Responsive Teaching National Outreach Project

The Responsive Teaching National Outreach Project is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The purpose of this project is to provide training and technical assistance related to the Responsive Teaching Curriculum.

Responsive Teaching (RT) is an evidence-based, child development curriculum that was designed to be implemented by parents and other caregivers who spend significant amounts of time interacting with and caring for young children. Gerald Mahoney, PhD, is the director of the Center on Interventions for Children and Family at MSASS. He has done extensive research on RT.

RT was developed to be used with any children under 6 years of age who have developmental or social emotional problems or risks. It helps parents and other adults maximize the potential of each of their routine interactions so that they support and enhance children’s development and well being.

RT encourages children to develop and use the “pivotal behaviors” that are the foundations for developmental learning, such as social play, initiation, problem solving, joint attention, conversation, trust, cooperation, persistence and feelings of competence.

The instructional strategies that are at the heart of Responsive Teaching are derived from contemporary child development research and theory. Instructional strategies come from the frequently reported research finding that one of the most important environmental influences on children’s development and social-emotional well being is the degree to which parents engage in responsive interactions with them. Responsive Teaching strategies help parents engage in this style of interacting with their children by giving them practical suggestions that emphasize five qualities dimensions that make interactions highly responsive.

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