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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #169
Bridging the Education Culture Gap
Sunday, May 25, 2014
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
W194b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: EDC/PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Ronnie Detrich (The Wing Institute)

The goal of the evidence-based practice movement in education is to assure that all decisions about services that impact students are informed by evidence. It is disappointing that this is often not the case. One of the reasons this is the case is there is a significant culture within education that has a very different perspective about what constitutes science, the nature of teaching, data, and the effects of reinforcement. This alternative culture has made it difficult to introduce and implement research-based programs and interventions in schools. In this symposium we will describe what we mean by culture, the cultural gap in education, why it is important to bridge the gap, and how the differences in culture impact educational decisions. Finally, a set of principles and strategies based on the work of dissemination and implementation scientists will be described to bridge the gap. It will be argued that the adoption and implementation of an intervention is a social process and as such there are social contingencies that influence the rate of adoption and the quality of implementation. An understanding of the relevant contingencies may allow for greater adoption of effective, scientifically supported interventions.

Keyword(s): evidence-based education, implementation science
Culture Mapping: A Functional Analysis of the Education Culture Landscape
RANDY KEYWORTH (The Wing Institute)
Abstract: The influence of different education cultures continues to be one of the most challenging obstacles to effective school reform. These cultural values and beliefs impact critical decisions in our education system involving all levels (federal, state, local, school, classroom), components (standards, instruction, evaluation, contingencies, resources), strategies (regulations, policies, systems, curriculum, practices, behavior) and individual stakeholders (politicians, policy makers, administrators, teachers, parents). This session will use functional analysis to create a culture map of these various cultural forces, analyzing the contingencies that shape their behavior and the contingencies they use to try and shape the behavior of others. It will examine the role culture has played, and continues to play, in how decisions are made (adoption) and how they are carried out (implementation). And finally, it will describe the current landscape in terms of the status of specific active reform initiatives and the challenges of reconciling multiple cultural perspectives.
Why Science Has Not Had A Greater Impact On Education?
JOHN E. STATES (The Wing Institute)
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of science on reform of American schools. Despite over 40 years of rigorous research as to what works and what doesn’t, we find that the science of teaching and in particular, Behavior Analysis, have failed to make the impact on student performance we would have anticipated. This can in large part be attributed to resistance from the predominant cultures in education whose values are often based on bad science, pseudo-science, and/or ideology that directly conflict with the empirical approach to solving educations many challenges. The divide between the explicit instruction and less empirically grounded models such as the constructivists continues to grow. To achieve the potential that science has to offer our schools, it is imperative that we come to understand why we have not succeeded. We will attempt to construct a clearer understanding by defining culture as a powerful influence on educators, look at how we got to the current impasse, examine the values and practices commonly ascribed to difference traditions, and explore efforts to reconcile the differing camps.
Stranger in a Strange Land: Implementation Science for Behavior Analysis
RONNIE DETRICH (The Wing Institute)
Abstract: Often behavior analysts find themselves working with individuals and organizations that have very different perspectives about how educational problems should be solved. Our usual response has been to either show them the data in hopes they “see the light” or try to persuade them through rational discourse. These have been weak means of influencing the audience. The problem is not just a problem for behavior analysis but is common across human service disciplines. Scientists have not been very effective for making the case for evolution or climate change by relying on the scientific evidence to be persuasive. Workers attempting to bring Western technology to parts of the developing world face a daunting task when faced with cultures that do not share a Western perspective about science. There is an alternative to direct efforts at persuasion. The emerging field of implementation science offers guidance about the variables that influence the adoption and implementation rate of innovations. This paper will review the principles from implementation science and propose how they can be used to impact the adoption rate of effective, scientifically based instructional practices.



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