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

Event Details

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Symposium #205
Increasing Teacher Praise During Instruction
Sunday, May 29, 2005
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Private Dining Room 2 (3rd floor)
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Lloyd D. Peterson (Idaho State University)
Discussant: Joseph H. Wehby (Vanderbilt University)
Abstract: One component of effective instruction is teacher praise (Heward, 2003; Sutherland et al., 2002). This symposium will consist of three presentations that evaluated the effects of specific independent variables that influenced teacher praise during instruction. First, Susan Silvestri will present the results of a study that evaluated the effects of a self-scoring intervention on teacher praise and reprimands. Her results showed that self-scoring was effective in increasing positive statements for 3 of 4 participants and decreasing negative statements for all participants. Next, Michelle Anderson will describe a study that evaluated the effects of public posting and group contingencies on the praise rates of paraprofessionals. Her results showed that public posting and group contingencies were successful in producing increased praise in the paraprofessionals. Then, Laura Rismiller will discuss the results of a study that evaluated the relation between opportunities to respond (OTR) and teacher praise. In this study, OTR was manipulated to observe whether a functional relationship between OTR and teacher praise exists. Results showed no relationship between OTR and praise until after a praise training procedure was implemented. Finally, Joseph Wehby will summarize the findings of these studies and discuss how these findings impact teacher training practice and future research.
Effects of Self-Scoring on Teachers' Rates of Positive and Negative Statements During Instruction
SUSAN M. SILVESTRI (Hawthorne Country Day School), William L. Heward (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: This study examined the effects of self-scoring on teachers' subsequent positive statements during classroom instruction. Four teachers employed at a large Midwestern elementary charter school participated. The dependent variables of interest included the rates of generic positive statements, behavior-specific positive statements, and negative statements, and the percentage of statements repeated within each session. The self-scoring intervention consisted of meetings with the experimenter in which participating teachers selected a 5-minute sample of an audiotaped session, timed and recorded their positive statements, graphed the total number of positive statements, and set a goal for the total number of positive statements for the next recording session. One participant took part in two additional conditions that assessed the effects of self-scoring generalization videotapes, and one participating teacher took part in a condition in which she selected an additional tactic (using a tactile cueing device) to aide in increasing positive statements. Results demonstrated increases in positive statements for three of four participants. The rate of negative statements decreased for all four participants. Three participants showed moderate, but short-lived increases in positive statements during generalization sessions. Results are discussed in terms of the function of the self-scoring sessions. Limitations of the study are addressed.
Using Public Posting and Group Contingencies to Increase Rates of Behavior-specific Praise by Behavioral Intervention Aides Working with Children with Autism
MICHELLE A. ANDERSON (The Ohio State University), William L. Heward (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: We used a multiple baseline across subjects design to evaluate the effects of public posting and group contingencies on rates of contingent behavior-specific praise by paraprofessionals working with children with autism. Twelve behavioral intervention aides shadowing students with autism at school participated in the study. Each aide was part of a group of three or four aides assigned to work with one of four children, ages 5 to 8 years. The aides wore wireless microphones throughout the study during each session with the students. Data were collected from randomly selected sample of audio-recordings on rates of behavior-specific praise (e.g., “Great job writing your name on your paper!”) and generic praise statements (e.g., “Great job!”) made by the aide to the child during ongoing instructional activities. During intervention praise rates for each team of aides were posted on a chart in the classroom, and each team that met its daily specific praise rate goals were awarded tickets, which were later exchanged for team prizes (e.g. gift certificates to restaurants and movie theaters). The aides' rates of overall praise and their rates of behavior-specific praise increased during the intervention phase.
Effects of Praise Training and Increasing Opportunities to Respond on Teachers' Praise Statements and Reprimands During Classroom Instruction
LAURA LACY RISMILLER (Antioch University-McGregor), Stephanie M. Peterson (Idaho State University), Lloyd D. Peterson (Idaho State University)
Abstract: The purpose of the proposed study was to extend the results of Sutherland et al. (2002), who demonstrated a strong positive correlation between OTR and teacher praise for students with EBD. The current study extended the results of the Sutherland et al. study by attempting to examine whether a causal relation between OTR and teacher praise existed. This was accomplished by manipulating OTR and observing the effects of increased OTR on teacher praise using a within subjects research design. This study also extended the results of the Sutherland et al. study by investigating the relation between OTR and praise in general education classrooms. Social validity measures were included to assess student and teacher perceptions of high and low rates of OTR and praise. Results from this study revealed no functional relationship between OTR and teacher praise. Furthermore, results showed no relationship between OTR and naturally-occurring teacher praise; however, after praise training was implemented with 2 participants, there was a significant relation between OTR and teacher praise. Lastly, the study revealed positive student and teacher perceptions of classroom instruction characterized by high rates of OTR and teacher praise.



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