Improving students' abilities to identify and comprehend pronoun-referent structures
Elementary grade students who were identified as skill deficient in understanding pronoun-referent structures
Each day the teacher began by pre-teaching six sentences taken from grade appropriate materials. Next the student read the first sentence. Then the teacher emphasized the pronoun and its referent. Immediately she asked what the pronoun stood for. When the student answered correctly, the teacher praised the student. She then restated the sentence to reinforce the student's understanding of the correct response. If the student made an error on any of these steps, the teacher repeated the entire procedure with the student. Next, the student read passages of approximately 250 words in which ten pronouns were targeted for comprehension. The teacher modeled where to find the referents for the first three pronouns. For the last seven pronouns the teacher asked what the (pronoun) stood for. If the student made an error the teacher demonstrated how to find the pronoun-referent structure.
Record the number of correct pronoun-referents identified.
Dommes, P., Gersten, R., & Carnine, D. (1984). Instructional procedures for increasing skill-deficient fourth graders' comprehension of syntactic structures. Educational Psychology, 4, 155-165.
Sunny Drucker and Huong Hua,UVA
Improving capitalization skills
Three 9 year-old students, four 10-11 year old students (peer partners)
The goal of this study was to teach capitalization skills (first word of a sentence, proper names, the pronoun I, titles, holidays, days of the week, months of the year, abbreviations and initials used in place of a proper noun) using peer teaching. Each student wrote a different worksheet ìletterî to each of four peer partners. The letters contained sentences for which students were instructed to identify all words that should be capitalized. The letters were sealed in envelopes, stamped, and addressed to the partner. Instruction for each target student was provided by a peer partner during a brief lecture (15-20 minutes). The peer partner (a) reviewed capitalization rules, (b) quizzed the student on the rules, (c) provided correct examples of each rule, and (d) asked the student for other examples. The peer partner provided the target student with feedback on the examples and on the examples in the most recent letter sent by the student to the peer partner. Following instruction, the target student then wrote the worksheet ìletterî to the four peer partners.
The results of this study demonstrate that the three participants acquired capitalization skills through the use of a peer teaching and letter-writing procedure. For two of the three subjects, this increase was due, in part, to the use of multiple peer training, along with the teaching of multiple examples of capitalization skills. The use of peer teaching and letter writing constitutes an important addition to teachersí repertoires as a method of increasing studentsí academic engagement time in learning activities.
Campbell, B.J., Brady, M.P. & Linehand, S. (1991). Effects of peer-mediated instruction on the acquisition and generalization of written capitalization skills. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 24, 6-14.
Susan M. Hubley, ETSU
Three preschoolers with mental retardation
Two teachers assess whether children with mental retardation learn better by following the child's lead (teaching about objects which are currently holding the child's interest) or by recruiting the child's attention when teaching them nouns. Teachers use the Mileu Language Teaching method, which allows them to teach the nouns in the child's area of interest (in this study, the natural setting is the play area) and teaches these nouns in accordance with the appropriate developmental level of the children. For fifteen minutes during four days of the week (for a total of sixty-four sessions), the teacher focuses on teaching nouns related to current objects of interest following the child's lead. Also, the educator directs the child's attention to other objects, and if the child does not answer or answers incorrectly, then the educator models the correct response and play is continued.
Twice a week, the children were tested for comprehension of the words being taught according to two major criteria. First, a correct response to the target word on two out of three tries (a group of objects were placed in front of the child and he or she was asked to point to the correct one), and the second one being the student correctly using the target word at least three times in one week.
Yoder, P. J., Kraiser, A. P., Alpert, C., & Fischer, R. (1993). Following the child's lead when teaching nouns to preschoolers with mental retardation. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 158 - 167.