The practice of Response to Intervention seeks to insure that instruction of impeccable quality and necessary intervention are used to identify and respond to the needs of students. This includes the process of monitoring progress on a continual basis to affect decisions that might be made concerning any changes within the set goals or manner of instruction that the student receives and gathering data gleaned from student responses to calculate any important educational decisions. While it is criticized as being placed solely on the shoulders of the student, RTI is instead focused on the examination of the student’s reaction to the necessary instruction and possible intervention.
RTI seeks to broaden the idea of introspection from the student’s point of view by making clear the observed behavior and learning patterns through the consideration of many other variables that can affect a student’s educational experience. The most effective manner of implementing RIT requires a strong sense of leadership, collaborative planning and cooperation from professionals that can be found throughout the education network. As a framework RTI is most applicable to decisions that deal with general, remedial, and special education. (Elliot, 2008)
Designed to prevent educational failure by students who are considered “at-risk”, RTI is a tool that was set into place not long after IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act) was implemented in 2004 by President Bush.(Fuchs, Fuchs, 2011) It is a means by which schools can seek to aid their more vulnerable students against the risk of impending failure due to one identified behavior or another, and thus act accordingly when it comes to determining who needs the most help and how it might be best administered through a series of goals and tasks that will allow the affected student(s) to further their educational opportunities.
Within my school LD is not amongst the most prevalent of issues, though it is still very much a presence within the halls. Unfortunately the diagnosis is not always as clear as one might think, since those who know they have learning disabilities are not always so quick to step forth and, more often than not, will find ways around their own shortcomings. This only insures that the testing and benchmarks set forth to identify such individuals are therefore far more vague and less meaningful when it comes to diagnosing those who are truly at-risk and those who are simply not trying for lack of motivation.
Thankfully those who are not properly motivated but do not suffer from a learning disability are creatures of habit and oftentimes show promise in other fields, and are thus given motivation in other manners that allow them to flourish rather than languish as they might prefer when pressed into performing activities that do not interest them. Those with true learning disabilities however, in this institution, have been shown primarily as those who show a far greater exuberance towards learning but only in a closed, “safe” setting. In this manner the school has managed to set aside two separate classrooms in which students who genuinely struggle can learn in a safe and controlled manner in an attempt to reach their goals.
Students taught in such a manner and within the specified rooms are allowed to interact with their fellow students as normal, but during class periods are allowed to return to their designated rooms where they can better focus upon their studies without the risk of falling into the behavioral patterns that otherwise would keep them from realizing their full potential. While this is not a failsafe option it has thus far proven to be a very strong and proven method towards insuring that those students considered learning-disabled and at-risk are allowed to experience success in a manner that would not be possible otherwise.
A very beneficial strength of RTI is that it does allow for the individual to be catered to, as the different needs of each child that is identified with a learning disability will be addressed in a lesson plan that makes sense for that child.(Hale, 2008) This allows for real learning to take place before the old model of “wait and fail” could take effect, thereby preventing the feeling of failure and insuring that the student gets the attention they need in order to succeed. In this manner RTI is a major step up from the old methods in which those children deemed special needs or special education were often shunted into separate classrooms and given only the most basic of information to work on, insuring that they would learn next to nothing until it was deemed necessary.
A very distinct and unfortunate disadvantage in this and any other school that is required to implement RTI is that their staff has typically not been in-serviced for the role.(Resnick, 2015) While it is highly advantageous to implement RTI and even cost-effective for most school systems, it is then the responsibility of those same systems to insure that their staff, or those who will take part in the RTI program, will become versed in how to administer the program to students and how to monitor their progress throughout. This is not to mention that they must also be able to differentiate between those students who have true learning disabilities and those students who, as mentioned above, simply lack the proper motivation.
RTI is a highly effective tool it is subject to a very delicate balance in school systems as it relies heavily upon cooperation not only from students, parents, and staff, but the efforts of the entire school system as well. Likely it will prove to be a boon to the educational needs of many children, but only if it is closely monitored and used as it is needed, not as an excuse.
Elliot, Judy. (2008) Response to Intervention: What and Why? The School Administrator, 65(8)
Fuchs, Douglas, Fuchs, Lynn S. (2011) Introduction to response to intervention: What, why, and
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Hale, James B. Ph.D. Response to Intervention: Guidelines for Parents and Practitioners.
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Resnick, Barbara, MS. What is Response to Intervention (RTI)? Rush Neurobehavioral
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