Teacher training is practical and ongoing.

All of the programs described rely almost exclusively on certified teachers to deliver the intervention procedures so that the training that is provided builds upon an existing foundation of professional preparation. The institutional procedures that are part of the early intervention programs are usually introduced in relatively brief (a day or several days) sessions. The key to the success of these programs is that the teachers have access to and opportunities to consult with teachers or teacher trainers who are very skilled in the use of these procedures over a period of at least the first year of program implementation. In some early intervention programs, teachers who have just begun using early intervention procedures meet weekly with teacher trainers. Part of the meeting is often devoted to observing one of the novice teachers as she or he works with a student. An important element in the ongoing training is that it is occurring as teachers are working with their students so that the issues addressed arise from their actual teaching. A recent report (Pinnell, et al., 1994) suggests that this type of ongoing, practical professional development results in greater student progress as compared with training sessions that are concentrated into a more compact time frame.

There is some evidence (Slavin, Madden, Dolan, Wasik, Ross, & Smith, 1994; Hiebert, Colt, Catto, & Gury, 1992) that instructional assistants (teacher aides who have instructional responsibilities) can effectively teach in early intervention programs if they receive the appropriate professional development experiences, which must include the opportunity to work with highly experienced, trained professionals with a background in reading instruction in early intervention procedures.


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