It’s that time of year when many of us are reflecting on the old year and setting goals for how we will change and improve our lives in in this new year. We reflect on the past, look to the future and ask questions like these:
- Where do I want to end up a year from now?
- What is realistic for me right now?
- What resources are available to help me make this change?
- What help can I get from people around me?
- What do I need to to stop doing to be successful in this change?
- What do I need to start doing to be successful in this change?
This process parallels the IEP process for many of our students. Look back through those questions through the lens of a child’s learning. You will see many of the same questions we need to answer as we set academic, behavioral, and social goals for children.
Whether you are looking at goals for yourself or for a student, understand that setting and achieving goals is rarely as simple as choosing the goal. You have to map the path, take an inventory of resources, and figure out the things that have blocked progress in the past. You need to put accountability measures into place. Most importantly, you need to look at the life you are living and determine what works in your situation. This is the difference between writing IEP goals in other settings and writing IEP goals in Academic and Social Immersion Models.
Academic and Social Immersion looks at not only what the child cannot do, but what they need to do in the school and community settings they move through. In immersion, we consider academic content, but we also look at behaviors that increase participation in a general education setting or at social skills needed to work with a group of students. These skills not only improve academic outcomes, but lead to increased membership and acceptance in the classroom and in the wider world.
This year, consider how you can more fully immerse your students with disabilities in your classroom environment. Resolve to set goals for them beyond a skill on a worksheet, but that lead to the student being more immersed in the life of your class or school.