Garrels (2018): Student-directed learning of literacy skills for students with intellectual disability
I: Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, Online first
Literacy competence is a prerequisite for community participation. Yet, many students with intellectual disability do not meet the minimum criteria for proficiency in reading and writing. With poor performance in these academic areas, motivation for learning may be dwindling, which in turn may lead to even poorer performance. The present study uses a single‐case experimental design to investigate how student‐directed learning may address this double challenge of motivation and performance. In the study, five adolescents (aged 13–15) with mild intellectual disability used the Self‐Determined Learning Model of Instruction to select self‐chosen goals within reading and writing skills. Despite little prior knowledge of the goal setting and action planning process, all participating students attained their literacy goals. This finding emphasises the need for special educators to provide their students with frequent opportunities and training to practice and refine the necessary skills for active participation in the learning process. Doing so may enhance students' motivation for learning as well as their academic performances.