Generalisation & Adaptation

Experience: The Best Teacher

If fluency is the ability to do something quickly, generalisation and adaptation (G&A) is doing it quickly in multiple environments or contexts. We generalise and adapt our skills on a regular basis:

  • We adapt our conversation to meet the needs of our audience - children, parents, and other professionals.

  • We adapt our behaviour in different contexts – classroom, home, down at the local.

  • We adapt our driving skills based on our location - the Surrey Hills, London, and Italy – though nothing can truly prepare one for driving in Italy.

Experience: The best teacher

When I first learnt how to deliver an intervention it was clunky (by "it" I mean "I") Like a car with a bad clutch (start – stop – stall – stop – start – stop – stall), I constantly second guessed myself and checked the manuals to ensure I was doing it correctly. It was only with experience that I developed clarity, pace, and my ability to adapt the intervention work to different context. In other words, this took years of experience (and this I am still developing in this!).

What about school learning?

The ultimate goal of G&A learning is to provide students with multiple environments to practice their performance under difference task demands (i.e. slightly different conditions so they understand the different ways problems present themselves) (Burns, Riley-Tillman VanDerHeyden, 2012).

Here’s what G&A might look like for some of your students:

Is it possible to teach G&A in school?

The short answer: Yes... but there are no shortcuts. Students with learning difficulties will likely have G&A difficulties, and this one of the most common challenges I encounter in schools. I regularly hear some version of the following:

“They get it right when working with me but they always get it wrong in class.”

For G&A to have a chance at being successful it:

  1. Should be part of the intervention

  2. Requires SLOOM teaching (CLICK HERE)

  3. Will require patience

  4. Often takes time (years!)

There are no shortcuts, no golden tickets and no magic pills for teaching for G&A. Students who have difficulties with Acquisition and Fluency will typically struggle with it. However, if you have been in education long enough you will have seen many successes with these students, and these keep us going. They are the reason we do what we do and the reason we keep doing it, despite all the challenges.

Keep going,

don't give up

have fun!

I am looking for more topics to write about, so let me know if there is anything you would like to see. Also, if you are interested in writing an article for We Get To Teach, please let me know!