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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #274
CE Offered: BACB

2006 ABA Tutorial: Professional Development Series: Introduction to Precision Teaching.

Monday, May 29, 2006
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Centennial Ballroom II
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Kent Johnson, Ph.D.
Chair: Katie Endicott (Utah State University)
KENT JOHNSON (Morningside Academy), Kendra L. Brooks Rickard (University of Nevada, Reno)
Dr. Kent Johnson founded Morningside Academy, in Seattle, Washington, in 1980, and currently serves as its Executive Director. Morningside is a laboratory school for elementary and middle school children and youth. Morningside investigates effective curriculum materials and teaching methods, and has provided training and consulting in instruction to over 90 schools and agencies throughout the USA and Canada since 1991. Dr. Johnson has served in all the positions at Morningside, including classroom teacher for 10 years, financial manager, administrator, teacher trainer, school psychologist and school consultant. He has published several seminal papers about research-based curriculum and teaching methods. Most recently he published a book, The Morningside Model of Generative Instruction: What It Means to Leave No Child Behind, with Dr. Elizabeth Street (2004, Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies). The Morningside Model focuses upon foundation skills in reading, writing, mathematics, thinking, reasoning, problem solving, studying core content, and project-based learning. Over 18,000 students and over a thousand teachers have used the Morningside Model of Generative Instruction. Dr. Johnson is also a co-founder of Headsprout, Inc., a Seattle-based company funded by investors to develop web-based, interactive, cartoon-driven instructional programs. The first product is currently available: Headsprout Early Reading, from Prior to founding Morningside, Dr. Johnson was professor at Central Washington University, director of staff training at the Fernald School in Massachusetts, and instructional designer at Northeastern University in Boston. He received his M.S. (1974) and Ph.D. (1977) in psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst under the mentorship of Drs. Beth Sulzer-Azaroff, Ellen Reese, and John Donahue. He received his B.S. in psychology and sociology from Georgetown University (1973), under the mentorship of Dr. J Gilmour Sherman. He also counts Drs. Fred Keller, Charles Ferster, B. F. Skinner, Susan Markle, John Dewey, Robert Gagne, Siegfried Engelmann, Ogden Lindsey, Israel Goldiamond, Arthur Whimbey, and colleague Joe Layng as major influences on his work. Dr. Johnson enjoys reading philosophy, mysteries, ancient history, psychology, and books about teaching and children. He also enjoys rock, electronic downbeat and ambient music; and talking about politics and public policy.

Precision Teaching is a method of monitoring the frequency of performance on a specially designed graph known as the standard celeration chart. Users of the chart record the frequency of a behavior, a measure that is maximally sensitive to events that influence behavior. The chart incorporates a multiple scale to most adequately reflect the growth of behavior over time. By drawing a line through the frequencies of behavior over time the user can also quantitatively measure learning: the acceleration and deceleration of behavior. I will describe how Precision Teaching has been integrated in Morningside Academys Generative Instruction model as a core technology. Using charted data as our guide we have developed frequency-building procedures to improve the academic as well as social and interpersonal behaviors that we teach our students. Specifically, charted data have helped us to maximize the accuracy of performance as well as the acceleration of behavior to frequencies that predict retention, endurance, stability and application of behavior. These outcomes we collectively define as behavioral fluency. Charted data across a range of instructional objectives will be presented, showing the influence of various instructional interventions upon performance accuracy and celeration. The charted data come from our laboratory school in Seattle, Morningside Academy, CAL Learning Center in Reno, Nevada, and from many of the 97 public schools and agencies Morningside has had partnerships with throughout the USA and Canada. I will also show how frequency building and celeration have been incorporated in our online, interactive early reading program, Headsprout. BCBAs and BCABAs will learn an important technology that they can immediately implement in their research or with their clients.




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