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.


First International Conference; Italy, 2001

Event Details

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Symposium #7
Advancing the Science of Behavior Analysis in Schools: Challenges to Researchers, Teachers, and Institutions
Thursday, November 29, 2001
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Cloister of the Cypress Hall
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Laura D. Fredrick (Georgia State University)

Currently, the United States is facing the challenge of preparing over two million teachers over the next five years to fill anticipated vacancies due to a large number of retirements and high turn over rates in urban school systems. Posted vacancies in the school leadership ranks document similar patterns. The conversation nationwide continues to focus on how to attract and retain the highest quality teachers and aspiring school leaders but many differing opinions exist as to how to accomplish this daunting task. In addition, the accountability and standards movement has gained steam with a new presidential team in Washington. Behavior Analysis has much to offer in the preparation of highly qualified school personnel and in the implementation of effective instructional systems. However, it is often difficult to bring the principles of behavior analysis to schools of education and to school systems. In our symposium we will address some of the challenges to bringing the principles of behavior analysis to teacher preparation programs, to doing research in behavior analysis in the schools, and to bringing effective instructional programs to the schools. Along with the challenges we offer suggestions for meeting the challenges.

Voice From the Margin: Centering the Discourse in Schools of Education with ABA Principles
DEBORAH A. SHANLEY (Brooklyn College of the City University of New York)
Abstract: Schools of Education must be brought from the margins to the center of the discussions in order for change in school personnel preparation to occur systemically and to be sustained. Research in the field of applied behavior analysis provides the principles of learning and documented effectiveness across a wide range of age groups, abilities, and settings to support this approach. However, the challenge remains for a Dean in a School of Education to anchor the conversations in school personnel preparation around research validated practices when the majority of the faculty is from differing philosophical points of view. Several documented approaches used to engage non-behavioral faculty in a behavioral, outcomes driven discussion will be presented with a full disclosure of the victories and defeats along the way. Incentive systems available in institutions of higher education will be highlighted. Partnerships with local community stakeholders will provide a foundation for an effective strategy to move to the center through non- traditional avenues. A case study using a literacy program will guide the discussion for planning for the future.
Issues for Behavior Analysts in Educational Research Related to Human Rights Protections for Vulnerable Participants
MARY E. BOYLE (State University of New York at New Paltz)
Abstract: Behavior analysts conducting research with children face issues relative to the "vulnerability" of their participants, the ability of participants to assent to research, perspectives of "normal" educational practices by institutional review board (IRB) members, and the development of procedures to insure informed consent. These issues are often further complicated by popular misconceptions of coercion related to the practice of behavior analysis and the resultant problems in analysis of risk/benefit ratios by IRB's, as well as appropriate disclosure of alternative treatments. Risk is justified by benefit. The challenge to the researcher is to demonstrate the probability that the child will respond positively to the experimental variable. The submission of research proposals for review by boards charged with reviewing human rights protections is one of the first steps in the process of education which a behavior analyst completes in order to inform the field of education. As we become more adept at addressing issues of concern to these boards relative to benefit and risk, we will be better prepared to serve our students and assist teachers in the field.
Environmental Challenges to Behavior Analysts' Efforts in the Schools
LAURA D. FREDRICK (Georgia State University)
Abstract: The challenges to doing behavior analytic research in the schools are many, yet without taking our research to the schools it is difficult to advance our applied science or to use what we have learned to help students and teachers. The purpose of this paper is to address some of the many challenges to conducting research and bringing best practices to the schools even after receiving IRB approval. The challenges to be discussed focus on school environment and are based on seven years of conducting reading research in public elementary and middle schools in both inner-city and rural school systems and on implementing a large federal grant for the past two years. Along with the challenges are suggestions for overcoming the challenges. Some of the challenges to be addressed include gaining access to the school, getting buy-in from the teachers, training teachers, adapting the school schedule, providing on-going technical support, gathering implementation data from teachers, doing in-class observations, and keeping everyone happy. The more prepared we are to meet these challenges the more likely we will be successful in our efforts to bring behavior analysis to our schools.



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