Systematic instruction for students with disabilities

Systematic instruction for students with disabilities

As educators, working toward meeting (and exceeding!) your students’ education goals is always top of mind. Goals are built into student IEPs, covered in your daily classroom routines, woven into your lesson plans, etc., which is why including systematic instruction while teaching your students is key.

Defining systematic instruction

Systematic instruction follows a clear, sequential method of instruction helping students to build off of already mastered skills to new, more difficult skills. In some cases, you’ll hear systematic coupled with explicit instruction, which just signifies clear, well-defined teacher-led instruction.

Systematic instruction incorporates scaffolded supports to develop a foundation for students to progress through the introductory skills to more complex ones.

Students with moderate to severe disabilities benefit from scaffolded, systematic instruction, as scaffolding helps to break drown instruction into more manageable chunks/topics for both teachers and students to work through. Using this method, teachers allow for transfer of instructional control from the teacher to the student in an “I do, we do, you do,” format which is beneficial for all learners.  

Systematic evidence based practices

Let’s dissect a few evidence based teaching practices that incorporate systematic instruction and have shown to be effective for teaching students with moderate to severe disabilities:

1) Constant Time Delay: This is a systematic method that teaches a variety of skills using prompting. Initially, the teacher asks the student a question, then prompts the student to indicate the correct answer immediately after the question is asked. After a few teaching trials with the teacher immediately prompting for a correct response, the student is given the opportunity to display the skills they have learned as the teacher provides a pre-determined “wait time” or time delay for student demonstration once a question is asked.

2) Discrete Trial Training: This is a strategy based on the methodologies of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) that breaks skills down into different segments in order to teach discrete skills by themselves. Discrete skills have one clear, direct response. For example, pointing to an object can be defined as a discrete skill. Discrete Trial Training is broken down into three main components: the delivery of a question, teaching the correct response and reinforcing the response. Discrete trial instruction should be used in combination with other systematic teaching methodologies to maximize generalization across settings, people and time frames.

Implementing systematic instruction for students with extensive support needs

If you’re looking to incorporate more systematic instruction with your students with extensive support needs, TeachTown’s standards-based, adapted core curriculum, enCORE, provides educators and students with domain-specific content for ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies in a systematic way to move from basic principles to complex skills.

With enCORE, teachers are provided scripted, systematic lessons plans which allows for fidelity of instruction. All of the lesson plans included within the curriculum build on one another to form instructional sequences.

All educators are given an implementation guide which clearly outlines when to teach what content. Additionally, a Scope and Sequence Guide is provided for teaching in a scaffolded format.

Students will engage with pre- and post-unit assessments to demonstrate learning progress. Currently, enCORE is driving a 68% student improvement rate between pre- and post-test scores.

Learn more about enCORE and see how the curriculum can benefit the students you serve.

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