Responsive teaching

18 Sep

Moi said in The ‘whole child’ approach to education:

Many children do not have a positive education experience in the education system for a variety of reasons. Many educators are advocating for the “whole child” approach to increase the number of children who have a positive experience in the education process.

The National Education Association (NEA) describes the “whole child” approach to learning in the paper, Meeting the Needs of the Whole Child:

Meeting the needs of the whole child requires:

Addressing multiple dimensions, including students’ physical, social and emotional health and well-being.

Ensuring equity, adequacy and sustainability in resources and quality among public schools and districts.

Ensuring that students are actively engaged in a wide variety of experiences and settings within—and outside—the classroom.

Providing students with mentors and counselors as necessary to make them feel safe and secure.

Ensuring that the condition of schools is modern and up-to-date, and that schools provide access to a broad array of resources.

Reducing class size so that students receive the individualized attention they need to succeed.

Encouraging parental and community involvement.

ASCD, (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) along with the NEA is leading in the adoption of the “whole child” approach.

Christina A. Samuels describes “responsive teaching” in the 2008 Education Week article, Responsive Teaching:

In practice, RTI can look quite different from school to school. But several key components are necessary for a successful program, researchers say. Students are generally screened early in the school year to determine if they may have educational difficulties, and to help their teachers figure out what extra lessons they may need.

Children with such difficulties are given increasingly intense instruction geared to bolstering the areas where they need help. The interventions must be scientifically based and teachers must present the lessons as they were designed to be taught. Additional tests, or “progress monitoring,” continues for those students through the school year, to make sure the extra lessons are working.

Finally, if a student still hasn’t responded to several different interventions, he or she may need further evaluation, or special education services.

Federal special education law specifically allows states to use RTI as a tool for identifying children with learning disabilities. However, the hope among some proponents of RTI is that by providing instruction as soon as a problem is noted, children can be steered away from special education….

All students are part of one proactive educational system
• Belief that all students can learn
• Use available resources to teach all students

Use scientific, research-based instruction
• Curriculum and instructional approaches must have a high probability of success for most students
• Use instructional time efficiently and effectively

Use instructionally relevant assessments that are reliable and valid
• SCREENING: Collecting data for the purpose of identifying low- and high-performing students at risk for not having their needs met
• DIAGNOSTIC: Gathering information from multiple sources to determine why students are not benefiting from instruction
• FORMATIVE: Frequent, ongoing collection of information, including both formal and informal data, to guide instruction

Use a problem-solving method to make decisions based on a continuum of student needs
• Provide strong core curriculum, instruction, and assessment
• Provide increasing levels of support based on increasing levels of student needs

Data are used to guide instructional decisions
• To align curriculum and instruction to assessment data
• To allocate resources
• To drive professional development decisions

Professional development and follow-up modeling and coaching to ensure effective instruction at all levels
• Provide ongoing training and support to assimilate new knowledge and skills
• Anticipate and be willing to meet the newly emerging needs based on student performance

Leadership is vital
• Strong administrative support to ensure commitment and resources
• Strong teacher support to share in the common goal of improving instruction
• Leadership team to build internal capacity and sustainability over time

SOURCE: Iowa Department of Education                               

A study supports “Responsive Teaching” as an effective strategy for helping many children make academic gains.

Jaclyn Zubrzycki reports in the Education Week article, Research Links ‘Responsive’ Teaching to Academic Gains:

In this second in-depth study of Responsive Classroom led by Ms. Rimm-Kaufman, 24 elementary schools in an unnamed Virginia district were randomly assigned to either receive training, materials, coaching, and administrative support to implement Responsive Classroom or to be part of a control group that did not adopt the approach. The researchers followed 2,904 students, taught by 295 teachers, from 3rd to 5th grade, and examined their academic performance on the 5th grade state standardized test.

The researchers also used surveys and observations to determine the degree to which Responsive Classroom practices were used in every elementary school in the district, as the approach involves practices that may also be used by teachers who were not teaching in the Responsive Classroom schools.

Simply being assigned to implement Responsive Classroom strategies did not have a direct effect on student scores, the researchers found, but there was a strong indirect effect: Schools in which teachers adhered more closely to the approach had significantly higher math scores, especially for students who had had low math scores in 2nd grade. Even within the group of schools that was not assigned to use Responsive Classroom, more-frequent use of the approach’s strategies was correlated with higher math achievement. In both the control and treatment groups, using more Responsive Classroom practices was associated with a 23-point gain on state standardized tests. Which specific program components were associated with higher performance will be the topic of a different paper, Ms. Rimm-Kaufman said, but preliminary findings show that the program’s focus on academic choice, which involves allowing students to choose among different activities to accomplish the same learning goals, may be particularly effective.

On the other hand, students in schools that were assigned to implement the program but did not do so with strong fidelity actually saw a small negative effect on their scores. “If you have lackluster fidelity, you don’t see gains in whatever the intervention happens to be,” Ms. Rimm-Kaufman said. But she said the dropoff in scores could also be tied to “something about schools and teachers that is both predicting use of practices and predicting achievement gains.” A school with a principal who was adept at helping teachers prioritize, for instance, might be more likely to implement Responsive Classroom with fidelity and also have higher test scores.

A Schoolwide Effort

The fact that the schools that implemented the program more faithfully saw better results is no surprise, said CASEL’s Mr. Goren. Previous research on similar programs has also indicated that social-emotional-learning programs are more effective when they are whole-school initiatives.


Efficacy of the Responsive Classroom Approach: Results from a Three Year, Longitudinal Randomized Control Trial

Authors and Affiliations:

Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman, Ross Larsen, Alison Baroody,

University of Virginia

Tim Curby,

George Mason University

Eileen Merritt, Tashia Abry, Julie Thomas, Michelle Ko

University of Virginia                                                               

In order to ensure that ALL children have a good basic education, we must take a comprehensive approach to learning.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©


What is responsive teaching?                    

Relational Intervention Equips Parents of Toddlers with Evidence-based Practice                                           

Responsive Classroom                 


Oregon State University study: Ability to pay attention in preschool may predict college success          

Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’

Missouri program: Parent home visits          

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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