About Instructional Supports

What are Instructional Supports?

Instructional supports assist a student in accessing the content and curriculum, support active engagement and positive behavior. They can be provided in many ways, such as:

  • Differentiated instruction (e.g., allowing students to choose their response format on a cumulative project)
  • Allowing alternate ways for a student to access content (e.g., providing an accommodation of text-to-speech software)
  • Supplement instruction to support comprehension (e.g., use of visual supports such as video in addition to reading content in a textbook)
  • Increase active engagement (e.g., including active response strategies such as whole class response)
  • Many more!

How and Why Should Educators Use Instructional Supports?

All students require supplemental instructional supports and strategies at one time or another during their school career to allow adequate access the curriculum. The type, intensity, or degree of individualization of that instructional support will vary, depending on the student and their specific needs.

The reason that students may require supplemental instructional supports also varies. Perhaps the student has been identified as having a learning disability and requires specific accommodations to access the curriculum. Or, an individual student may be exhibiting challenging behavior which is connected to areas of academic deficit and would benefit from individualized instructional strategies to support access to the curriculum and help reduce the demonstration of challenging behavior. Alternately, instructional supports could be provided universally, school-wide to all students.

Instructional supports may be provided in a variety of ways. Supports may be provided informally (e.g., provided by a teacher as part of their instruction), implemented school-wide (e.g., through a multi-tiered systems framework), or may be provided as specified and documented on a student's individualized learning plan (e.g., as included in a 504 plan, as a Tier 2 support, written into an IEP, etc.)

PENT Resources

The supports and strategies provided on the PENT website are intended to be used flexibly - incorporated into daily instruction by individual educators as needed, written into individual student learning plans, or within a multi-tiered systems of support framework, but all with the intention of supporting positive student behavior, increasing student engagement, and to create safe, supportive learning environments.