In the first two articles in this series, which may be found at http://education.wm.edu/centers/ttac/documents/newsletters/2009septoct.pdf and http://education.wm.edu/centers/ttac/documents/newsletters/2009%20nov%20dec.pdf, Andrew and his teacher collaborated to establish writing goals and to create a plan to improve his writing performance using the Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) approach. Through implementation of the writing strategy and Andrew's "Good Day Plan," his teacher infused self-regulation, self-determination, and writing instruction to help him become more confident and independent throughout the writing process.
Goal setting and self-monitoring, important elements in successful implementation of self-regulation strategies, increase self-directed learning and promote students' self-determination skills (Lee, Palmer, & Wehmeyer, 2009). When students learn and practice self-regulation within the context of the learning environment, they become more skilled at keeping track of their academic and behavioral progress and more engaged in their learning. Eventually, they become more independent learners and able to use self-talk to help them accomplish challenging academic tasks. Additionally, students collaborate with their teachers to evaluate progress, set and make plans to attain future learning goals, and select rewards or self-reinforcements for reaching their goals (Lienemann & Reid, n.d.).
The SRSD strategy was implemented, and Andrew's teacher supported its use with Andrew and a small group of students during daily 20-minute writing sessions. Andrew and his teacher met to revisit his "Good Day Plan" and to set new goals for writing. Andrew stated that, after learning how to use POW: Pick an Idea, Organized Notes, Write and Say More and the graphic organizer, he was motivated to choose his own topic and organize his notes for his essay. Further, with this structure in place, he was confident that he could add more POWer to his writing and set a long-term goal of increasing his writing performance to five well-developed paragraphs. Andrew's short-term goal was to complete one essay paragraph per writing period.
Because of Andrew's need for positive behavior support during writing tasks, his teacher also taught him how to monitor his behavior and his feelings while writing and to record them using his progress monitoring charts. If Andrew became frustrated during writing, he used the self-instruction strategy and his Power Words (see Figure 1) to prompt himself to continue writing. The teacher encouraged Andrew to select a self-reinforcement or reward for accomplishing his goals. Andrew chose to work toward the privilege of earning extra computer time at home, and the privilege of reading to a younger student for 15 minutes during the school's "Drop and Read" program at school.
When the class began writing, Andrew used a graphic organizer to plan his essay and monitor the progress of his writing and behavior (see Figure 1). His teacher divided the 20-minute writing period into two 10-minute blocks. Andrew and his classmates worked independently on the writing assignment during both of the 10-minute periods. At the end of each writing block, they stopped writing to ask themselves the questions on their self-monitoring sheet (see Figure 1).
Andrew and his teacher met weekly to discuss Andrew's progress toward his goal and to evaluate the quality of his writing. They used Andrew's graphic organizer and goal sheet to analyze each writing task. This provided valuable performance feedback and information for adjusting Andrew's goals for writing. In addition to the weekly reviews of his progress, Andrew's teacher assessed Andrew's use of the SRSD writing strategy and began to plan how she would support him as he generalized the use of the strategy to new writing tasks.
Self-directed learning strategies are effective for students with behavioral difficulties by providing them with self-regulating strategies that can easily be applied across academic environments (Agran, King-Sears, Wehmeyer, & Copeland, 2003; Wehmeyer & Field, 2007). Self-monitoring strategies equip students with the tools they need to increase the consistency of their positive behavioral and academic responses to tasks (Agran et al., 2003). Further, use of these strategies fosters collaboration between students and teachers, so students can ultimately assume more ownership of academic and behavioral tasks and increase progress toward their goals (Harris, Graham, & Mason, 2003).
Agran, M., King-Sears, M., Wehmeyer, M., & Copeland, S. (2003). Teachers' guides to inclusive practices: Student-directed learning. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.
Harris, K. R., Graham, S., & Mason, L. (2003). Self-regulated strategy development in the classroom: Part of a balanced approach to writing instruction for students with disabilities. Focus on Exceptional Children, 35(7), 1-16.
Lee, S., Palmer, S., & Wehmeyer, M. (2009). Goal setting and self-monitoring for students with disabilities: Practical tips and ideas for teachers. Intervention in School and Clinic, 44(3), 139-145.
Lienemann, T., & Reid, R. (n.d.). The IRIS Center case study unit: Written expression: Grades 2-5. Retrieved November 15, 2009, from http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/case_studies/ICS-013.pdf.
Wehmeyer, M., & Field, S. (2007). Self-determination: Instructional and assessment strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.