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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Symposium #445
CE Offered: BACB
Analyses of Behavior Analytic Approaches to Teaching
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jason C. Bourret (New England Center for Children)
CE Instructor: Jason C. Bourret, M.S.

The presentations in this symposium describe analyses of common teaching methods. The first presentation describes a study in which the experimenters examined the effects of video modeling as a supplement to a least-to-most intrusive prompting method in establishing behavior chains. In the second presentation, the experimenters describe a study in which they evaluated the effectiveness of, and preference for, three teaching strategies that are commonly implemented in early childhood classrooms. In the third presentation, a study is described in which the experimenters used a concurrent-chains procedure to evaluate the effectiveness of and preference for three teaching methods. In the fourth presentation, a human-operant study is described in which the experimenters investigated variables controlling teachers placement of stimuli in a discrete-trial format.

Combining Video Modeling and Least-to-Most Intrusive Prompting for Establishing Behavior Chains.
NATALIE MURZYNSKI (New England Center for Children), Jason C. Bourret (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: In the present study, video modeling in addition to least-to-most prompting was compared to least-to-most alone in teaching daily-living skills in the form of behavior chains. Two boys with the diagnosis of autism (ages 8 and 9) participated. A parallel-treatments design with replication was used to examine the effects of combining video modeling with a least-to-most prompting strategy in establishing daily-living skills task analyzed into behavior chains. The results of the present study showed that, in all cases, the participants acquired the task taught with video modeling plus least-to-most prompting in fewer trials than with least-to-most prompting alone.
An Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Social Validity of Three Practices in Early Childhood Education.
NICOLE HEAL (University of Kansas), Gregory P. Hanley (University of Kansas), Stacy A. Layer (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Although it is generally agreed that learning occurs through children’s interactions with their environments, the manner in which the teacher mediates this learning varies across early childhood classrooms. In this study, we used a multielement design to evaluate the effectiveness of 3 commonly implemented teaching strategies that varied in teacher directedness. Strategy I consisted of a brief exposure to the target relations (Spanish names of colors and animals), followed by a child-led play period in which praise was provided for correct responses, but teacher prompts were not issued. Strategy II was similar except that teacher prompts to vocalize relations and error correction (model and practice) were arranged. Strategy III contained the same procedures as II except that a brief period of teacher –led trials was arranged (timed prompts, tokens for correct responding, back-up activity reinforcers). In addition, a concurrent chains arrangement was used to measure the children’s preferences for the strategies. Interobserver agreement was collected on over 30% of sessions and mean agreement was 90% or higher for all measures. Results indicated that Strategy III was the most effective; however, children’s preferences varied between Strategies I and III. Implications for the design of early educational environments are discussed.
An Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Preference for Three Teaching Tactics which Vary in Initial Task Difficulty.
STACY A. LAYER (University of Kanasas), Emma Hernandez (University of Kanasas), Gregory P. Hanley (University of Kanasas), Kathryn Welten (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Although providing care and safety for young children have been primary roles of preschool teachers, many teach a variety of academic skills. We used a concurrent chains procedure in the current study to evaluate the effectiveness of and preference for three teaching contexts (i.e., errorless, moderate, trial-and-error) with 8 preschool children. The relative efficacy was determined by comparing levels of correct responding during terminal links (where the children experienced the contexts) while preference was determined by observing relative response rates in the initial links (where children chose the context.) Interobserver agreement was collected for a minimum of 30% of sessions and mean agreement was 90% or higher for all measures. The teaching contexts differed in initial task difficulty along two dimensions involving the pre-response prompting and the consequences for incorrect responding. Initially, the errorless context resulted in near zero errors, the moderate context resulted in moderate number of errors, and the trial-and-error teaching tactic resulted in the most number of errors. Results indicate that correct responding was highest in the trial-and-error context for four of the six children and preference for the contexts varied across participants.
Analog of Teachers' Tendencies to Reinforce Side Preferences.
JORGE RAFAEL REYES (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida), Elizabeth S. Athens (University of Florida)
Abstract: Discrete trial training methods are commonly used to train basic skills in individuals with developmental disabilities. In some cases, the participant may have a side preference and pick whatever stimulus happens to be in a particular location. The current study utilized a human operant preparation involving automated “student” responses (“students” were computerized representations) to investigate the effects of side preferences on “teacher’s” placement of stimuli in a discrete trial format (“teachers” were college undergraduates). Study 1 investigated teacher’s placement of the targeted stimulus in response to various strengths of side preferences. Study 2 investigated the effects of having student performance criteria and feedback on the placement of stimuli. Study 3 investigated the effects of competing instructions to randomize the stimuli and performance criteria for the student. Results of study 1 and 2 indicated that teachers were likely to place targeted stimuli in the locations where the student chose more often (preferred side). In fact, teacher placement of stimuli closely matched the proportional rate of reinforcement if a student’s “correct” response is considered to be a reinforcer. The results of study 3 showed a decrease in placement of the targeted stimulus on the preferred side. Implications for the use of discrete trial training will be discussed.



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