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1 Cultural Considerations with Response to Intervention (RTI) Models and Literacy Instruction Janette Klingner Michael Orosco University of Colorado at.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Cultural Considerations with Response to Intervention (RTI) Models and Literacy Instruction Janette Klingner Michael Orosco University of Colorado at."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Cultural Considerations with Response to Intervention (RTI) Models and Literacy Instruction Janette Klingner Michael Orosco University of Colorado at Boulder Margarita Bianco Colorado State University

2 2 From: Klingner, J. K., & Edwards, P. (in press). Cultural considerations with response-to-intervention models. Reading Research Quarterly. Klingner, J.K., & Bianco, M. (in press). What is special about special education for culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities? In B. Cook & B. Schirmer (Eds.), What is special about special education? Austin, TX: PRO-ED.

3 3 Overview Overview of popular RTI Model What do we mean by “research based”? Revised Culturally Responsive RTI Model Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction Closing Thoughts

4 4 Response to Intervention Models In the newly reauthorized IDEA, eligibility and identification criteria for LD have changed [614(b)(6)(A)-(B)]: –When determining whether a child has a specific learning disability The LEA is not required to consider a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability. The LEA may use a process that determines if a child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as part of the evaluation.

5 5 Response to Intervention Models Some critical issues we will be discussing today – What should this “scientific, research-based intervention” look like? We need to find out what works with whom, by whom, and in what contexts. How can we facilitate culturally responsive practices at each “tier”? What can you do in your role to make sure this happens?

6 6 Response to Intervention: A Three-tiered Model 3rd Tier 2nd Tier 1st Tier Research-based instruction in general education classroom Intensive assistance, as part of general education support system Special Education

7 7 Research-based instruction at the first tier is for all students and consists of explicit instruction in: –phonological awareness, –the alphabetic principle (letter-sound correspondence), –fluency with connected texts, –vocabulary development, and –comprehension. 1st Tier Tier 1

8 8 The second tier is only for those students who do not reach expected benchmarks using a curriculum-based progress-monitoring assessment instrument such as the DIBELS—the Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills. Students receive additional intensive support in small groups or individually. This support is provided within general education. Students may receive this additional support in their classrooms or in a different setting. 2nd Tier Tier 2

9 9 Students who continue to struggle are then provided with a third tier or level of assistance that is more intensive. It is this third tier many would consider to be special education. 3rd Tier Tier 3

10 10 Critical Issues The RTI model presumes that if a child does not make adequate progress with intensive research- based instruction, he or she must have an internal deficit of some kind. –How do we ensure that the child has in fact received culturally responsive, appropriate, quality instruction? –As with earlier identification criteria, this model must be based on students having received an adequate “opportunity to learn.”

11 11 What Do We Mean by “Research- based”? Fundamental to the notion of the RTI model is that instructional practices or interventions at each level should be based on scientific research evidence about “what works.” However, it is essential to find out what works with whom, by whom, and in what contexts—

12 12 What Do We Mean by “Research- based”? 1.What do we mean by “research-based”? 2.How do we account for language and culture when designing interventions, conducting research, and generalizing findings? 3.What kinds of questions do we need to ask as researchers and / or “consumers” of research? 1. Group Work

13 13 Research-based Interventions: What Counts as Research? What does it mean when we say a practice is research-based? Much can and should be learned through qualitative and mixed methods approaches that are better able to answer questions about complex phenomena and help us: –understand essential contextual variables that contribute to the effectiveness of an approach, or –increase our awareness of implementation challenges, or provide information about the circumstances under which and with whom a practice is most likely to be successful.

14 14 Research-based Interventions: What Counts as Research? We promote “a broader view of both what constitutes empirical research and what sorts of empirical evidence are relevant to complex issues that integrally involve culture, social interaction, institutions, and cognition” (Gee, 2001, p. 126). This is particularly important as we move to RTI models.

15 15 Research-based Interventions: What Counts as Research? For example, much can be learned by observing in schools and classrooms where culturally and linguistically diverse students excel as readers.

16 16 Research-based Interventions: What Counts as Research? Example: In their observations of exemplary first-grade classrooms, Pressley and colleagues found that: –Teachers ensured students were involved in tasks matched to their competency level. –Teachers accelerated demands as students’ competencies improved. –Teachers also encouraged students to regulate and monitor their own learning.

17 17 Example: In first grade classrooms that included English language learners….. THE MOST EFFECTIVE TEACHERS: had sophisticated knowledge of reading instruction as well as second language instruction. were able to draw on the prior knowledge of struggling readers and make connections with what they already knew. Graves, Gersten, and Haager (2004)

18 18 Example: In first grade classrooms that included English language learners….. emphasized explicit instruction in word identification, phonological awareness, and vocabulary instruction. provided structured opportunities to practice English. provided supportive learning environments in which students were highly engaged. Graves, Gersten, and Haager (2004)

19 19 Research-based Interventions: What Works With Whom, By Whom, and in What Contexts It is essential to find out what works with whom, by whom, and in what contexts. These issues of population validity and ecological validity are essential if research results are to be generalized - yet seem to be ignored.

20 20 With Whom? When deciding if a practice is appropriate for implementation as part of an RTI model, it should have been validated with students like those with whom it will be applied. “Experiments should include students who are the intended targets of the instruction being evaluated” (Pressley, 2003, p. 68). Although the National Reading Panel report “did not address issues relevant to second language learning” (2000, p. 3), the report’s conclusions are commonly cited as support for Reading First initiatives for all students.

21 21 With Whom? Research reports should include information about: –the language proficiency, ethnicity, life experiences (e.g., socio-economic, specific family background, immigration status) –Data should be disaggregated to show how interventions respectively might differentially affect students from diverse backgrounds.

22 22 With Whom? When research studies do not include culturally and linguistically diverse student populations, or disaggregate data based on important variables, what does this say regarding the researcher’s assumptions about what matters, who counts, and what works? –English language learners are often omitted from participant samples because of their limited English proficiency. –Yet language dominance and proficiency are important research variables and can affect treatment outcomes. –Leaving students out of studies limits the external validity and applicability of such studies, especially for teachers who have culturally and linguistically diverse students in their classes.

23 23 By Whom? essentialOn-going analyses of general education classrooms should be an essential component of RTI models. School personnel should first consider the possibility that students are not receiving adequate instruction before it is assumed they are not responding because they have deficits of some kind (Harry & Klingner, in press).

24 24 By Whom? In their investigation of the special education referral process in high need schools, Harry and Klingner (in press) found that the classroom context was rarely considered when making referral or eligibility decisions. Rather, school personnel seemed quick to attribute a child’s struggles to internal deficits or the home environment.

25 25 As the field considers how RTI models should be implemented… Not enough attention has focused on the central role of classroom teachers We must observe in classrooms and note the: –Quality of instruction –The relationship between a teacher and students –How students are supported –How the teacher promotes interest and motivation

26 26 In What Contexts? It is essential to examine school contexts when implementing RTI models. –A student's school failure is quite fluid, meaning that a student can be considered at-risk at one time and not at another, in one class but not in another, and in one school but not in another (Richardson & Colfer, 1990). –Are there culturally diverse children in some schools who respond favorably to an intervention and comparable culturally diverse children in another school who do not respond as well?

27 27 –Variations in program implementation and effectiveness across schools and classrooms are common (see the First Grade Studies for a classic example, Bond & Dykstra, 1967). What is occurring when this happens? Is it the program, the teachers’ implementation, or the school context? What is it about the system that facilitates or impedes learning? Schools are dependent on larger societal influences that should not be ignored. In What Contexts?

28 28 In What Contexts? To conclude that failure resides within students when they do not progress with a certain intervention, and then move them onto the second or third tier in an RTI model or decide they belong in special education without considering other factors is problematic.

29 29 Issues of Fidelity and Generalizability: When results do not transfer, the assumption by some is that those implementing the model did not use it correctly. Or the gap between research and practice is lamented. –When a teacher does not implement an instructional practice with fidelity, what does that really mean? To what extent is the teacher’s reluctance, resistance, or inability to implement a practice in a certain way due to differences between his/her students and the students for whom the practice was originally developed, or perhaps to variations in the school context? When teachers struggle with implementation, this is an indication we need to look more closely at what is occurring.

30 30 When considering the extent to which a practice was implemented with fidelity, it is important to examine the constraints under which those who implemented the model were operating. For example, the creators of Success for All offer the caveat that their program is effective only when fully implemented. Yet implementation challenges can be frequent. Differences exist between laboratory or controlled studies and the world of practice, especially in high-need urban schools.

31 31 Looking More Closely at “Non- Responders” When examining RTI research, we would like to understand more about the “non-responders”, and what happened in their classrooms. Did these students not respond because they may have disabilities, or for other reasons? What are the variables to consider?

32 32 Current policies emphasize finding what works. But, again, we ask, “What works with whom?” If Intervention A is found to be better than Intervention B (or no intervention), we must not assume that Intervention A is the best we can do for all students. What happens when we disaggregate the data by ethnicity, language proficiency, or SES? WHAT IF …..?WHAT IF …..? –60% of the sample (the majority of the middle-class white students) did better with Intervention A, because, after all, school instruction tends to be compatible with white, middle class culture? And what if 40% of the sample (many of the culturally and linguistically diverse students) did better with B? Are we truly doing all we can to improve outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse students who do not respond?

33 33 WHAT IF …..?WHAT IF …..?.. –It turns out that Intervention A focused on explicit instruction in phonological awareness and the alphabetic principle, and that Intervention B did precisely the same, but with the addition of components considered culturally responsive? –What would we then conclude? Is A really “what works” best for all students? Are we truly doing all we can to improve outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse students who do not respond?

34 34 This view does not mean that we should abandon evidence-based interventions and give up trying to figure out what works. But there is limited evidence they will work well with everyone, or lead to maximum growth for a particular subset of students. We suggest that additional research is needed in which mixed-methods approaches are used to investigate culturally responsive practices singularly and in combination with other approaches. Are we truly doing all we can to improve outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse students who do not respond?

35 35 Are we truly doing all we can to improve outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse students who do not respond? In the end, the best instructional practice is based on sound pedagogical principles implemented thoughtfully and sensitively by a knowledgeable and reflective teacher who adapts instruction to students’ needs and even may act in ways inconsistent with some research findings.

36 36 Revised Response to Intervention Model 4 th Tier 3 rd Tier 2 nd Tier 1 st Tier Culturally responsive instruction in general education classroom Intensive assistance, as part of general education support system Special Education Referral to a Child Study Team or Teacher Assistance Team

37 37 Tier 1 The foundation of the first tier should be culturally responsive, quality instruction with on-going progress monitoring within the general education classroom. We see this first tier as including two essential components: –(a) research-based interventions, and –(b) instruction by teachers who have developed culturally responsive attributes 1 st Tier

38 38 Tier 1 1.What is meant by culturally responsive policy & practices? –State level? –District level? –School level? –Classroom level? 2.What should the first tier look like for culturally and linguistically diverse students? –For English language learners? –For students living in high poverty areas? 3.Specifically, what can you do in your role to make sure Tier 1 includes culturally responsive practices? 1 st Tier 2. Group Work

39 39 Research-based Interventions in a Culturally Responsive RTI Model In their teacher education programs as well as through ongoing professional development, teachers should become familiar with instructional strategies linked to academic growth for their population of students as well as assessment procedures that can be used to monitor progress, particularly in language and literacy. Teachers need to know if their interventions are effective and how to adjust instruction for students who do not seem to be responding.

40 40

41 41 Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction What does it mean to provide culturally responsive literacy instruction? All practice is culturally responsive—but to which culture(s) is it responsive? Culture is involved in all learning. Culture is not a static set of characteristics located within individuals, but is fluid and complex.

42 42 Culturally responsive literacy instruction should: Include explicit instruction in phonological awareness, the alphabetic code, language and vocabulary development, and reading for meaning Emphasize cultural relevance and build on students’ prior knowledge, interests, motivation, and home language Include frequent opportunities to practice reading with a variety of rich materials in meaningful contexts; and take into account the socio-cultural contexts within which students learn.

43 43 But, it goes beyond these basic components. In conceptualizing culturally responsive literacy instruction, we draw upon Wiley’s (1996) framework for working with diverse students and families: –accommodation, –incorporation, and –adaptation. Conceptualizing culturally responsive literacy instruction

44 44 Accommodation requires teachers and others to have a better understanding of the communicative styles and literacy practices among their students and to account for these in their instruction. “Literacy learning begins in the home, not the school … instruction should build on the foundation for literacy learning established in the home” (Au, 1993, p. 35). Several qualitative studies have shown that, even in conditions of substantial poverty, homes can be rich in print and family members engage in literacy activities of many kinds on a daily basis.

45 45 Incorporation requires studying community practices that have not been valued previously and incorporating them into the curriculum. It means surrendering a privileged position and acknowledging that much can be learned from others. –“We must not assume that we can only teach the families how to do school, but that we can learn valuable lessons by coming to know the families, and by taking the time to establish the social relationships necessary to create personal links between households and classrooms” (Moll, 1999, p. xiii). –“Teachers and parents need to understand the way each defines, values, and uses literacy as part of cultural practices--such mutual understanding offers the potential for schooling to be adjusted to meet the needs of families” (Cairney, 1997, p. 70).

46 46 Adaptation involves the expectation that children and adults must acculturate or learn the norms of those who control the schools, institutions, and workplace (Wiley, 1996). Culturally and linguistically diverse parents, parents living in poverty, and immigrant parents want to give their children linguistic, social, and cultural capital to deal in the marketplace of schools, but are unsure how to go about doing this. “When schools fail to provide parents with factual, empowering information and strategies for supporting their child’s learning, parents are even more likely to feel ambivalence as educators [of their own children]” (Clark, 1988, p. 95).

47 47 Framework for moving closer to leveling the educational playing field We believe these three courses of action can be used as a backdrop for helping us think about culturally responsive literacy instruction. –It is not enough to implement isolated evidence-based interventions. Instructional methods do not work or fail as decontextualized generic practices, but only in relation to the socio- cultural contexts in which they are implemented. –These perspectives form the foundation for how we are thinking about culturally responsive RTI models.

48 48 The Culturally Responsive Literacy Teacher in the RTI Model: Developing the Affective Domain Culturally Responsive Literacy teachers value the presence and participation of their culturally linguistically diverse students and realize the need for these students to make connections between their own learning styles and the literacy goals and objectives that the literacy curriculum asks of them. These teachers are able to conduct self-assessments, provide a range of culturally sensitive instructional methods and materials, develop proactive culturally responsive classrooms, foster collaborative learning environments, develop and utilize culturally aware assessments, and collaborate with other professionals and families.

49 49 Culturally Responsive Literacy Teachers Conduct Self Assessments Many times teachers are afraid to confront their limited understanding of cultures other then their own and the possibility that this lack of understanding will negatively affect their students’ abilities to become successful readers. Therefore, teachers must critically assess their relationships with their students and their understanding of students’ cultures (Patton, 1998)

50 50 Culturally Responsive Instructional Methods and Materials Teachers need to use instructional methods and materials that are evidence based and that have been developed to work with their given school setting, the population, and their literacy needs. Examples of this are: –Explicit Reading Instruction –Interdisciplinary Literacy Units –Literacy Scaffolding

51 51 Proactive Culturally Responsive Classrooms The Culturally Responsive Literacy Teacher develops proactive Reading Environment by: –Establishing a Classroom Atmosphere that respects each student and their cultures by going beyond wall decorations (pseudo-literacy) by developing a cross cultural literacy atmosphere. Examples of this are: –Libraries that have a variety and wide range of culturally diverse literature.

52 52 Fostering Collaborative Learning Environments Cooperative learning: –Cooperative Learning groups brings together students with diverse backgrounds so that they may approach a variety of supportive and collaborative literacy activities. –Cooperative learning allows students to use their speaking, reading, and writing skills so that they may achieve literacy goals and objectives, which not only furthers their reading development but also their self esteem.

53 53 Culturally Aware Assessments The culturally responsive literacy teacher employs ongoing and systematic assessment of their students’ reading abilities. The research continues to show that ongoing assessment provides a strong basis for instructional decision-making and that it can offer the teacher insights into what to teach and how to teach.

54 54 Collaboration The culturally responsive literacy teacher: –collaborates and communicates with culturally diverse families: Families are the key to a strong literacy program and should be continuously informed of their student’s progress and encourage to participate in classroom activities (Moll et al., 2005). –collaborates and communicates with other professionals who may help to improve their students literacy needs.

55 55 Attributes of Culturally Responsive Teachers Researchers have conducted in depth qualitative studies on the dispositions and practices of teachers whose culturally and linguistically diverse students excel. Pre-service and in-service teachers should learn what it means to be culturally responsive and should participate in experiences designed to prepare them to teach in diverse settings These dispositions and practices should be incorporated into further research on culturally responsive teaching.

56 56 Attributes of Culturally Responsive Teachers What do we know about teacher expectations and perceptions of culturally and linguistically diverse students – or students with disabilities? Do teachers view diverse students from a deficit based perspective? How can we change that? How do teachers’ expectations influence students? Years of research demonstrate how teachers differentially interact with students based on lowered expectations of students’ abilities.

57 57 Tier 2 When culturally and linguistically diverse students have not made adequate progress when taught using appropriate, culturally responsive methods implemented with fidelity, a second tier of intervention is warranted. This tier is characterized as providing a level of intensive support that supplements the core curriculum and is based on student needs as identified by ongoing progress monitoring. For now, we do not know a great deal about what this intensive support should look like for culturally and linguistically diverse students, or the extent to which it should differ from the second tier of support provided to all students identified as at risk. 2 nd Tier

58 58 Tier 2 2 nd Tier 3. Group Work 1.What should Tier 2 look like for culturally and linguistically diverse students? 2.What is the role of: classroom teacher? special education teacher? ESL specialist? Parent? 3. Should Tier 2 interventions be individualized? Same for ALL learners at the Tier 2 level? 4. Who should be providing Tier 2 interventions? 5. What funds should be used to provide these services?

59 59 Tier 3 This phase starts with a referral to a Teacher Assistance Team or a Child Study Team. This step can overlap with the second tier (i.e., the provision of intensive support does not need to stop for a referral to begin). 3 rd Tier

60 60 Tier 3 3 rd Tier 4. Group Work 1.What aspects of the traditional referral process should be kept? What needs to be changed? 2.Who should be on the TAT team? Their roles? 3. What further assessments should be done at this level? 4. What is the role of the school psychologist?

61 61 Tier 3 The make-up of the team should be diverse and include multiple members with expertise in culturally responsive pedagogy. There should be a team member who can offer guidance with culturally sensitive on-going assessment. A bilingual or English as a second language (ESL) specialist should also be involved when the student is an English language learner. 3 rd Tier

62 62 Tier 3 Teams should have a wide range of meaningful intervention strategies available to them. Using a problem-solving approach, they should determine how to alter the support a student has been receiving and develop specific instructional objectives based on student performance data. An important role for the team should be observing the student in her classroom as well as in other settings. 3 rd Tier

63 63 What should the RTI process look like for culturally and linguistically diverse students? Adapted from Garcia and Ortiz, 1988

64 64 Adapted from Garcia and Ortiz, 1988

65 65 Adapted from Garcia and Ortiz, 1988

66 66 Adapted from Garcia and Ortiz, 1988

67 67 Adapted from Garcia and Ortiz, 1988

68 68 Tier 4 In the model we propose, this tier would be special education. The hallmark of instruction at this level is that it is tailored to the individual needs of the student, and is even more intensive than at previous tiers. Unlike the second or third tiers, this assistance is not limited to a set number of weeks. 4 th Tier

69 69 RTI models represent a new beginning We are encouraged by the potential of RTI models to improve educational opportunities for culturally and linguistically diverse students and to reduce their disproportionate representation in special education. RTI models represent a new beginning and a novel way of conceptualizing how we support student learning.

70 70 Need for Ongoing Dialogue about Critical Issues …… At the same time, we are concerned that if we do not engage in dialogue about critical issues, RTI models will simply be like old wine in a new bottle, in other words, just another deficit-based approach to sorting children. It is our responsibility to make sure this does NOT happen.

71 71 CONCLUSION We believe that ultimately the most effective interventions for culturally and linguistically diverse students will come from bringing together diverse perspectives, and from careful examination of notions about disability and cultural diversity within their full socio- cultural and historical contexts.

72 72 Closing thoughts… What would an effective RTI model for culturally and linguistically diverse students look like? How will we know when we have succeeded?

73 73 RESOURCES –National Association for Bilingual Education & Local Implementation by Local Administrators (ILIAD) Project, 2002 –National Alliance of Black School Educators & ILIAD Project, –National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt),

74 74 For more information… Janette Klingner University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education 249 UCB Boulder, CO Phone: Margarita Bianco Colorado State University School of Education, 103 Fort Collins, CO

75 75 Thank you


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