Everyone is talking about "research-based, scientifically-based, or evidence- based" practices. What do these terms mean and how would these practices help me when teaching students who have disabilities?

In recent years, we have seen a greater focus on the need for teachers and teacher educators to provide evidence for why they propose and/or choose to use particular methods or approaches when teaching. This expectation exists in all areas of education and is not unique to special education. What is critical is that you know why you do what you do when you teach.

Factual Information

You should be asking yourself questions such as:

  • Are the approaches that I use when teaching math (or any other subject area) supported by research?
  • Have the strategies that I was taught for teaching language arts been shown to work? Have teachers and schools used them and found they lead to successful achievement for students?

Your role is to ask key questions about instructional methods and develop a knowledge base about why you teach the way you do in your classroom. Such knowledge will make you a more confident, and successful, teacher. The following sites provide additional information about the terms research-based, scientifically-based, and evidence- based, and include definitions, history, and examples of practices that have been shown to meet certain criteria related to each.

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