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.


Fourth International Conference; Australia, 2007

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #25
CE Offered: BACB

If Applied Behavior Analysis Has So Much to Offer Education (and It Does), Why Does Education Take Such Limited Advantage of Its Findings?

Monday, August 13, 2007
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
CE Instructor: William L. Heward, Ph.D.
Chair: Neil T. Martin (The Treehouse Trust)
WILLIAM L. HEWARD (The Ohio State University)
Dr. William L. Heward has had an international impact on improving the education and treatment of people with disabilities by influencing the ways many teachers provide education to those children. He has accomplished this not only through his writing but also his university teaching and advising, consulting to schools and other educational programs, his extensive research programs in the field and numerous presentations at professional meetings for researchers and practitioners. Dr. Heward is perhaps best known for his publication (with Dr. John O. Cooper and Professor Timothy E. Heron) of the extremely widely-read Applied Behavior Analysis, an introduction to behavior analysis. Dr. Heward has written five other books, including Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education, in its eighth edition and translated into multiple foreign languages. In addition, Dr. Heward has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, and has served on the editorial boards of The Behavior Analyst, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Teacher Education and Special Education, Education and Treatment of Children, and Behavior Modification. In addition, Dr. Heward’s peers recognized him for his contributions to education by awarding him the 2006 American Psychological Association's Division 25 Fred S. Keller Behavioral Education Award.

Applied behavior analysiss (ABA) pragmatic, natural science approach to discovering environmental variables that reliably influence socially significant behavior and to developing a technology that takes practical advantage of those discoveries offers humankind our best hope for solving many of our problems. Unfortunately, ABA has had limited impact on society. Using public education as the exemplar, this presentation will explore the question, If ABA is so wonderful, why dont we (society) make greater use of it? Improving the effectiveness of education is one of societys most important problems, and for more than four decades applied behavior analysis has provided powerful demonstrations of how it can promote learning in the classroom. In spite of this evidence, behavior analysis is, at best, a bit player in efforts to reform education. Dr. Heward will identify a dozen reasons why ABA is ideally suited to help improve education, review a somewhat longer list of reasons that work against the widespread adoption of behavioral approaches in education, and suggest some actions that practitioners and researchers can take to enhance and further ABAs contributions to effective education.




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