Maintenance and Generalization
Maintenance and generalization mean students are able to learn skills and use them across settings, people and materials. For many students this is something that will have to be taught, just as the skills was taught. After a student has shown independence and mastery of the skill within the original setting, generalization pieces should be taught.
Thinking through the plan of how to generalize skills for students is just as important as teaching the skill itself. In order to students to truly be independent and successful they need to be able to use the skills they have in all areas and with all materials. Within a virtual environment working through generalization will be a truly collaborative effort to ensure that the student is able to learn in a variety of settings and with different people.
Once students have mastered skills and while new skills are being taught, it is important to also go back and continue to use the mastered skills. This will ensure that the student recalls the skills when they need them.
Partnerships for Sustainability
Having partnerships within the community is an important piece of generalization. These partnerships are a great way to allow for vocational skills to be generalized throughout real world environments where they might be used. Often these partnerships can lead to employment and other opportunities for students. It can be difficult to impossible to generalize some life skills without having the appropriate environments available to practice them in.
Community and Cultural Considerations
In addition to all of the above, taking into account community and cultural considerations is key to success. Cultural understanding is critical to teaching many skills in a manner that fits with that student’s background and home life. Asking questions and sharing information about differences in culture can ensure that skills are taught in a manner that fits with the culture.
Additionally, helping students understand that expectations can change depending on which community you are interacting with (e.g. home vs. school vs. friends vs. workplace vs. place of worship) is an additional step in helping students reach their full potential.