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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #498
CE Offered: BACB
Write, Dance, Play: Behavior Analysis and Precision Teaching in the Arts
Monday, May 30, 2022
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 205B
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Abigail B. Calkin (Calkin Consulting Center)
CE Instructor: Abigail B. Calkin, Ph.D.
Abstract: Applications of behavior analysis and precision teaching to the arts are few and far between, but not for any lack of opportunities and benefits. Our science of behavior offers practices that can help facilitate behavior change in these domains and a precision measurement approach that can detect improvements or pitfalls in elite performance. This symposium examines some innovative behavior-analytic approaches to enhancing outcomes in the realms of creativity and the performing arts. Attendees will explore the application of methods for measuring and improving the process and products of writing, the fluent footwork of dancing, and the precision-oriented practice and expressive performance habits of professional musicians. This intriguing look at the arts through a behavior-analytic lens offers research and practice implications to serve clients in this often-overlooked realm and ultimately sheds new light on the behavioral practices that shape creativity and artistic mastery.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): creativity, performing arts, precision teaching, standard celeration
Target Audience: Foundational knowledge of the concepts and principles of behavior analysis
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) generate a writing pinpoint to chart on the standard celeration chart; (2) state the components skills of tap dancing; (3) state the components of a behavioral program for classical concert musicians.
Writing on Writing
ABIGAIL B. CALKIN (Calkin Consulting Center)
Abstract: It is uncommon to find a behavior analytic or a scientific analysis of creativity or of creative behaviors of people in the arts. This talk looks at some thoughts on the processes of creativity, the use of direct instruction to teach writing to high school students, and samples of students' and one adult's writing behaviors. This presentation includes analyses of the author’s writing behaviors across three years while writing a work of creative nonfiction, behavior analysis articles, and many poems. The data analyses of writing a book include daily frequencies, celeration, and variability of behavioral and environmental events all displayed on standard celeration charts. Included are charts of one project that show the processes of writing (generating new ideas, thinking about writing) as well as the written products (words written, edits made) can be analyzed behaviorally. The presentation includes writing samples and charts of the behaviors of writing a book, articles, as well as student writing products.

A Component-Composite Analysis of Tap Dancing: Precision Teaching for the Performing Arts

MARISELA PALLARES (High Sierra Industries)

Dancing is a complex behavioral repertoire involving a myriad of gross and fine-motor skills. Repertoires that involve complexity of this sort typically develop over the course of many years. Most elite athletes and performers, for example, reach top-flight status after thousands of hours of intensive practice (Erricson & Tesch-Romer, 1993). Though there is an appreciation among dancers of the time investment necessary to become a proficient performer, it is rare to see evidence-based approaches for teaching dance. This talk will describe how a precision teaching (PT) framework was used systematically to build the skills of tap dancers to fluent levels. The study explored the possibility of building a tap-dance curriculum through a component-composite analysis, which suggests that the arrangement of skills in an instructional sequence contributes to the efficiency of learning. Using this approach may be advantageous for dancers and artists alike since it is likely that levels of proficiency may be reached more efficiently, while reducing the opportunity for building “bad habits.”

Practice and Performance Skills for Concert Musicians
ADAM HOCKMAN (MGH Institute of Health Professions & ABA Technologies)
Abstract: Modern concert musicians face numerous challenges as they advance in their skill level and career. Most music programs and conservatories offer insufficient training for musicians who wish to develop robust practice, performance, and professional skills that meet the demands of the competitive performing arts environment. Further, the training and support students do receive is often incomplete and only works for specific problems. This talk will review a behavior-based practice and performance skills program inside of an intensive summer institute for young classical musicians. Across the six-week program, students participate in private instrumental lessons, performance and communication classes, chamber ensembles, and public concerts. Additionally, students elect to attend workshops that teach behavior-based practice and performance skills. These sessions combine foundational behavior change concepts and procedures, precision teaching, Goldiamond’s constructional approach, and Mechner’s performance technology into a comprehensive instructional and coaching program that targets the individual performer’s needs. Programmatic data, lessons learned, and a high-level scope and sequence will be reviewed. Individual performer data on the standard celeration chart will also be shared.



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