While it’s important to consider what effective intervention is, I think it’s just as important to consider what it is not. Below are some thoughts...
Effective intervention is NOT immeasurable.
Intervention with no data cannot be effective. In order to know if what we are doing is working, it’s important to check in often, collect data, and make decisions based on that data. Data should be used as a tool to diagnose where students are and what they will need going forward.
Simply creating an intervention time and providing assignments for students to work on during that time will not move the needle. Instead, we must collaborate to look at what students are doing, where they are in their journey, and what tools we need to add to their backpack to help them progress.
Measuring the impact that intervention has on our learners helps us continue to make progress. When there is no progress, there will be frustration. Intentional intervention with meaningful data can make a huge difference in learner’s experience and willingness to invest.
Effective intervention is NOT irrelevant.
Just like anything else that we do in the classroom, the methods that we put in place must be meaningful. This means that we have to know our learners well.
If a stranger was following you around the grocery store putting things into your basket, you would be putting those things right back on the shelf. If what we are doing isn’t relevant and our learners don’t value the content, it can feel like we are putting things in their baskets only for them to put them right back on the shelf. However, if that same stranger was putting things in my basket while reminding me why I needed that specific item, I would probably be grateful and appreciate them differently. The same is true for our learners. If we can make the concept or standard relevant and help them make a personal connection, they will be much more likely to keep it in their basket.
Effective intervention is NOT insulting.
Learners shouldn’t feel like intervention is a negative experience. Instead, they should understand that very few learners understand everything and it is likely that, at some point, everyone will require some form of intervention. It might sound silly, but I think it’s important to be creative and innovative with how we refer to intervention time during the school day.
Many schools refer to this time as WIN (What I Need) Time. I like this because it speaks to the reality that learners may need different things on different days. Some days, they might need extra support, other days they might need enrichment. However, if we are going to call that time What I Need, it’s important that we are intentional about making that time about what our students actually need and not what we think they need, assume they need, or wish they needed.
It’s insulting to make intervention about rules and timelines. Even if that is the reality, possibly because of the result of a standardized test, we still have to find ways to intentionally focus on real goals and meaningful outcomes of an intervention program. In doing so, I think we will help our learners realize that if intervention is part of their day, that simply means that they are being given an opportunity to practice autonomy, mastery, or even find purpose.
When we begin really consider what intervention is and is not, it will no longer be about getting the correct answer, but instead our learners will begin to think about thinking and truly recognize the power of deep understanding.