Tag Archive for 'instruction'

Help kids learn ABA

Sarah M. Teske wrote a delightful book called “Oh No, Henry” that tells a story about how a youngster employs behavioral procedures to teach his new puppy some important life skills. I was fortunate enough to pre-order it and got to read it just a couple of days ago.

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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:

Arts and b mod actually can mix

Perhaps it’s just my perception, but I think a lot of people see the arts and behavioral principles as antithetical. That is, one who embraces the arts holds philosophical views that are incompatible with behaviorism. Of course, this is not true, from my point of view, but I’ve suspected that others considered it true.

Even if it is true on average, I came upon another exception to the rule. Over on Diversified ART , Anita Dallar presented a set of recommendations for teachers that incorporates important elements of basic behavior modification principles. Ms. Dallar, who apparently both makes art and teaches art making, posted the article under the title, “Applying Positive Behavior Modification – A Quick Reference for Teachers.” Give it a read!

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.

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Fryer’s incentives study

Under the title “Should Kids Be Bribed to Do Well in School?” Amanda Ripley of Time Magazine reported about the outcomes of the large-scale study led by Roland Fryer Jr. that tested whether incentive systems affected students’ achievement. Professor Fryer, who collaborated with many others on this ambitious project (> 270 schools), found that rewards for outcomes (e.g., grades and test scores) were less effective than rewards for what he calls “educational production functions” (activities, such as reading and participating, that led to better learning).

Here is how Ms. Ripley characterizes the outcomes:
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