Thanks to the internet, cell phones, tablets, and apps, we have access to everything we need to keep us off-task (don’t worry, reading this blog is very much on-task behavior). Also, with thanks to the internet, cell phones, tablets, and apps, teachers have access to evidence-based practices (EBPs – the good stuff) in their classrooms and on-the-go. EBPs are instructional techniques that meet a prescribed criteria related to research design and have the greatest potential to improve meaningful outcomes for students classified as having disabilities (Cook & Cook, 2013; e.g. Cook, Smith, & Tankersly, 2011; Odom et al., 2005; Slavin, 2002). We might expect that with greater access to information about EBPs and their implementation that the classroom practice of EBPs would rise. However, as Test, Kemp-Inman, Diegelmann, Hitt, and Bethune (2015; Boardman, Arguelles, Vaughn, Hughes, and Klinger, 2005; Burns and Ysseldyke, 2009; Jones, 2009; Greenway, McCollow, Hudson, Peck, and Davis, 2013) acknowledged, the use of EBPs by special educators has not increased and student outcomes have not improved.
If you’re familiar with the Golden Circle (Sinek, 2009 [if not, watch: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action]) you know how important it is to start with the why. My why is to improve academic, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes for students who are struggling the most. In my Golden Circle, EBPs are the what – they’re what we (educators) do. How we do them refers to implementation of EBPs and the frameworks and schoolwide systems that support fidelity of implementation. This blog will focus on the how and what – implementation and EBPs. I’m interested in bridging the gap between what we know to be EBPs and what we apply in the classroom to improve outcomes for our students. We know that some content on the internet is more trustworthy than other. Let’s also use a critical lens when we investigate EBPs from the internet (and elsewhere). EBPs are not panaceas. We need to know the research criteria of the online source that deemed the EBPs as such, who the EBPs are meant to help, and how the EBPs are implemented