Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

Don Baer Lecture: The Current Future of Behavior Analysis in Educational Settings

Janet Twyman (blast)

Invited Paper



Biography:Dr. Janet Twyman is an educator, instructional designer, and founder of blast: A Learning Sciences Company. Always passionate about education, Janet has been a pre-school and public school teacher, administrator, researcher, and university professor. She currently holds a faculty appointment as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and formerly served as Director of Innovation and Technology for the U.S. Dept of Education funded Center on Innovations in Learning, and as Vice President of Instructional Development, Research, & Implementation at Headsprout. Her numerous articles, book chapters, and presentations address behavior analysis, instructional design, technology, and educational systems, and include co-editing books on educational innovation, personalized learning, and equity. She has presented to and worked with education systems, organizations, and institutions over 60 states and countries, including speaking about technologies for diverse learners and settings at the United Nations. In 2007-08 she served as the President of the Association for Behavior Analysis and in 2014 was named an ABAI Fellow. For her distinguished contributions to educational research and practice she received the 2015 Wing Award for Evidence-based Education and the 2017 American Psychological Association Division 25 Fred S. Keller Behavioral Education Award.



In his 1988 chapter of a similar name, Don Baer described the then-current accomplishments of behavior-analytic approaches to public education. These included the ability to transform student and teacher behavior and refine curriculum; however rather than offer a laundry list of the ways behavior analysis has and could improve education, he instead reiterated the question he and Don Bushell asked seven years earlier: “Why hasn't behavior analysis done more?” Despite their incisive analysis of the school as an organization and the environment and cultural implications of change, almost 40 years later behavior analysts continue to lament a lack of widespread acceptance and use of behavior analysis in education. Perhaps our collective lamenting is misplaced. Perhaps behavior analysis is more pervasive in schools than we recognize. Perhaps we could do more by analyzing a network of contingencies--not just of education systems but of our own approaches. By fusing contingency analyses, education, and technologies (tools and processes), the current and future opportunities for behavior analysts are limitless.


Modifed by Eddie Soh