Archive for the 'Professional development' Category

Teaching classroom management

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a self-appointed group that generated quite a stir in 2006 with its report about reading education (“What Education Schools Aren’t Teaching About Reading–and What Elementary Teachers Aren’t Learning“), released a report about the absence of high-quality instruction in classroom management for prospective teachers in December of 2013: Training our teachers: Classroom management. Readers of Behavior Mod will likely find the report rather distressing, because it shows a glaring absence of tutelage in the use of behavioral principles in teaching.

The NCTQ identified five classroom management strategies that it considered especially valuable for students to acquire during their teacher preparation programs:

BAAM call for 2013 papers continues

The Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan (BAAM) continued its call for papers as of 19 November 2012. In an e-mail announcement, the affiliate of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) reported, “We have received a number of good proposals already, and hope to see more in the coming days. We will soon be listing accepted submissions.” The BAAM Convention will be held 21-22 February 2013 at the Student Center Building on the campus of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti (MI, US).

The deadline for the Call for Papers for submissions for the BAAM 2013 Convention is 7 December 2012. The theme for the 2013 conference is “100 Years of Behavior Analysis,” which refers to the centenary of John B. Watson’sarticle, “Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It.” BAAM reported that it welcomes papers about historical themes, the place of behavior analysis in the 21st century, and (especially) the new Michigan Autism Insurance Law, which became effective officially on 15 October 2012.

Please follow these links for detailed instructions on how to submit proposed papers and to learn more about the BAAM conference. For more about ABAI or BAAM itself, click the appropriate link in the left rail.

Precision Teaching conference pending

The 2010 International Precision Teaching Conference will be held in Seattle (WA, US) 4-6 November 2010. Sponsored by the Standard Celeration Society, a group that promotes the use of systematic data collection procedures and objective analysis of instructional practices, the conference promises to have lots of reports that will appeal to readers of Behavior Mod. There will be special rates for students, excellent presentations, lots of chances for interaction with knowledgable folks. Check it out!

Where: Holiday Inn, 211 Dexter Ave. North, Seattle, WA 98109—Hotel Front Desk: 1-206-728-8123 | Hotel Fax: 1-206-728-2779 (Group Reservation Code: Morningside
When: 4-6 November 2010
Registration: See the Celeration.org page pointing to the Paypal form for the registration link!

Why not only positives?

Teacher A: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have to use any aversive procedures. Punishment is such a drag.

Teacher B: Yes! I agree. Positive reinforcement is sooo powerful—shaping, schedules, maintenance, and all that. You can do just about everything with it.

Teacher A: Really. I mean, we should make our classes totally positive this year. No negatives. None!

As strongly as I advocate the use of positive strategies in classroom management (“Catch ’em being good!”), I have to acknowlege that there are at least three reasons it is impossible to create behavior management systems that exclusively employ positive reinforcement. Here’s why reasonable folks should resist the superficial appeal of the all-positive or positives-only Chimera.

Continue reading ‘Why not only positives?’

Why animal research matters

In “Like a Rat: Animal research and your child’s behavior” that they penned for Slate, Alan Kazdin and Carlo Rotella explain why it is sensible to infer methods for modifying human behavior from research on rats, pigeons, and monkeys. They quite clearly show how what we know from systematic research on infra-human organisms applies to us, the magnificently complicated, subtle, and rational organisms—at least as we seem to see ourselves.

Psychologists who work with children and families tend to avoid mentioning to parents that the treatments they use are often based on research done on animals. It’s no secret that the widely used technique of the timeout was developed in studies on rats or that important early research leading to treatments for anxiety in humans was done on dogs, cats, and other species—but the subject doesn’t come up a lot in conversation. We will confess to doing our bit to perpetuate this professional shyness about animal research by tiptoeing around it….

If you, dear reader, have ever wondered why research about pressing levers or pecking disks matters for changing human behavior or have had someone ask you a question about the connection between research conducted in a laboratory with animals and learner performance, you should read Professors Kazdin’s and Rotella’s “Like a Rat: Animal research and your child’s behavior.”

By the by, it’s just one of many excellent pieces that they’ve published on Slate.

News account about classroom management

In “Controlling a classroom isn’t as easy as ABC” Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles (CA, US) Times describes teachers’ struggles and successes with classroom management. She also reports what teachers say are important and unimportant components of management.

Not only does she describe conflicts in the classrooms, but the recommendations she received about management show conflicts, too. She captures this disagreement concisely with this example: “Some teachers, for example, offer rewards for good behavior; others believe that creates a false motivation.”

Here are recommendations I gleened from the teachers in Mr. Mehta’s article:

  • Consistency
  • Follow through
  • Caring
  • Clear behavioral expectations
  • Automatic consequences
  • Address misbehavior quickly and dispassionately
  • Ignore what you learn in teacher education

For the most part, these seem sensible and appropriate. But, they also seem platitudinous and generic. If teachers are served this sort of stuff in teacher education, then I can even agree with the last one.

Instead, we need to teach more operational and evidence-based practices. I hope that’s what I accomplish in my classes. Mayhaps I don’t. Sigh.

Link to “Controlling a classroom isn’t as easy as ABC.”




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