Date of Award
M.S. in Education
Imagine that every day teachers, parents, and friends tell you to “try harder” and ask if you “get it?” You overhear teachers say that you do not “apply yourself”, and if you would only do your homework, you would learn everything much faster. Your parents bribe you with incentives, favorite activities, and even money if you would only bring home better grades. Your friends wonder if you are “dumb” and why you are not in any of their classes except for physical education and music. You have (or may have already for years) begun to think that there is something wrong with you and that maybe you should just give up...if you have not “gotten it” yet, will you ever? “Why can’t I be in the regular classes,” you ask, “that have 25 students in them instead of my classes that have only the same six or seven kids?” Then one day your teacher tells you that you are going into a regular classroom for one period a day; she says it is called “inclusion”. You are going to be included! You are so excited; you are going to be with the regular kids, with your friends from your neighborhood, learning all the same things they learn (not the same things over, and over, and over) and you will not be stuck with the same kids all day long. Now imagine you are a learning disabled or developmental handicapped student sitting in a regular education classroom. It seems as if the teacher is speaking a million miles a minute; everyone around you is flipping pages madly and writing furiously. The teacher calls on you to answer a question, and after only a split-second, asks you yet another question. You can hardly catch your breath; you made it to the correct class, but nothing else has gone right. You can not follow the lecture. You do not know what everyone seems to be writing about. You barely understand what information the teacher is asking for when she asks the first question before she asks the next. On top of all that, you do not have your assignment written down; you forgot your book in your locker; your folder is a complete wreck; you have no pen or pencil; and your homework (what part you did complete) seems to have been misplaced somewhere between your front door and second period. This is perhaps the third or fourth month of your inclusion! Unfortunately, these problems are all too common and occur on a regular basis with learning disabled and developmentally handicapped students. The law requires that special education students be placed in the least restrictive environment (LRE) with support services, yet when resource room students are placed in the regular classroom they often experience failure. This failure by resource room students has been thought to be caused by a lack of of study skills instruction, as well as reading and writing difficulties experienced by the students. Numerous studies have identified several specific problems with current study skills instruction practices along with the problems students are having in the classroom, either regular or resource. Harries (1986, p. 447) explains that, “despite differing identification criteria for resource room students, one factor remains common to all: lack of success in the regular classroom”. Schumaker, Deshler, Alley, and Warner (1983) agree, saying, deficits in basic skills such as reading and writing may further inhibit LD students from being able to apply the same note-taking and studying skills as their nondisabled peers. It is not surprising, then, that teachers have identified failure to learn and remember content area information as one of the most important threats to mainstreaming in the secondary and middle schools, (p. 45) Included in the study skills instruction need to be strategies which will improve reading comprehension and note taking abilities. In order for students to successfully transfer from the resource setting to the regular classroom, it seems that serious attention needs to be paid to the instruction, generalization, and use of study skills. Research has shown that textbooks used in the content areas are often difficult to read (Torgesen, 1985). In addition to this reading problem, teacher directed (lecturing) instruction is the preferred method of teaching which leads to problems due to writing deficits. Konopak, Williams, and Jampole (1991, p. 309) found that “in the content areas, students are expected to learn factual and conceptual information about content subjects, as well as the process for continued study.” Rentz (1985, p. 1) continues this thought, saying, “unfortunately, the average student would have a chance of picking up the necessary skills through incidental methods; the special education student is normally behind in development and would need specific instruction in study skills.” Mastropieri and Scruggs (1989, p. 124) continue, explaining that “if learning disabled students are to successfully acquire content information, it is important that they use effective learning strategies to compensate for deficits in memory, reading, and study skills”. Instruction in study skills should emphasize improvement in these areas. It is the responsibility of the teacher to insure this instruction takes place prior to sending the resource room student into the regular classroom. Hoover (1989a) stresses this point, stating as educators it is important for us to ensure that students who have learning and behavior problems possess sufficient tools or skills necessary to acquire as well as demonstrate information. One issue to consider is the extent to which students possess sufficient study skills abilities. These abilities, coupled with an effective and ongoing study skills program in the classroom, will allow students the best opportunity to succeed in potentially difficult learning situations, (p. 471) Johnson, Schneider, and German (1983, p. 263) also wrote that there exists a “need to stress to teachers the importance of study skills and to address the use of methods and materials that can initiate independent learning”. In developing study skills abilities, research has shown that, literally, the earlier the better. After completing several studies, Hoover (1989a) found that the foundation for developing and maintaining study skills usage must begin before students enter junior and senior high school. Effective use of study skills in later grades is linked directly to the progress students make in the development of study skills during elementary school. As a result, program implementation should begin in the early elementary cjrades and continue throughout students’ schooling, (p. 472) Studies by other researchers have resulted in the same conclusion. The author was in total agreement with these results from the review of research literature and consequently began study skills instruction as the treatment for this experiment.
Resource programs (Education), Reading (Elementary) Ohio, Study skills Ohio, Reading comprehension Ohio, Middle school students Education Ohio
Copyright © 1998, author
Gottes, Govinda dasi Harmon, "An analysis of the effects of study skills instruction on reading comprehension of middle school resource room students" (1998). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 2960.