Research News

Article from UW-Madison’s Bal examines implementations of ‘Learning Lab’

November 26, 2014

UW-Madison’s Aydin Bal is the lead author of an article that appears in the latest edition of the journal Remedial and Special Education.

The paper is titled, “Systemic Transformation from the Ground–Up: Using Learning Lab to Design Culturally Responsive Schoolwide Positive Behavioral Supports.” It examines the implementation of Bal’s Culturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (CRPBIS) program.

Aydin Bal
The key concept in Bal’s CRPBIS is the alteration of the traditional method by which schools craft their discipline policies and decisions. Schools implementing CRPBIS formed Learning Labs, composed of school administrators and teachers, as well as students, parents and leaders of organizations representing communities that have historically been excluded from schools’ problem-solving processes. The Learning Labs are then endowed with the authority to make and alter school policy on discipline.

Bal is an assistant professor with the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education.

According to the paper’s abstract: “The enduring existence of disproportionate representation of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in special education programs and disciplinary practices creates a double bind for educators, educational leaders and families. Disproportionality is an adaptive systemic issue that is not under any entity’s control; thus, it demands collaboration and critical dialogue among local stakeholders.”

It goes on to note how “this article examined the implementation of Learning Lab, a new methodology of systemic transformation, for local stakeholders to collectively examine and address disproportionality in behavioral outcomes from the ground–up. Learning Lab aims to increase equity within the local implementations of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) by opening up decision-making and problem-solving processes with local stakeholders. Designed to increase authentic collaboration and dialogue among educators, families and community-based organizations, Learning Lab offers the possibility of contextually fit, culturally responsive implementations of PBIS and building the capacity for forming adaptive and inclusive schools.”

For more details, make sure and check out the entire article by visiting this Remedial and Special Education web page.