INDEPENDENT LEVEL OF FUNCTIONING
Broadly speaking, there are three levels of functioning in any child.
The first level is the independent level. Any task given to the child, (whether it is reading, writing, math, comprehension, art or craft) if he is able to do with 99% accuracy, then he is at independent level for that activity. This means that he does not require any teaching or supervision to complete this task. He will be able to complete the task on his own and can even check his work. Ideally homework given should be at the independent level. The concluding activity of any (one hour) remedial session should be at the independent level, as it will motivate the child to come back for the next session. He will leave with a sense of accomplishment and nothing will motivate the child more than a success experience!
Tasks at the independent level can also be assigned when the child has come to class after a particularly taxing day. It helps him relax and feel good about himself. This will motivate and prepare him for the tougher tasks that may follow. There will be instances when the teacher herself may experience fatigue. It is best to avoid introducing any new/challenging concept to the child since the teacher may not be at her best frame of mind. Assigning any task that the child can do independently will be easier on both.
It is important to understand that any task does not automatically come under independent level just because it is below the child’s current grade level at school. The teacher should understand & assess the child thoroughly and arrive at his independent level of functioning. For some students reading may at independent level just one grade below (i.e. a class V student may read at grade IV independently) but spelling may be at independent level two grades below.
So it is important to have a complete profile of the student in each academic area of reading, spelling, math, comprehension etc. and determine his level of functioning.
Any good lesson plan should include a combination of activities at varying levels of functioning- independent, instructional & frustration, but conclude with a task at the independent level.