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Building Bridges between Social and Academic Language


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Title: Building Bridges between Social and Academic Language

Building Bridges between Social and Academic
Carol Westby, PhD Visiting Professor Brigham
Young University Lee Robinson,
MS Associate Clinical Professor Brigham Young
Oral Written Narrative Discourse
Interpersonal ToM Social Skills
Intrapersonal ToM Academic Success In literature m
ath social studies science
  • TS
  • Primary Diagnosis Asperger Syndrome
  • Age 12
  • Strengths memory general language skills good
    attention stays with tasks/doesnt complain
  • Needs weak emotional understanding low
    self-regulation of behavior/ emotions
    misinterpretation of social situations academic
    weakness at higher discourse levels
  • Family single mom, older sister and brother,
    younger brother
  • ZM
  • Primary Diagnosis ADHD, Inattentive Type,
    Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (not medicated)
  • Age 17
  • Strengths pleasant, cooperative willing some
    topics of interest can talk to adults
  • Needs Unaware of the messages his behavior
    sends language impairment very slow processor
  • Family two-parent family oldest of 8 children

Academic Language
  • The set of words, grammar, and organizational
    strategies used to describe complex ideas,
    higher-order thinking processes, and abstract

Zwiers, J. (2008). Building academic language
Essential practices for content classrooms.
Newark, DE International Reading Association.
Features of Academic GrammarLexicalization
  • Science text
  • Spiders are not insects.//They always have
    eight jointed legs,//not six as insects
    have,//and they never have wings.//The feeling
    organs on their head are not antennae but
    leg-like structures called palps.//Spiders all
    have a pair of poison fangs and several pairs of
    spinnerets// which produce silk.
  • Oral text
  • Like I reckon he would have been really nice
    but now that hes been to all the towns and seen
    like theres no life or anything and he comes
    into the valley and sees Ann and sees life and he
    just wanted power over her because hes never had
    power or anything before.

Zwiers, J. (2008). Building academic language
Essential practices for content classrooms.
Newark, DE International Reading Association.
Features of Academic Grammar
  • Passive voice places emphasis on object rather
    than subject subject may not be present
  • The radius is then plugged into the formula for
    the area of the circle
  • Nominalization turning verbs into nouns
    condenses lengthy explanations into a few words
  • The condemnation of dissenting perspectives led
    to revolution.
  • The virus adapted to survive outside the body.
    This mutation allowed it to be passed on by
    causal contact.

Zwiers, J. (2008). Building academic language
Essential practices for content classrooms.
Newark, DE International Reading Association.
Bricks and Mortar
Zwiers, J. (2008). Building academic language
Essential practices for content classrooms.
Newark, DE International Reading Association.
Terms used in building academic sentences
Features of Academic Grammar
  • Dependent clauses
  • Adverbial Although several precautions were
    taken, the key was lost.
  • Adjectival (relative) The colonists, who felt
    they did not have representation, dumped the tea
    into Boston Harbor.
  • Noun Where the rebels were going was unknown.

Zwiers, J. (2008). Building academic language
Essential practices for content classrooms.
Newark, DE International Reading Association.
Functions of Academic Language
  • To describe complex concepts, e.g.,
  • Relationships between characters
  • Causes and effects of major events
  • Geological forces that change the planet
  • To describe higher-order thinking processes
  • Analyzing, evaluation, synthesizing, persuading,
    predicting, explaining, comparing, interpreting,
    inferring, implying
  • To describe abstraction (relationships that
    cannot be pointed out or illustrated), e.g.,
  • On the other hand, the two scientists had
    differing views on the topic of evolution
  • Constraints on the childs working memory are
    contributing to the childs poor expository

Zwiers, J. (2008). Building academic language
Essential practices for content classrooms.
Newark, DE International Reading Association.
Structure of Academic TextDemands on Working
  • Statements must link to a central topic/theme
  • Statements must be linked to one another
  • The nature of the link between statements can be
    explicit (because, as a result, ifthen) rather
    than general (and, then, so)
  • Statements are simultaneously link to the central
    topic and to each other
  • The content is organized according to the
    discourse genre
  • Elements compared/contrasted
  • Multiple views in argumentation

Scardamalia, M. (1981). How children cope with
the cognitive demands of writing. In C.
Frederiksen J.F. Dominic (Eds.), Writing The
nature, development, and teaching of written
communication. Hillsdale, NJ Erlbaum.
Features of Academic Language
  • Using figurative language
  • Boils down to, read between the lines, sidestep
    the issue, that answer doesnt hold water, a thin
    argument, crux of the matter
  • Being explicit for distant audiences
  • Remaining detached from the message
  • Supporting points with evidence
  • Conveying nuances of meaning with models
  • Would, could, might, can, will, shall, must,
    should, ought to
  • Softening the message with qualifiers (hedges)
  • Perhaps, usually, generally, relatively,
    theoretically, likely, presumably
  • Distinguish from oral hedges (must, mainly, sort
    of, pretty, I mean, maybe, more or less)

Zwiers, J. (2008). Building academic language
Essential practices for content classrooms.
Newark, DE International Reading Association.
Theories of Language Development
  • Traditional Theories
  • Formal theories
  • Language is modular distinct from other
    cognitive functions
  • Develops from innate universal grammar
  • Creates a set of abstractions about syntactic
  • Functional theories
  • Language is a type of cognition
  • Language emerges out of childs experiences
  • Focus on semantics pragmatics
  • Emergentism Theories
  • Behavior does not arise from independent modules
    it is an emergent consequence of interactions
    across multiple domains
  • Herteroarchical interaction across levels
  • Integrated neural networks of associations that
    detect regularities in input
  • Development is self-organizing

Thelen, E., Bates, E. (2003). Connectionism and
dynamic systems Are they really different?
Developmental Science, 6(4), 378-391.
Communication Metaphors
  • Traditional Language Processing
  • Transmission Metaphor
  • signal response
  • sending receiving
  • encoding and decoding
  • Dynamic Systems
  • Dance Metaphor
  • engagement disengagement
  • synchrony discord
  • breakdown and repair

Dynamic Tricky Mix LEARN Framework
Based on Nelson, K.E., Craven, P.L., Xuan, Y.,
Arkenberg, M.E. (2004). Acquiring art, spoken
language, sign language, text, and other symbolic
systems Developmental and evolutionary
observations from a dynamic tricky mix
theoretical perspective. In J.M Lucariello et al.
(Eds.), The development of the mediated mind.
Mahwah, NJ Erlbaum.
LEARN Components
  • Launching conditions motivate learning
  • require some active involvement (engagement) in a
    relevant activity that includes some challenge
  • includes a least minimal attention and storage in
    long-term memory
  • Enhancing conditions mediate learning
  • By others
  • Recasting, modeling, scaffolding
  • By the child
  • Metacognitive awareness self-monitoring of

LEARN Components
  • Adjustment conditions
  • By the child
  • Response to performance
  • Beliefs about self
  • By others
  • Influence on social, emotional, motivational
    states during childs learning
  • Readiness conditions preparedness for challenges
  • Temperament, emotion regulation, attention,
    language skills, memory, information processing
    systems, domain knowledge
  • Neural networks
  • Activate/develop neural networks with activities
    that involve parallel processing

Influences on AdjustmentPerformance Goal
  • Approach Focus
  • Focus on getting the task done doing what
    teacher asked being superior, besting others,
    being the best at task, being the smartest
  • Use of normative standards such as getting the
    best or highest grades, being the top performer
    in class
  • Avoidance Focus
  • Use normative standards of not getting worst
    grades, not being lowest performer

Elliot, A.J. (1999) Approach and avoidance
motivation and achievement goals. Educational
Psychologist, 34, 169-189.
Influences on AdjustmentMastery Goal Orientation
  • Approach Focus
  • Focus on mastering task, learning, understanding
  • Use standards of self-improvement, progress, deep
    understanding of task
  • Avoidance Focus
  • Focus on avoiding misunderstanding, not learning
    or mastering task, losing skills or competencies
  • Use standards of not being wrong, doing it
    incorrectly relative to task or previous

  • The sharing of personal content
  • feelings
  • perceptions
  • thoughts
  • linguistic meanings
  • among a number of persons

Zlatev, J., Racine, T.P., Sinha, C., Itkonen,
E. (2008). Intersubjectivity What makes us
human? (pp. 1-14). In J. Zlatev, T.P. Racine, C.
Sinha, E. Itkonen (Eds.), The shared mind
Perspectives on intersubjectivity. John
Benjamins Amsterdam.
Propositions underlying intersubjectivity
  • Humans are primordially connected in their
    intersubjectivity they dont need to infer that
    others have experiences and mentalities that are
    similar to their own
  • Sharing of experiences in not primarily on a
    cognitive level, but more basically on the level
    of affect, perceptual processes and
    action-oriented engagements
  • Such sharing and understanding is based on
    interaction (empathetic perception, imitation,
    gesture, and collaboration)
  • Crucial cognitive capacities are initially social
    and interactional and are only later understood
    in representation terms

Primary intersubjectivity
  • Affective coordination between the gestures and
    expressions of the infant and those of caregivers
    with whom they interact
  • Remains primary across all face-to-face
    intersubjective experiences
  • Map visually perceived motions of others onto
    ones kinesthetic sensations
  • Linked to mirror neurons

Gallagher, S., Hutto, D.D. (2008).
Understanding others through primary interaction
and narrative practice (pp. 17-38). In J. Zlatev,
T.P. Racine, C. Sinha, E. Itkonen (Eds.), The
shared mind Perspectives on intersubjectivity.
John Benjamins Amsterdam.
Secondary intersubjectivity
  • Shared contexts of attention
  • Intentionality is perceived in the actions of

Intentional Relations/Simulation Theory
  • Explain how children begin to predict what others
    are thinking and feeling
  • As children observe others, they match their own
    intentional relations (IRs) and the IRs of others
  • They predict what others do by predicting what
    they would do in the same situation
  • They must reflect on their own mental states

But how do children come to understand that
others might have thoughts and feelings that are
different from their own
Narrative Practice Hypothesis
  • Stories are natural extensions of childrens
    earlier experiences of sharing of event
  • Engaging in story-telling practices with the
    support of others enables children to develop
    understanding of what it is to act for a reason
  • Competency with different kinds of narratives
    enables us to understand others in a variety of
  • Narrative training causally influences what are
    basic theory of mind skills

Narratives provide knowledge of
  • What actions are acceptable and in what
  • What sort of events are important and noteworthy
  • What can account for action
  • What kind of explanations constitute the giving
    of good reasons
  • What we can expect of others
  • What others can expect of us
  • What others ought to and are likely to do
  • What others ought to and are likely to think and

Gallagher, S., Hutto, D.D. (2008).
Understanding others through primary interaction
and narrative practice (pp. 17-38). In J. Zlatev,
T.P. Racine, C. Sinha, E. Itkonen (Eds.), The
shared mind Perspectives on intersubjectivity.
John Benjamins Amsterdam.
Theory of Mind (emerges at age 4)
  • Ability to attribute mental states (beliefs,
    intents, pretending, knowledge) to oneself and
    others and to understand that others have
    beliefs, desires, and intentions that are
    different from ones own
  • Ability to predict what others are thinking and
    what they will do from what we know about them
    and the world

Doherty, M.J. (2009). Theory of mind How
children understand others thoughts and
feelings. New York Taylor Francis.
Intersubjectivity and Theory of Mind
Lucariello, J. (2004). New insights into the
functions, development, and origins of theory of
mind The functional multilinear socialization
model. In L. Lucariello, et al (Eds.), The
development of the mediated mind. Mahwah Erlbaum.
Self Determination/Self-Regulatory Processes
Goals of Intervention
  • Increase use of intrapersonal and interpersonal
  • Increase academic language
  • measured by use of complex clauses and
    connective/mortar words
  • Increase ability to make inferences in social
    situations and academic texts
  • Intrapersonal measured by and variety of
    appropriate statements in think alouds
    reflections on experiences
  • Interpersonal measured by and variety of
    correct inferences made in response to social
    problem solving situations and academic texts
    (e.g., interpretation of characters thoughts and
    feelings in stories)

Think Aloud
  • Students read silently as teacher reads aloud.
    Teacher thinks through trouble spots
  • Make predictions From the title I think this
    will be about...
  • Describe the pictures you form in your head about
    the information. I have a picture of this scene
    in my head and this is what it looks like....
  • Develop analogies Show how to link prior
    knowledge to new information in text. This
    reminds me of....
  • Make inferences from pictures and words I think
    Stanley feels frustrated because
  • Demonstrate fix-up strategies Show how to make
    sense of the passage. Id better reread. or
    Ill read ahead and see if I can get some more
  • After you complete reading and think aloud,
    encourage students to add their own thoughts to

Inferences Maybe the chest is really important
Stanley was told to look for things in the
holes. Why arent the lizards biting is
something protecting him? Maybe hes looking at
the warden, cause she wanted him to find
something. Maybe the chest is what the warden had
been looking for. The warden cant get the chest
cause the lizards are on it. Wont be able to
get whats in the chest
Observations Stanley in hole Lizards with yellow
spots on him Lizards arent biting him Seems to
be looking up at someone Doesnt look happy Old
chest in background Many lizards on chest
Nokes, J.D. (2008). The observation/inference
chart Improving students abilities to make
inferences while reading nontraditional texts.
Journal of Adolescent Adult Literacy, 517,
Observation/Inference Rubric
  • Observations
  • Few observations
  • Many observations but not specific or detailed
  • Many observations including ones that are
    specific and detailed
  • Inferences linked to observations
  • Some inferences but they are not based on
  • Bases inferences on observations but does not
    show the relationship
  • Bases inferences on observation and shows the
  • Inferences
  • Makes few inferences or inferences that have no
  • Several good inferences, but explanations may be
    fairly obvious
  • Many good inferences, including ones that show
    depth of thinking

Nokes, J.D. (2008). The observation/inference
chart Improving students abilities to make
inferences while reading nontraditional texts.
Journal of Adolescent Adult Literacy, 517,
Classes of Inferences
  • Anaphoric references pronoun/noun-phrase that
    refers to previous text entity
  • Bridging/relational semantically or conceptually
    relating sentence to previous content
  • Explanation-based/causal explain what is read by
    a causal chain or network of previous events and
  • The warden scratched Mr. Sir. She was furious
    with him.
  • Making the connection between the eating onions
    and not being bitten by lizards
  • Stanley befriending Zero, carrying him up the
    mountain and saving his life breaks the curse of
    Madam Zaroni and brings the family good luck.

Snow, C. (2002). Reading for understanding
Toward an R D program in reading comprehension.
Rand Corporation.
Classes of Inferences
  • Predictive forecast what events will unfold
  • Goal infer intentions of agent
  • Elaborative properties and associations that
    cannot be explained by causal relationships
  • I predict that Hugo and the old man will become
  • Hugo steals toys because he needs the parts for
    the automaton
  • The Wardens nail polish has rattlesnake venom in
    it. So when she scratches Mr. Sir, you must
    realize that the scratch will be more painful and
    harmful than an ordinary scratch

Snow, C. (2002). Reading for understanding
Toward an R D program in reading comprehension.
Rand Corporation.
Internal States Inference Chart
Predicting Dialogue Thoughts
Mr. Sir isnt doing his job. Hes got to learn
what I want!
I dont care what the boys do as long as they
find the treasure
Shell be pleased with how Im handling the boys
and reward me.
Theres been a little trouble on the lake.
Caveman will tell you about it.
Thats why you brought him here?
The Warden
Mr. Sir
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Inner-Outer Prediction Chart
Zero has run off into the desert
Inner-Outer Prediction Chart
Borrowing the car
Five intervention rules
  • Slow down the interaction
  • Make the implicit explicit
  • Plan activities that are relevant and meaningful
  • Use academic tasks to aid in teaching social
  • Use social communication to aid in teaching

Mind Reading The Interactive Guide for Emotions
Scaffolded Techniques to DevelopInter- and
Intrapersonal Thought
  • Think aloud
  • Observation inference chart/rubric
  • Internal states chart
  • Predicting dialogue and thoughts chart
  • Perspectives chart
  • Inner-outer prediction chart
  • Mind reading


Identifying adverbial clauses
  • If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole
    every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a
    good boy.
  • Not every Stanley Yelnats has been a failure,
    Stanleys mother often pointed out, whenever
    Stanley or his father became so discouraged that
    they actually started to believe in the curse.
  • The bus ride became increasingly bumpy because
    the road was no longer paved

based on Killgallon, D., Killgallon, J.
(2000). Sentence composing for elementary school.
Portsmouth, NH Heinemann.
  • they would go not only to Doc Hawthorn but also
    to Sam.
  • They did this whenever they were sick.
  • Whenever they were sick, they would go not only
    to Doc Hawthorn but also to Sam.

  • because he wouldnt have time to rinse off the
  • which was just as well
  • He never managed to use his bar of soap
  • He never managed to use his bar of soap, which
    was just as well, because he wouldnt have time
    to rinse off the suds.

  • If.. youll get the rest of the day off. (e.g.,
    the warden likes what you found)
  • It (the pool table) was full of bumps and holes
    because.(e.g., so many people had carved their
    initials into the felt)

  • Write 3 sentences with adverbial when clauses
    that tell what happened when Stanley found the
    metal tube in the hole he had dug.. Possible
    examples could be
  •  When Stanley found the piece of metal in his
    hole, X-Ray demanded that he give it to him.
  •  Stanley wondered, when he found the piece of
    metal in his hole, what the warden would do.
  •   Stanley thought he would get the day off when
    he found the lipstick tube in his hole .

Concepts Expressed by Conjunctions
Relationship Belief about Propositional
Truth Belief
Disbelief or
Uncertainty Positive Because (7 years)
If (11 years) Negative
Although Unless
(11 years)
(13-15 yrs)
Steps in Connective Development
  • Personal
  • My brother had to go to summer school because he
    failed English.
  • If I have 10, Ill buy that new CD.
  • I wont get to go to the movies unless I clean my
    room. Or Ill go to the movies unless I dont
    clean my room.
  • Ill take the Hershey bar, although its not my
  • Narrative
  • Zero dug Stanleys holes because Stanley was
    teaching him to read.
  • If Stanley finds something valuable, hell get a
    day off.
  • Stanley wont get a day off unless he finds
    something the warden wants.
  • Stanley said he had taken the sunflower seeds
    although he had not.
  • Theoretical/expository
  • The ice melted because the temperature was above
    320 F.
  • If its attracted to the magnet, its metal.
  • Take the blocks that are on the table unless they
    are wooden.
  • Illegal immigrants work hard although they are
    not paid much.

Learning Multiple Meaning Words
  • Many English words have multiple meanings
  • Children with language impairments (LI) have
    fewer meanings for words
  • Children with LI frequently have difficulty
    retrieving word meanings
  • Ability to rapidly retrieve word meanings
    promotes comprehension

Wolf, M., Miller, L, Donnelly, K. (2000).
Retrieval, automaticity, vocabulary, elaboration,
orthography (RAVE-O) A comprehensive,
fluency-based reading intervention program.
Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33, 375-386.
Learning Multiple Meaning Words
  • Activate prior knowledge of the meanings of
    target words
  • Multiple presentations of target words in a
    variety of contexts
  • Promote active and generative processing
  • Self-assessment of vocabulary knowledge and

Nelson, J.R., Marchand-Martella, N. (2005). The
multiple meaning vocabulary program. Boston, MA
Sopris West.
Multiple meaning wordsinnocent
Nelson, J.R., Stage, S.A. (2007). Fostering the
development of vocabulary knowledge and reading
comprehension through contextually-based multiple
meaning vocabulary instruction. Education and
Treatment of Children, 30, 1-22.
Multiple meaning words
  • Not guilty of an offense
  • Blameless Stanley was blameless of the robbery.
  • Guiltless The court did not find Stanley
  • In the clear Stanleys social worker proved that
    he was in the clear.
  • Not experienced
  • Naïve Stanley was naïve about the functioning of
    the court.
  • Unsophisticated Stanleys unsophisticated
    parents did not the implications of sending
    Stanley to Camp Green Lake.
  • Unaware Zero was unaware that the sploosh would
    make him sick.
  • Not dangerous or harmful
  • Harmless A yellow-spotted lizard is not
  • Risk free Being sent to Camp Green Lake was not
    risk free.
  • Playful Sometimes the boys argued in a playful

Multiple meaning wordsMatch the sentence to its
  • not guilty of an offense
  • not experienced
  • not dangerous or harmful
  • Stanley thought his comment was innocent, but it
    made Zero very angry.
  • Stanley was a really good kid he was too
    innocent to be with boys who were real bullies.
  • Stanleys parents knew Stanley was innocent of
    stealing the shoes.

Is the word used as expected?
  • When Zero confessed to stealing the shoes, he
    proved he was innocent.
  • Stanleys teaching Zero to read was an innocent
  • X-ray really knew how to survive in at Camp Green
    Lake. He was the boys leader because he was so
  • The social worker knew Stanley was innocent
    because he was in school when the shoes were

Figurative Language
What it Describes
Language in the Text
Suddenly it was as if the light went on in his
Hugo knew what he needed to do to fix the
You can see better in light. Hugo hadnt been
able to figure out how to fix the automaton but
then it made sense
A million questions floated through the fog in
Hugos mind.
His fathers dead its hard for him to think
You cant see well in fog and its easy to get
lost you cant figure out where youre going
Hugo thought there was something wrong with
himself because he couldnt fix the automaton

Hugo felt broken himself.
If something is broken, it doesnt work it
doesnt do what its supposed to its useless
Features of Questioning the Author (QtA)
  • Addresses text as product of fallible author
  • Deals with text through open-ended,
    goal-directed, teacher-posed questions
  • Takes place in the context of reading as it
  • Encourages discussion in which students grapple
    with ideas in the service of constructing meaning

Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G. (2006). Improving
comprehension with questioning the author. New
York Scholastic. .
Characteristics of QtA Discussion
  • Students do the work of the thinking and
    discovering on their own
  • Students begin to see the difference between what
    the author says and inferring what the author
  • The tone of the interaction is meant to be

Questioning the Author
  • Goal Initiating queries
  • What is the author trying to say here?
  • What do you think the author wants us to know?
  • What is the author talking about?

Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G. (2006). Improving
comprehension with questioning the author. New
York Scholastic.
Questioning the Author
  • Goal Follow-up queries
  • So what does the author mean right here?
  • Thats what the author said, but what did the
    author mean?
  • Does this make sense with what the author told us
  • How does this connect to what the author told us
  • Why do you think the author tells us this now?

Narrative Queries
  • How do things look for this character now?
  • How does the author let you know that something
    has changed?
  • How has the author worked that out for us?
  • Given what the author has already told us about
    this character, what do you think hes up to?
  • How is the author making you feel right now about
    these characters?
  • What is the author telling us with conversation?

Self Determination
  • People controlling their own lives and their own
  • Persons with higher levels of self determination
    are more independent and have a better quality of

Wehmeyer, M. L., Schwartz, M. (1998). The
self-determination focus of transition goals for
students with mental retardation. Career
Development for Exceptional Individuals, 21,
7586. Wehmeyer, M., Schwartz, M. (1998a). The
relationship between self-determination and
quality of life for adults with mental
retardation. Education and Training in Mental
Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 33,
Components of Self-Determination
  • Choice-making
  • Decision-making
  • Problem solving
  • Goal setting and attainment
  • Self-advocacy and leadership skills
  • Self-management and self-regulation
  • Positive perceptions of control and efficacy
  • Self-knowledge and self-awareness

Wehmeyer, M.L. (1996). Self-determination as an
educational outcome Why is it important to
children, youth, and adults with disabilities? In
D.J. Sands M.L. Wehmeyer (Eds.),
Self-determination across the lifespan
Independence and choice for people with
disabilities (pp. 17-36). Baltimore Brookes.
FIG TESPN (Social Problem Solving)
Elias, M.J (2004). Strategies to infuse social
and emotional learning into academics. In J.E.
Zins, R.P. Weissberg, M.C. Wang, H.J. Wallberg
(Eds.). Building academic success on social and
emotional learning. New York Teachers College
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Simplified Book Talk for Young Readers
  • I will write about this character
  • This characters problem is
  • How did your character get into this problem?
  • How does the character feel?
  • What does the character want to happen?
  • What questions would you like to be able to ask
    the character that you picked, one of the other
    characters, or the author?

LEARN Dynamic Tricky Mix
LEARN Dynamic Tricky Mix
Major Themes
  • Intersubjectivity/theory of mind underlie all
    social and academic learning
  • Intervention is not a choice between social and
    academic learning social and academic skills and
    knowledge are interactive
  • Ultimately, persons must be able to self-regulate
    their own behaviors and self-determine their own
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