In one of my classrooms when I was teaching in the early 1970s, I used to give my students tickets, tell them to write their names on the back of each one, and give one to a classmate when the classmate did something that made them feel good. It was a slapdash effort on my part to promote positive interactions among the students and to reverse the usual complaints about what one or another student had done (“tattling”). Christopher Skinner and his colleagues took these same ideas way many steps better. In the place of “tattles” they created “tootles” by combining “tooting” one’s horn with “tattling.”
Tootling is similar to tooting your own horn in that positive behaviors are monitored and reported. However, during tootling students report peers’ positive behaviors, not their own. Tootling is similar to tattling, only, when tootling, peers report incidental prosocial behaviors. (Skinner, Cashwell, & Skinner, 2000, p. 263),
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Ever wondered whether it was worthwhile to send notes home about children’s behavior? This note will not provide comprehensive coverage of home-school communication, but there has been a bit of research about using home-school notes as a means of supporting behavior management. There is a system based on "Daily Behavior Report Cards," (DBRC) which is a broad term used to refer to a cluster of similar techniques. Essentially, teachers develop a fairly simple system for describing behavior and use it to communicate with parents; parents use the data to provide previously arranged consequences at home.
M. Tankersley, T. Landrum,
K. Vannest, & S. Forness
TECBD, Tempe, AZ, 2014
Of course, you can see many of the potential issues. Yes, please sing that song about the positives. Right, you'd need to plan the system so that the student wouldn't encounter terrible sanctions for a low report. You'll think of lots of other issues. More help on that in a few secs.
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Vanguard, the investment company, provides a free product called “My Classroom Economy” that it touts as a way to promote financial literacy. It is something like an extended token economy. Vanguard associates My Classroom Economy with the practices of Raef Esquith, the author of popular education books such as Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire.
The directions vary in specificity. At the primary grades, students are to earn a lump sum of $2 each week, provided they did not break one or two rules (each infraction costs $1). As is obvious, the system was not created to permit particularly fine-grained reinforcement. At the middle grades, students pay “fines” but they are levied at a later time than when the misbehavior occurred, that is, the consequences are not necessarily immediate. So, following the recommendations of Mr Classroom Economy probably would not provide a sound basis for a behavior management system.
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US television’s the Today Show carried a segment about child management featuring Alan Kazdin’s methods. The segment, called “Meltdown! How to tame your tot’s tantrum,” has two main parts. In the first, Matt Lauer describes some basic features of the parent management procedures, described in Professor Kazdin’s book, The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child while one sees brief video clips of a child tantruming, parents interacting with the child, Professor Kazdin discussing behavior management concepts, and a therapist talking with the parents and child. In the second part, Mr. Lauer and Michelle Borba discuss the ideas parent management (getting some of it right and making a few minor misstatements).
It’s marvelous to see that research-based practices are getting mainstream attention. Thanks for people with the background of Professor Kazdin, whom one might say cut his teeth with behavior analysis, we have prominent proponents of effective methods for parents and teachers. An important task is to get those methods into practice, to get them used (with fidelity). Taking to the airwaves offers potential for doing so. Professor Kazdin’s been actively disseminating the ideas via promotion of his book, as a perusal of his Web site will reveal.
I also see this spot as a good tool for teaching about behavior management. I plan to use this snippet in my classes. Of course, not everyone shares my enthusiasm, so I’ll probably pair it with some criticisms of the content. I found one in which a blogger rejected the idea of ignoring misbehavior: “Parenting through a tantrum.”
For more, see the the Yale Parenting Center site.
Regardless of whether you call it soda, pop, or a soft drink, do you think it might cause violent behavior? In “Does Soda Cause Violence? Teens who drink soda may be more likely to get into fights and act violently,” Emily Sohn of Discovery News goes pretty far along the path to answering in the affirmative.
Teenagers who drink lots of soft drinks get into more fights and carry more weapons than their peers who drink less, found a new study.
And while the study couldn’t determine whether soft drinks actually cause violence, the findings add to a growing — yet still controversial — body of research on the effects of nutrition on behavior.
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When repeatedly confronted with evidence about their effectiveness, some who drag their feet about using behaviorally based methods might reluctantly concede that such procdures would be effective in certain circumstances. For example, someone might agree that there is an abundance of evidence that the Good Behavior Game can be used effectively and even concede that employing it with young children has long-term benefits, as evidenced by the strong reviews of an intervention that includes the GBG by the Top Tier Evidence folks. “But,” one might imagine them saying, “That technique would never work with older students. It’s just too childish. Adolescents would see right through it. They’d just laugh at you.”
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