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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #404
Shaping Rats and Humans: Approaches to Teaching Undergraduates Behavioral Concepts
Monday, May 25, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 129 B
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Breann E. Plamowski (Salem State College)
Abstract: The use of effective behavioral principles and procedures in teaching is important for creating the conditions under which optimal student learning will occur. The effective teaching of undergraduate students includes the use of behavioral principles and concepts relevant to the task of teaching higher-order thinking skills. This symposium will include four presentations in which comparisons of teaching methods grounded in behavior analytic techniques are made. The comparisons include course components for teaching classical conditioning, shaping, and a variety of non-associative and associative learning processes. The methods considered include labeling (tacts), lecture, modeling, game-playing, interteaching, preparation for discussion, and a computer-aided personalized system of instruction. All of the presentations indicate that course components that require students to emit verbal and textual behavior that can be reinforced are more effective than passive responding. Variations between the approaches will be discussed in terms of the relevant behavior analytic principles and procedures used in teaching these courses at various institutions in both the United States and Canada.
Hands-on Approaches to Teaching Classical Conditioning Concepts
INNA GLAZ KANEVSKY (San Diego Mesa College)
Abstract: Both introductory and advanced students struggle with acquiring application skills with classical conditioning terminology. Novel in- class group activities for acquisition of temporal arrangements of stimuli concepts were evaluated in a sequential design in comparison to a standard lecture presentation, with both conceptual and applied questions on a test. We also investigated the effects of in-class exercises on labeling of the components of classical conditioning procedures, conducted either one time or multiple times during the topic coverage through an electronic student response system. This investigation included comparisons to effects of straight lecture and discussion coverage, or such coverage combined with homework assignments on this topic. It was conducted in a group design across multiple sections of an introductory psychology course as well as in a group design across multiple semesters of a low-level course on learning. In-class labeling activities appear to be superior to other teaching methods in the degree to which the students were able to answer application questions on quizzes and exams.
Using the Shaping Game
KATE KELLUM (The University of Mississippi), Inna Glaz Kanevsky (San Diego Mesa College), Jonathan Weinstein (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Instructor manuals often suggest the use of the Shaping Game to demonstrate reinforcement and extinction in introductory psychology and behavior analysis classes. Although such activities are theoretically consistent with behavior analytic teaching methods, the relevant effects of lecture and the Shaping Game have not been widely reported in the literature. This study investigated the effects of lecture, modeling, and playing the Shaping Game on students' performance on quiz scores. Students' relevant preferences for the activities were also assessed.
Interteaching versus Individual Responses in an Introduction to Learning Course
DARLENE E. CRONE-TODD (Salem State College)
Abstract: Interteaching is one method of teaching higher-order thinking in courses in behavior analysis as well as in other fields. Few studies have systematically compared it with another teaching method across sections. Using student performance data from two sections of an undergraduate learning course, all variables are held constant except the interteaching component of working together in groups. Interteaching and individual responses are varied in a counterbalanced ABAB design to control for order effects and difficulty of the material across the course. Preliminary data indicate little or no difference, and that the main factor is a contingency on preparation for class discussion in general. Consumer satisfaction data will also be presented.
Using the Computer-Aided Personalized System of Instruction to Teach Higher Order Thinking
JOSEPH J. PEAR (University of Manitoba), Darlene E. Crone-Todd (Salem State College)
Abstract: Higher order thinking is the standard term used for the goal of higher education. However, defining what this means has been problbematic, leading to difficulties in studying it empirically. Higher order thinking here is defined in terms of taxonomies of behavior, inclduing both Bloom's taxonomy and a model of Hierchical complexity (MHC). Preivous research indicates that Bloom's taxonomy is not hierachical, but recapitulates at each level of the MHC. A computer-aided personalized system of instruction is utilized to study how students increase behavior related to both Bloom's taxonomy and the MHC.



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