Academic journal article Learning Disability Quarterly

Learning to Effectively Implement Constant Time Delay Procedures to Teach Spelling

Academic journal article Learning Disability Quarterly

Learning to Effectively Implement Constant Time Delay Procedures to Teach Spelling

Article excerpt

Abstract. This study examined the effectiveness of a training procedure designed to teach a special education resource teacher the constant time delay procedures. In addition, the study examined the effectiveness of constant time delay procedures in teaching written spelling words to one 12-year-old male student with a learning disability. A multiple-probe design across behaviors was used to demonstrate the functional relationship between the time delay procedure and the student acquiring, maintaining, and generalizing 15 spelling words. The investigation specifically sought to address teacher-training issues related to instructional procedures, student acquisition, maintenance, and generalization. The teacher successfully implemented the procedure with 100% treatment integrity and the student learned to spell all 15 spelling words.

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In today's public schools, extreme diversity exists among students' academic achievement, behavioral characteristics, learning styles, and cultural experiences. These differences often complicate the delivery of effective instruction, especially for educators working with students with learning disabilities (LD). Since students with LD share many appearances and behaviors with their peers who do not have LD, they are often taught with the same traditional teaching methods, such as round-robin reading, basal reading exercises, and weekly spelling quizzes. However, these activities do not provide the structure and explicit instruction that students with LD need (Stevens & Schuster, 1987). Unfortunately, when teachers realize that traditional approaches are not effective, they are often unaware of alternatives, sometimes leading to inappropriate use of trial-and-error techniques at the students' expense (Carnine, Silbert, & Kameenui, 1997). A more systematic, data-based approach to the selection of instructional methods must be implemented to meet the needs of students with LD (Stevens & Schuster, 1987).

When selecting instructional strategies, teachers should look for an instructional match to student behavior (Slavin, 1987), a rapid pace of delivering instruction (Carnine et al., 1997; Darch & Gersten, 1985), and advanced cuing and prompting (Englert, 1984). Additionally, teachers should provide instruction that ensures active engagement in the learning activity, high levels of success for all students, a systematic approach to introducing new concepts and operations, adequate review on a regular basis to promote mastery, and immediate feedback for correct and incorrect responses (Brophy & Good, 1986; Snell, 1993). These basic principles are vital for students with and without LD. Several effective teaching strategies and practices have been developed that incorporate the principles of effective instruction, such as the response-prompting strategies of least prompts and progressive and constant time delay (Doyle, Wolery, Ault, & Gast, 1988).

Both progressive time delay (PTD) and constant time delay (CTD) are considered near-errorless learning methods by transferring stimulus control from a controlling prompt to a target stimulus. In these procedures, prompts are systematically faded by inserting time between the presentation of the target stimulus and the controlling prompt (Stevens & Schuster, 1987). The difference between PTD and CTD is in the time inserted between the presentation of the target stimulus and the controlling prompt. That is, both PTD and CTD begin with a 0-second delay between the presentation of the target stimulus and the controlling prompt. After students reliably respond correctly with a O-second delay, based on a predetermined number of correct trials, a set amount of time is inserted between the presentation of the target stimulus and the controlling prompt. With PTD the delay increases gradually. As students become successful with each delay, the delay gets longer. …

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