The Role of Small Group Instruction in Facilitating Observational and Incidental Learning The present investigation examined the effectiveness of teaching sight-word reading in a small-group instructional arrangement to two groups of elementary-aged students with mild mental retardation. A multiple probe design across word sets was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the progressive time delay procedure and students’ acquisition of other students’ ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 1991
The Role of Small Group Instruction in Facilitating Observational and Incidental Learning
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Betty Sue Shelton
    Clinton County Public Schools, KY
  • David L. Gast
    University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
  • Mark Wolery
    University of Kentucky, Lexington
  • Vincent Winterling
    University of Kentucky, Lexington
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to David L. Gast, Department of Special Education, 570 Aderhold Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 1991
The Role of Small Group Instruction in Facilitating Observational and Incidental Learning
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 1991, Vol. 22, 123-133. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2203.123
History: Received October 5, 1989 , Accepted May 25, 1990
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 1991, Vol. 22, 123-133. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2203.123
History: Received October 5, 1989; Accepted May 25, 1990

The present investigation examined the effectiveness of teaching sight-word reading in a small-group instructional arrangement to two groups of elementary-aged students with mild mental retardation. A multiple probe design across word sets was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the progressive time delay procedure and students’ acquisition of other students’ words (observational learning). In addition, students were assessed on their spelling of all sight words as well as their acquisition of word definitions although neither was taught directly (incidental learning). Results showed that (a) the delay procedure was effective in teaching all students their target words in near-errorless fashion, (b) all students learned other student’s words through observation, and (c) all students learned some incidental information by providing practice in spelling and by placing word definitions in feedback statements. Issues pertinent to small group instruction are discussed.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This study was based on a thesis completed by the first author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an M.S. degree in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kentucky. Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by Field Initiated Research Program, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, Grant Number G008730215, David L. Gast, Principal Investigator. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and no official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education should be inferred.
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