Increasing Student Communication: Encouragement Strategies

 

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Creating a safe and productive learning environment for students promotes student success and reduces the likelihood of challenging behaviors occurring. Often simple changes in the way a teacher responds to students, or minor adjustments to the class environment, can increase students’ success and improve their social interaction with peers and others. Use the following case scenarios to inform the assignment.

 

Case Study 1: Sophie

Age: 5

Grade: Kindergarten

Sophie is a kindergartner in Mrs. Fields’ class, Sophie is new to the structured school environment; she never attended day care or preschool. She struggles to engage with her peers and is often seen sitting alone. Sophie specifically struggles to initiate conversation with others and she has not learned how to share with others. She is meeting academic grade level expectations for her age and grade. However, Mrs. Fields is concerned about her limited social skills and interactions with peers. Sophie appears to be interested in playing with the other children, but does not initiate interaction and throws tantrums when she does play and has to share or take turns. These behaviors result in other students becoming frustrated and refusing to engage or play with Sophie.

Mrs. Fields believes Sophie would benefit from the following goals to improve her social skills:

  • Initiate conversation with peers
  • Take turns talking and using toys and class materials

Case Study 2: Ari

Age: 9

Grade: 4rd grade, Spring semester

Ari is a fourth grader in Mr. Jackson’s class. Ari enjoys and excels in math and science. During language arts centers, he enjoys the activities that are more hands‐on. He is interested in space and trains. Last semester he created a model of outer space and has a big train collection. Ari, struggles with written assignments. Mr. Jackson and Ari’s parents are worried about his recent school performance. According to recent school data, Ari is falling far below the expectations in reading and writing. Ari has recently been determined eligible for special education in the areas of reading fluency and written expression.

In the general education classroom, Ari gets easily distracted and frustrated during the 90‐minute language arts block. Mr. Jackson has noted that Ari avoids any written assignments and requires prompting to get started immediately. This often results in assignments not being completed or handed in on time. A personal computer is available for Ari in the general education classroom as needed.

Mr. Jackson has selected two goals for Ari to achieve within the next three months:

  • Begin independent work assignments promptly
  • Increase the number of completed assignments

 

Part 1

For both student scenarios, in 250‐500 words each, identify and analyze one evidence‐based encouragement strategy that would be most effective in reaching the stated goals.

Encouragement strategies to consider include:

  • Specific praise
  • Criterion specific rewards
  • Choice‐making
  • Effective rules and clear, realistic expectations

Within your responses, be sure to rationalize your choices and discuss implementation of the selected strategies, ensuring a safe, culturally responsive learning environment .

Part 2

In your future professional practice, describe, in 250‐500 words, how you will use evidence‐based encouragement strategies to best communicate with your students with disabilities how to adapt to different environments. 

Support each scenario response with 1‐2 scholarly resources specific to current engagement theories and strategies.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

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