What is Self-Determination and Why is it Important for Ensuring the Post-Secondary S uccess of At-Risk S tudents and Students with Special Needs. Presented by: Dr. Russell G. Dubberly, N.B.C.T. S tate Director of Education Pace Center for Girls, Inc. . Self-Determination.
What is Self-Determination and Why is it Important for Ensuring the Post-Secondary Success of At-Risk Students and Students with Special Needs
Presented by: Dr. Russell G. Dubberly, N.B.C.T.
State Director of Education
Pace Center for Girls, Inc.
A foundation of human will, a lifting of the spirit, and a right of all people.
Agran, Snow, and Swaner (1999) listed the following constructs that encompass self-determination:
Wehmeyer (2005) reported that self-determination can be described in different constructs that relate to (a) a process or outcome, (b) an independent performance of behavior, (c) self-reliance or self-sufficiency, and (d) a behavior that is successful, as something you do or as just choice.
Wehmeyer and Palmer (2003) found that students with disabilities labeled as having higher levels of self-determination at graduation were more likely to have moved out of the home that they lived in during high school and into their own home by their 3rd year as a post-graduate.
Wehmeyerand Palmer also found that students with disabilities labeled as having higher levels of self-determination were also disproportionately more likely to be competitively employed one year after graduation.
Self-determination is an integral component for special needs and at-risk students to participate successfully in transition planning, graduation, and achievement of meaningful post-school outcomes.
If the plan is to truly endure the school year and beyond, teachers need to ensure that at-risk students understand components of (a) decision making, (b) problem solving, (c) choice making, (d) self-management, (e) self-awareness, (f) self-advocacy, and (g) goal setting.
Students need to set positive behavioral goals, learn the consequences of their decisions, (based on learned problem solving strategies), and learn to self-monitor their thoughts and actions throughout the school day.
Many teachers become concerned with implementing instructional constructs such as self-determination as one more thing that they are asked to do:
Self-determination can be a component of lessons, without being the main focus of the lesson.
Thoma, Nathanson, Baker, and Tamura (2002) suggested “Educators should learn new strategies that support student self-determination, not only throughout the transition process but also in educational program development in the years proceeding transition planning” (p. 83).
Dropping Out of School
The primary reason nearly half of the young adults gave for dropping out was that classes were uninteresting.
In general, feeling unmotivated or uninspired to work hard was a significant factor in the drop outs’ discontent with school. In focus groups, the young adults said school was boring, they didn’t learn anything, and school was irrelevant.
Does this sound like a group who needs to learn to be more self-aware, set goals, self-advocate, and become empowered to shape their own educational direction???
Bridgeland, DiIulio, and Morison (2006)
Teachers need to work collaboratively with students and their families to set meaningful goals.
An understanding of one's strengths, abilities, needs, limitations, interests, and preferences may provide an important foundation for promoting other self-determination elements (Wehmeyer & Field, 2007).
How do you eat an elephant………..One bite at a time!
“I want to be a doctor in a hospital” (The student is currently struggling with science and does not show interest in subjects like biology).
PACE Center for Girls- We create and help sustain protective factors in girls deemed at-risk. Continuing education and autonomy are two critical factors to our girls’ success! Many of our girls have experienced negative life events that led them to reduced self-determination.
For teenagers and young adults, examples of negative life events include parental separation and divorce, parental or family discord, and impaired or neglectful parenting (Bureau, Genevie, Vallerand, Rousseau, & Otis, 2012), as well as manyotherfactorssuch as drug use, sexual abuse, gang affiliation, bullying, etc.
Acting out of self-determination is a functioning mode where people regulate their behaviors according to their own values and preferences.
Consider the profile of many students who are at greatest risk for dropping out (depressed, low self-esteem, feeling of lack of options, negativity, feeling of no control, highly stressed).
(Serna & Lau-Smith, 1995)
P Considered At-Risk for DropoutURPOSE is a mnemonic for the following: Prepare to learn the specific self-determine skill
Understand the skills through a discussion about these components with regard to definition and rationale for use
Rehearse by practicing that skill with a peer after watching the instructors model the behavior
Perform a self-check
Overcome any performance barriers as well as generalize the skill to other situations
Selecthis or her performance in those situations
Evaluate his or her performance in those situations
(Serna & Lau-Smith, 1995)
Find the Fun in Education……… Considered At-Risk for Dropout
The Fun Theory
Agran, M., Snow, K., & Swaner, J. (1999). Teacher perceptions of self-determination: Benefits, characteristics, strategies. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 34, 293-301.
Bridgeland, J. M., DiIulio, J. J., Morison, K. B. (2006). The Silent Epidemic Perspectives of High School Dropouts. Retrieved from http://www.americaspromise.org/~/media/Files/Resources/the_silent_epidemic_report-RES.ashx
Bureau, J. S., Genevie, A. Vallerand, R. J., Rousseau, R. L., & Otis, J. (2012). Self-Determination: A Buffer Against Suicide Ideation. Retrieved from The American Association of Suicidology/Academic Edition database.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2002). Overview of self-determination theory: An organismic dialectical perspective. In E. L. Deci& R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 3–33). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.
Serna, L. A., & Lau-Smith, J. (1995). Learning with purpose: Self-determination skills for students who are at risk for school and community failure. Interventions in School and Clinic, 30(3), 142-146.
Wehmeyer, M. L. (2005). Self-determination and individuals with severe disabilities: Re-examining meanings and misinterpretations. Research and Practice for Persons With Severe Disabilities, 30, 113-120.