Lately there has been one thing on my mind: Response to Intervention or RTI. Response to Intervention is a tiered system of support that can be implemented in schools and focuses on prevention. I have had the privilege of learning about what RTI is and have decided that it is the best system for intervention in schools because it is focused on prevention. It goes beyond the “one size fits all” approach and takes each students needs into consideration.
RTI has three main tiers that become more intense as more instruction is needed. The first tier is Tier 1 and this is where all students begin and universal screening of all students takes place to see which children are falling behind the other students. The students who are falling behind after this screening are then given differentiated instruction by the teacher which involves modifying assignments or teaching in such a way that the particular student or students needing help can better understand and process the information. This is helpful for the student because they can receive instruction that is specific to them while also being on track with the required curriculum.
After this level, students who need extra help can be recommended for Tier 2 which involves working in a small group with an instructor. In this tier, some students will be able to succeed and move back to Tier 1 while other students may be improving in Tier 2 but not enough yet to move back down so these students will remain in Tier 2. Finally, some students in Tier 2 (usually one or two) may not respond at all to this level of intervention and so they are then recommended for tier three. In Tier 3 students receive one-on-one individualized instruction. If the student is succeeding while in Tier 3 then they can either move down to Tier 1 or 2 or they can stay in Tier 3 for longer if needed. If the student is still not responding in Tier 3 then the student may be recommended for special education.
Throughout this whole process, progress monitoring takes place where teachers monitor students and can look at the data for that particular student to determine what to try next for a particular student. I look at this aspect of RTI like the movie Moneyball. This movie tells the story of the general manager of a Major League Baseball team who began recruiting baseball players based on a mathematical analysis of their skills and how they would fit into the team. RTI is like this because a teacher can look at a mathematical analysis of a student and determine what areas of their learning are falling behind and how best to help them specifically. Now I just gave you RTI in a nutshell but if you want to learn more I would suggest visiting one of these websites. They are worth looking at!
It is important to know about RTI and systems similar to it because as a teacher, you need to be educated in not only the program in place at your school but also about other possible programs that may be better for the school and students. In my opinion, RTI is the way to go because it focuses on prevention of students falling behind. In my class we were told that in many school systems the teacher is responsible for choosing an intervention program for their classroom. If I was ever faced with this decision I would no doubt want to implement RTI because it gives every child the opportunity to learn to the best of their ability. It provides an equitable learning experience for all children where each student is not just given an education but they are given an education that fits them and their needs.