The goal of intervention is to help students develop skills. As educators when we recognize that a student may need additional support in a skill area, interventions must ALWAYS be considered before special education services. The skill area may be academic, speech and language, social, functional, behavioral, organizational, or a specific focus unique to the student.
The first consideration for any skill area is the accommodations that should already be present in the classroom for EVERY student. In reality, this should be the first step when considering how to intervene. An honest and transparent self-reflection of our instructional practices as well as our behavior management and organizational systems.
Are we doing everything we can do to support the learning outcomes for EVERY student in our classroom? In my opinion this is one of the most difficult hurdles in the process of intervention and often, if addressed, will eliminate the need for more intensive intervention.
As educators our job is a very personal one. Student success or failure is often a reflection of what we ARE or ARE NOT doing in the classroom. Acceptance of this can be difficult and all too often the blame for failure gets displace on the student.
“They are not focused.”
“They don’t care.”
“They want to annoy me.”
“They have no support at home.”
“They are just looking for attention.”
“They are just so far behind.”
“They need specialized instruction due to their needs.”
This perspective always stops me in my tracks, because aren’t we as educators the ones responsible for our students learning?
When a car manufacturer builds a car they don’t blame the car or even the driver of said car for any vehicle recalls that become necessary. The manufacturer reflects on what they did wrong and offers the necessary fixes.
If a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or makes an incorrect diagnosis, they don’t blame the patient. They reflect on what they did wrong and change their approach.
If a food production company discovers that they have sold a product that is making people ill, they don’t blame the sick people. They reflect on what they did wrong and recall the product.
The list goes on and on…. our job as educators is to teach EVERY student. If they are struggling with developing specific skills, our job is to first reflect on what we can do different to support their learning. If we find that it is beyond our scope and skill set, we do not blame the student. We find the resources and supports necessary to help us become a more effective teacher.
Further information in our Advocacy resources.