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Michael F. Giangreco
"Convey[s] a hopeful perspective and genuine excitement about our opportunities to improve the quality of life for students with disabilities."
Peer supports really work: they're a great, efficient way to help all students learn, make the most of teacher/ paraprofessional time, and increase the achievement level of challenging students. This is the concise, practical guide every middle and high school needs to implement peer support strategies—including cooperative learning and peer tutoring—to benefit students with moderate to severe disabilities and their peers.
With this reader-friendly, step-by-step planning guide from the foremost authorities on peer supports, educators, paraprofessionals, and other school staff will
A complete, start-to-finish guide to peer supports, this book is packed with photocopiable planning, implementation, and evaluation tools; evidence-based strategies; and vignettes that illustrate successful peer supports.
With this must-have book on one of the hottest topics in inclusive education, educators and paraprofessionals will create schools where all students—with and without disabilities—help each other reach their academic goals, make new friends, and live full and meaningful lives.
Excerpted from Peer Support Strategies for Improving All Students' Social Lives and Learning
By Erik W. Carter, Ph.D., Lisa S. Cushing, Ph.D., & Craig H. Kennedy, Ph.D.
©2009. Brookes Publishing. All rights reserved.
WHAT ARE PEER SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS?
Peer support arrangements are a promising approach for promoting access to rigorous, relevantlearning experiences; expanding opportunities for students to establish new relationships withtheir peers; and helping educators and paraprofessionals to support inclusive education moreeffectively. Put simply, these intervention strategies involve arranging for one or more peerswithout disabilities to provide ongoing social and academic support to their classmates withsevere disabilities while receiving guidance and support from paraprofessionals, special educators,and/or general educators (Carter, Cushing, & Kennedy, 2008; Carter & Kennedy, 2006;Cushing & Kennedy, 1997). Recognizing that peers are an underutilized—but widely availabl&emdash;source of natural support in every school, peer support arrangements draw upon the involvementof other classmates to assist in helping students with disabilities participate more fully inthe social and learning opportunities existing in inclusive classrooms, extracurricular clubs, andother school activities.
Peer-mediated approaches—in which students assume instructional or other support roleswith their classmates—have been a staple intervention strategy in classrooms for as long as therehave been schools (Harper & Maheady, 2007). Indeed, countless variations on these approachesexist—ranging from informal, casual pairingsof students to more structured, intentionalsystems (Gillies, 2007). As these strategieshave been tested in the classroom andrefined through research, a powerful andeffective set of techniques have emerged foruse with students with disabilities (e.g.,Goldstein, Schneider, & Thiemann, 2007;Heron, Villareal, Ma, Christianson, & Heron,2006; Maheady, Harper, & Mallette, 2001).Although peer support arrangements sharethe strong theoretical and empirical supportof other peer-mediated strategies, they also differ in important ways. First, in peer supportarrangements, somewhat greater emphasis typically is placed on exchanging social support,encouraging peer interactions, and promoting social connections. Social goals are often prominentin the IEPs of students with severe disabilities, and general education participation frequentlyis advocated for as an avenue for meeting these goals. Second, unlike other peer-mediatedinterventions in which all participating students assume very structured or static roles (e.g., Classwide Peer Tutoring [Greenwood, Arreaga-Mayer, Utley, Gavin, & Terry, 2001], Peer AssistedLearning Strategies [McMaster, Fuchs, & Fuchs, 2006]), educators are encouraged to individuallytailor peer support interventions so that theyreflect the unique support needs, strengths,and characteristics of participating studentswith disabilities and their peers. Third, peersupport arrangements usually are not implementedas classwide interventions and thusinvolve a smaller number of peers. Fourth,most peer-mediated interventions weredeveloped primarily for students with highincidencedisabilities such as learning disabilitiesor emotional or behavior disorders(Gardner, Nobel, Hessler, Yawn, & Heron,2007). Recognizing that the academic and social support needs of students with severe disabilitiesmay be more intensive, peer support arrangements typically offer a more sustained andfocused source of support. Finally, peer support interventions are designed to be implemented ininclusive contexts. Self-contained classrooms or segregated school activities simply do not offerthe same depth of natural support available in inclusive environments.
Because peer support interventi
About the Authors
Appendix: Photocopiable Forms