Observational learning of academic and social behaviors during small group direct instruction
Ledford, Jennifer Renaee
More than 30 previously published studies have shown that small group direct instruction is effective and efficient for teaching participants with and without disabilities, although relatively few studies have been conducted with groups of preschool participants with and without disabilities. In addition, previous studies have primarily assessed whether observational learning occurred for academic behaviors directly taught to group mates. In this study, we assessed target and observational learning of both academic behaviors and of sharing; we also measured affiliation using direct counts of proximity and interactions during free play and using self-report with a modified paired-choice peer preference assessment. Results show that children with and without disabilities learned all target behaviors and at least some of their peer's target academic behaviors; that children without disabilities learned to share by observing their typically-developing peers do so; that most participants generalized sharing to contexts similar to classroom activities; and that self-reports and direct counts of behaviors suggest that affiliation among group mates improved from pre-instruction to post-instruction.