Essay: Instructional Practices for High Level

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[. . .] The benefits for students with disabilities in a standards-based, inclusive curriculum include: a) increased social interaction; b) new friendships; and c) "social competence" (Copeland, 214). The benefits for students that do not have disabilities include: a) "improved self-esteem"; b) development of personal principles such as "morals and ethics"; c) "decreased fear of differences and disabilities"; and d) a lessening of bias towards others who are disabled in a learning milieu (Copeland, 215).

Copeland explains that students with "extensive support needs" have problems when they try to use skills that they learned in one classroom or environment in another totally different environment (216). That attempt to transfer knowledge is problematic for many students, the authors report, and as a result the challenge of specific areas of learning (academic skills, communication skills, and social skills) is substantial for those students. One way to help a student practice applying skills learned in one setting to another setting is to provide the student with"…embedded opportunities" or to take advantage of "naturally occurring opportunities" (Copeland, 216).

Those "naturally occurring opportunities" are more effective than say, having the student practice one particular skill over and over (like writing his name ten times), Copeland continues (216). The naturally occurring chances to learn include having the student write his name on regularly assigned schoolwork, on forms, on art projects or other assignments that are not forced upon him. In other words, instructional practices offering multiple opportunities for using learned skills -- in a standards-based curriculum -- addresses the need to motivate the student to "attend and stay focused" (Copeland, 216).

Service-learning (including community service participation) in a standards-based curriculum can be an effective method for students to succeed, according to Anne Seitsinger (University of Rhode Island). Seitsinger points out that "real-world experiences" are invaluable because students can use their "…newly acquired academic skills and knowledge" out in the community (Seitsinger, 2005, 20). This enhances the lessons that students have learned in the classroom because when it is integrated into the curriculum, it gives students a chance to "…think, talk, and write about what he or she did and saw during the actual service activity" (Seitsinger, 20). So basically what the author is explaining is that the curriculum is standards-based and yet there is a creative aspect to the instructional practice, and that is, while the student is learning skills he or she is also developing a "…sense of caring for others" (20).

The author researched the way in which 2,164 middle school teachers in 271 middle schools used service learning; the results of this survey shows that those middle school teachers that used service learning strategies "…on a regular basis" (combined with standards-based curricula) reported progress for students in "…literacy, numeracy, and cross-content area practices" (Seitsinger, 27). In addition, the standards-based curriculum included small-group discussions, group projects, written reports, "…reflection and analysis of written work, mathematical reasoning, and problem solving" (Seitsinger, 27). The bottom line of this article is that using service learning in conjunction with standards-based curriculum can potentially provide "…more opportunities for students to engage in higher order thinking" (Seitsinger, 27).

In conclusion, this paper has pointed to a number of instructional practices that may be effective vis-a-vis teachers' goal of helping students learn and achieve. But when a curriculum-based measurement approach is taken, teachers can be fairly certain that their strategies are working (or not working); and moreover, students with disabilities can achieve noticeable skills in a classroom where standards-based curriculum is presented while students without disabilities in the same standards-based classroom experience better self-esteem and a lessening of their previous biases against disabled students.

Works Cited

Copeland, S.R., and Cosbey, J. (2008-2009). Making Progress in the General Curriculum:

Rethinking Effective Instructional Practices. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe

Disabilities, 33(4), 214-227.

Liu, L., Jones, P.E., and Sadera, W.A. (2010). An Investigation on Experienced Teachers'

Knowledge and Perceptions of Instructional Theories and Practices. Computers in the Schools, Vol. 27, 20-34.

Seitsinger, A.M. (2005). Service-Learning and Standards-Based Instruction in Middle Schools.

The Journal of Educational Research, 99(1), 19-31.

Stecker, P.M., Fuchs, L.S., and Fuchs, D. (2005). Using Curriculum-Based Measurement to Improve Student Achievement: Review of Research.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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