Community-Based Instruction (CBI)
I taught high school-age students with moderate to severe disabilities for 24 years. During this time, CBI was (and still is) required in many places. What is CBI you ask? This is when we take students to different locations within the community to generalize skills we have explicitly and systematically taught. Did you teach money skills within the classroom? After that direct instruction, we need to take students to different establishments to practice those skills in a real-life setting. Working on behavior strategies in the classroom and school? Don’t forget to take that to the community for practice as well. To ensure our students have mastered a skill, we need to make sure they can generalize it into different situations. This generalization is done through CBI.
What are the different locations I have taken students within the community? Too many to name! We may be working on communication skills with cashiers, different store employees, waitresses, emergency personnel, and so many others! Money can be practiced in the community by working on counting money, next dollar strategy, budgeting while shopping, banking, and comparison shopping, just to name a few. Reading skills are addressed everywhere! Students may be reading functional site words, community signs, restaurant words, or following a list. But the list is endless! Employment possibilities can be addressed in the community by touring employment sites, community awareness, and touring post-secondary schools. We always practice safety while traveling in the community. Understanding how to use emergency services is another great activity in the community when looking at safety. Behavior is a much-needed skill to address in the community. Our students need to be able to practice those appropriate behaviors whether in school, on the bus, purchasing items from Walmart, or picking up supplies in CVS. So, make sure to practice in all of those places. What about practical living? We can plan meals in the classroom and take that planning to the community to buy the items to prepare the meal. CBI is a great instructional opportunity that allows us to practice social skills, communication, behavior skills, academic concepts, safety skills, recreation, SEL, and more!
While working with students in the community, we need to keep our groups small to be able to deliver needed instruction and evaluate students on the skills they are working on. CBI requires advance planning to ensure any activities that are to be done have been modified or adapted in some form to allow students to participate. All students should be working on a goal or activity while in the community, so plan ahead!
Do you and your students participate in CBI? What types of activities do you do? What forms do you use? Do you take peer tutors with you? Tell us about your experiences! We would love to hear what others are doing!
Oh! Don’t forget to visit www.specialedsimplified.com and click on ‘Products.’ From there, search for ‘CBI’ to see what freebies we have available to download!
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