At the time of this filming, I had taught Alison as both her TVI and her O&M instructor for three years. I had a clear sense of how she learned.
My Cues and Prompts in this Lesson Segment
In viewing and reviewing the videotape, I identified the prompts and cues I included. My physical prompts were: hand-under-hand, hand-under-wrist, hand-over-hand and hand-under-arm. Verbal prompts were instructions to turn each page, tapping into Alison’s prior knowledge (“You know ‘p,’ that’s one of your letters,”) and asking Alison to continue a behavior (“Write some more.”)
Ways I Stepped Back in this Lesson Segment
I identified seven ways in which I encouraged Alison to work independently. (1) I included wait times of a few seconds before repeating prompts, and (2) I used physical guidance so slight that Alison could (and did) easily withdraw her hand. (In fact, there were 4 or 5 aborted videotaped segments in this same session where Alison unequivocally refused to read or write.) (3) I started with verbal cues, adding physical cues only as they seemed necessary for Alison to maintain momentum. My physical cues were proximal (closer to the center of her body) rather than distal (closer to her fingertips) where possible. (4) I specifically and enthusiastically praised Alison when she showed initiative in pressing brailler keys. “You’re writing some more letters while you’re at it.” (5) I asked Alison to continue the desired behavior of pressing keys after she already started this. “Write some more letters. (6) I used shaping/accepting approximations (such as accepting Alison’s turning 2 pages at a time instead of one, and allowing her to read and sometimes write with just one hand.) (7) I allowed short breaks after a non-preferred activity, then returning to it.
I’m happy that I was able to provide meaning by teaching at Alison’s home with her mother present, and by using text that Alison had been enjoying both at home and school. Self-reflecting through videos keeps us honest, though. I stepped back in a range of ways, but I wonder if I could have stepped back even more in this instance. I wonder, if I had provided fewer or less restrictive prompts/cues, what other strategies I could have used to establish and maintain Alison’s focus.
Yes …… but. I had four rationals for my prompting/cueing. (1) Alison’s mother did so much to help her to love reading, including making her a costume for the story book character “Madeline” at Halloween. But she had become discouraged about Alison’s writing at home, and I was eager to show her how she is writing with me at school. But was I too eager, resulting in my hurrying Alison? (2) My physical guidance was so slight that Alison could … and did …. withdraw her hands at any time. But was she ready for less guidance? (3) I had long since found that maintaining pacing/momentum in lessons was key for this student, but did I allow too little wait time? (4) Sometimes Alison’s curiosity seemed to overcome her protests if I could just get her initial involvement. But was there another way to accomplish this?
We have such a wealth of knowledge and experience in our Paths community. I feel vulnerable in posting this reflection, but your comments and suggestions around it would be very helpful to me, and I hopefully to each other. Have you used videotaped lessons in your own reflective teaching? What did you notice in this posted video with Alison? What’s your take on this? What might I have done next in terms of establishing and maintaining Alison’s time on task? How else might I have engaged her? Thanks much.