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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W45
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Thinking and Reasoning Skills with Thinking Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS)
Friday, May 27, 2005
6:00 PM–9:00 PM
Lake Erie (8th floor)
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Kent Johnson, Ph.D.
KENT JOHNSON (Morningside Academy), JOANNE K. ROBBINS (Morningside Academy), KRISTINE F. MELROE (Morningside Academy)
Description: We often tell students to think, but many are quite unsure what we mean by that. Analytical skill is often an expected ability or talent, and not directly taught. By analytical ability, most teachers mean the set of thinking and reasoning skills that we use to comprehend literature and textbooks, understand lectures, and apply knowledge to solve problems. Analytical ability is also required to score well on tests such as standardized reading comprehension tests, mathematical aptitude tests, and academic aptitude tests such as the SAT. Analytical skills are also important in invention, discovery, creativity and solving interpersonal communication problems. While acknowledging that these analytical skills are very important, most teachers do not have systematic methods for teaching them. Teachers may encourage analytical thinking, and even demonstrate it now and again in their teaching, but such demonstration and encouragement are always deeply embedded in the context of teaching something new in a social or natural science class, or in math or English literature. So how does one systematically teach analytical skills? In a radical behavior analysis, much of what we call thinking and reasoning involves a private conversation with oneself as a speaker and as a listener and reactor to ones own speaking. These conversation skills can be learned. From a radical behavioral account we can identify key thinking and reasoning repertoires that we can teach to learners in order to teach them analytical skills and improve their skills at figuring out solutions to problems. One powerful method for improving students analytical ability is called TAPS, Thinking Aloud Problem Solving. It was designed by Arthur Whimbey, and further developed by the Morningside instructional design team. It is a direct, logical extension of a radical behavioral account of thinking and reasoning. TAPS directly teaches teachers how to directly teach students analytical thinking skills. It does this by teaching both teachers and students how to verbalize their thinkingtheir observations, thoughts, and decisions as a speaker, their reactions and adjustments as a listener to their own speaking, and how speakers and listeners dialogue. The context for learning these skills may be puzzles and brain teasers, logic problems, mathematical word problems, physics problems, verbal analogy questions, or reading comprehension exercises-- whatever the teacher deems appropriate for their learners. In TAPS, teachers model good talk aloud problem solving, and peers practice with each other in pairs. During their talking out loud, students get feedback from their teacher and peers, and often hear themselves more clearly and provide their own self-corrections. Later, students learn to engage in self-dialogue, at first out loud, and then privately as they become expert reasoners and problem solvers. Our data show that students who learn TAPS in addition to basic academic skills make significantly more gains on standardized tests than students who learn only specific academic skills. Workshop participants will receive a minimal amount of materials to allow them to participate in practice exercises. We encourage you to purchase Morningsides TAPS three-ring binder in the ABA bookstore for $60. It includes all the materials we will present in our slide shows, as well as articles and teaching materials which will allow you to implement TAPS immediately upon your return home. Your workshop experience will be enhanced if you purchase this notebook in the ABA bookstore before you attend the workshop This workshop is offered in honor of Arthur Whimbey, who died this past year. We also have a symposium during the convention to pay tribute to Whimbeys important work in showing that intelligence can be taught.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, the participant will be able to: - Learn to say and write the speaker, listener, and dialoguing repertoires of TAPS while solving logic and other problems. - Practice the speaker, listener, and dialoguing repertoires of TAPS while solving logic and other problems. - Learn to say and write how to coach others as they practice TAPS. - Practice coaching others as they practice TAPS.
Activities: We will demonstrate the steps we take to teach students the speaker, listener, and dialoguing behaviors involved in reasoning and analytical thinking. We will model and prompt these behaviors, then you will practice them in speaker/listener pairs while solving logic, verbal analogy, and math exercise of all kinds. During your talking aloud, you will get feedback from Morningside consultants as well as your peers. Then you will practice the behavior out loud "in the same skin" and eventually privately. You will also learn how to coach these behaviors.
Audience: All teachers, behavior therapists and specialists, staff trainers, college professors, and others who work with learners who need to improve their analytical skills. Students must have the verbal skills necessary to speak their thinking and reasoning out loud.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Basic



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