Observational Learning of Comprehension Monitoring Skills in Children Who Exhibit Mental Retardation An observational learning paradigm was used to instruct 5 children with mild or moderate mental retardation to monitor their comprehension of inadequate instructions. Instructions were inadequate because of an interfering signal, an unfamiliar word, excessive length, or an unfamiliar idiomatic phrase. Subjects’ peers served as models during the training. A ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1991
Observational Learning of Comprehension Monitoring Skills in Children Who Exhibit Mental Retardation
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Helen K. Ezell
    University of Pittsburgh
  • Howard Goldstein
    University of Pittsburgh
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Helen K. Ezell, Ph.D., Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, 320 East North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1991
Observational Learning of Comprehension Monitoring Skills in Children Who Exhibit Mental Retardation
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1991, Vol. 34, 141-154. doi:10.1044/jshr.3401.141
History: Received September 27, 1989 , Accepted April 12, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1991, Vol. 34, 141-154. doi:10.1044/jshr.3401.141
History: Received September 27, 1989; Accepted April 12, 1990

An observational learning paradigm was used to instruct 5 children with mild or moderate mental retardation to monitor their comprehension of inadequate instructions. Instructions were inadequate because of an interfering signal, an unfamiliar word, excessive length, or an unfamiliar idiomatic phrase. Subjects’ peers served as models during the training. A multiple baseline design across subjects and across instruction types was employed. All subjects learned to request clarification of the first three inadequate instructions; however, none of the children learned to request clarification of idiomatic phrases. Although all children eventually demonstrated observational learning, three children required feedback from the trainer before they began to request clarification for one or two of the instruction types. Two children generalized their requesting behavior to the interfering signal message type, suggesting that generalization may be likely to occur between similar message types. During posttesting all children generalized their requesting behavior when presented with two unfamiliar message types, sometimes using new question forms. Four of the 5 children also generalized their requesting behavior in sessions with their teachers 5–10 weeks later.

Acknowledgment
Support for this research has been provided by the U.S. Department of Education Grant No. HO23B80003 to the University of Pittsburgh.
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