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 #235
A Constructional Approach to Student Mentoring
Sunday, May 24, 2009
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
North 222 C
Area: CBM/EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Kelly Tait (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Paul Thomas Andronis (Northern Michigan University)
Abstract: An inherent mantra for mentors is that they should find a ‘guiding theory’ fitting their beliefs and styles, using this within the mentoring session. This idea is so important that without a theory to guide action, mentors “would be vulnerable, directionless creatures bombarded with literally hundreds of impressions and pieces of information in a single session” (Prochaska & Norcross, 2003). Our findings suggest that a constructional rather than a pathological approach can be very effective in allowing for a productive and progressive mentoring session. The first presentation outlines our guiding model, a constructional approach to student mentoring and contrasts its unique position to a pathological orientation to working with students to identify and reach goals. The second presentation explores the extent of a useful tool within our guiding model in a group setting emphasizing its application for the classroom. The third presentation takes the constructional student mentoring model and demonstrates its application highlighting data collection methodology produced through inductive mentoring sessions. Colleagues, the constructional approach is approaching! Let’s Go!
The Roots of a Solid Future for Students: A Constructional Approach to Student Mentoring
TIMOTHY ALLEN LIDEN (University of North Texas), J. A. Levine (University of North Texas), Kelly Tait (University of North Texas), Ana A. Baumann (Washington University), Daniele Ortu (University of North Texas), Kimberly L. James-Kelly (University of North Texas), Michelle Lamancusa (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: A typical approach to student mentoring involves alleviating problems students bring to the table; if the student is failing science, then tutoring in science is needed. By simply ‘putting out fires’, the mentor focuses on behavior deficits and ways to correct problems students put forth; a pathological orientation (Goldiamond, 1984). Rather than focusing on what is wrong or what is lacking, one way a constructional approach is used to help students meet their goals is by focusing on building, transferring, and reestablishing repertoires. Before spotlighting this unique orientation, it is imperative to outline and describe the process of our guiding model which has been successful in helping at-risk students become aware of their own environment and how this affects their feelings about themselves and the world around them. Models of how we collect information about students’ interactions with their environment, how we show changes in students’ feelings about themselves, and our success with improving their lives, as well as their grade point average, will be discussed.
The Constructional Approach in the Classroom: Building a Community for Behavior Change
MICHELLE LAMANCUSA (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Although undergraduate students in behavior analysis classrooms are taught the fundamental principles of a behavioral science, they are rarely successful in using them to arrange their environments to promote effective behavior change in their own lives. The ‘exploratory log’, a tool within the constructional approach model, provides the student with an opportunity to observe the extent with which the environment plays a role in their behavior. A group of at-risk students in an introductory behavior analysis course at the University of North Texas were targeted to be mentored on the exploratory log. Mentoring sessions were conducted once a week in group settings and lasted for 15 minutes either before or after class. Data on changes in student’s daily activities and corresponding emotions were collected and compared to changes in coursework progress. The outcome of this study shows that through the continued use of the exploratory log, students became more aware of how the environment impacts their behavior, thus improving quality and quantity of coursework, all resulting in an overall higher grade for the course.
An Inductive Approach Towards Student-Mentor Interactions: Findings of Dancing Inside the Mentoring Session
J. A. LEVINE (University of North Texas), Timothy Allen Liden (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Under the constructional approach model, dancing inside the mentoring session is a unique metaphor to describe an inductive approach towards student-mentor interactions. Part of the idea behind this interaction involves taking whatever the student gives you and using that information to assist in goal setting. Rather than adopting a fixed process, an inductive approach toward student-mentor interactions has proven highly successful in helping students get to where they want to go. By following the lead of the student, the mentor captures the current level of interaction throughout each session and progress on goal setting flows quiet naturally; an inductive approach. Findings of dancing inside the therapy session suggest (a) an inductive orientation within the constructional student model is an effective approach towards student success, (b) the constructional student model has possibility for greater generality across populations, and (c) a promise for very informative and unique data collection system, presentation, and training methods based on unique contingency arrangements.



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