooms and schools.