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 #74
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis to Improve Education: An Actively Caring for People (AC4P) Approach
Saturday, May 24, 2014
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
W195 (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: EDC/OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: E. Scott Geller (Virginia Tech)
Discussant: Derek D. Reed (The University of Kansas)
CE Instructor: Derek D. Reed, Ph.D.

The quality of education in the U.S. is substandard, due in part to a school climate of interpersonal conflict and bullying, and few reinforcement contingencies to support prosocial behavior, cooperative education, and behaviors relevant to improving teaching and learning. The four data-based research papers address aspects of the educational crisis, two by implementing a positive approach to successfully prevent bullying in elementary schools (Study 1) and middle schools (Study 2), a third by attempting to motivate student engagement with interteaching, and the fourth by promoting an actively caring for people (AC4P) culture in a university classroom and beyond. Three of the studies (i.e., 1, 2, & 4) demonstrate large-scale potential to benefit educational settings with AC4P principles based on applied behavior analysis. Study 3 reveals a university culture institutionalized to expect and appreciate PowerPoint lectures rather than interactive discussions. The Discussant is Derek Reed, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Board Certified Behavior Analyst Doctoral (Certificate Number 1-07-3903). An Assistant Professor of Applied Behavioral Science at University of Kansas, Dr. Reed will offer valuable insight regarding the conclusions of the presentations, especially the social validity of the AC4P approach to improving the teaching/learning culture. His credentials enable us to provide CEU credits for attendants.

Behavior-Based Intervention to Prevent Bullying in Elementary Schools: Prompting and Rewarding Prosocial Behaviors
JENNA MCCUTCHEN (Virginia Tech), Shane McCarty (Virginia Tech ), Christian Holmes (Virginia Tech ), Kelsey Toney (Virginia Tech)
Abstract: By prompting and rewarding prosocial behavior, an Actively Caring for People (AC4P) intervention reduced interpersonal bullying and victimization 50% or more at two elementary schools (199 4th through 6th graders at one school, and 404 2nd through 6th graders at the other). This approach was based on the behavioral principle: To reduce an undesirable behavior (e.g., bullying behavior), recognize and reward an incompatible, alternative behavior (e.g., prosocial behavior). Teachers asked students to observe and record others’ prosocial behaviors (termed “actively caring”) on 3x5 inch cards. Completed cards were placed in the “AC4P Capsule” – a decorated shoebox in each classroom. Each morning, teachers read aloud three stories from the AC4P Capsule and selected one as the “AC4P story of the day.” The observer and performer for this story received an AC4P wristband to wear for the day. When every student in the classroom earned an AC4P wristband, each student received a wristband to keep. After one week of Baseline at each school, the AC4P intervention was implemented for six consecutive weeks, followed by a week of Withdrawal. Every Friday, students reported their weekly observations of bullying and being bullied. The attached time-series graphs depict these data per grade at one school.

A Positive Approach to Prevent Bullying in Middle Schools: Promoting Prosocial Behavior and Character Strengths

SHANE MCCARTY (Virginia Tech ), Sophia Teie (Virginia Tech ), Melissa Langerman (Virginia Tech ), E. Scott Geller (Virginia Tech)

This paper will summarize the intervention outcomes of the Actively Caring for People (AC4P) approach in two middle schools, which promotes prosocial behaviors and character strengths, as well as prevents undesirable behaviors, including aggression and bullying. Undergraduate research assistants (i.e., AC4P Coaches) delivered an AC4P curriculum to increase prosocial behaviors, using lesson plans, contingencies, behavior-based feedback and goal setting. Coaches taught weekly lessons to develop behavioral skills: a) performing prosocial behavior, b) expressing gratitude, and c) recognizing peers for prosocial actions. Students were told: If you observe a prosocial behavior of a classmate and document it on a notecard, you might be selected to receive an AC4P wristband to wear for the week. Plus, a group contingency was stated: If everyone wears the wristband once, everyone gets a wristband to keep at the conclusion of the lessons. Sixth and seventh-grade students completed surveys as part of the Intervention group (n= 292) and Control group (n=278). These students self-reported their prosocial behaviors as well as perpetration and victimization of aggression and bullying. The attached graph shows a 50% reduction in reported victimization for one intervention school (i.e., C). Further analysis of the data will be discussed, as well as follow-up research.


Fighting Death by PowerPoint: Exploring Ways to Motivate Student Engagement

RUTH-ANNE E. POLI (Virginia Tech), Maria Sugastti (Virginia Tech ), Cailin Clinton (Virginia Tech ), E. Scott Geller (Virginia Tech)

Interteaching was applied in a classroom by periodically encouraging student discussions in dyads prior to an instructor's lecture. The 62 students enrolled in an undergraduate learning course received Lecture-Only versus Lecture-plus-Interteaching on alternating days. We hypothesized: 1) students would perform better on exam questions based on material presented in lectures preceded by interteaching, and 2) interteaching would increase class participation. Two research assistants recorded independently the number of students using laptops, with on-task behaviors defined as typing notes and off-task behaviors as browsing websites. Results indicated interteaching was not a significant predictor of exam scores due to low variance in grades. Laptop users were generally on-task at the start and end of each lecture and off-task at the midpoint of lectures. As the semester progressed, more off-task behaviors occurred for laptop users. On interteaching days, students asked more questions. Compared to other classes, students reported feeling more comfortable participating in this class. However, students ranked PowerPoint lectures and the textbook as most valuable (n=21). We hypothesize the interteaching approach was judged unfavorably (n=22) because students are institutionalized to listen to PowerPoint lectures and not to actively interacting in class. The sample graphs reflect the behavior analysis leading to this conclusion.


Applying AC4P in a Large College Course: From a Class Assignment to Active Engagement

JASON M. HIRST (The University of Kansas), Derek D. Reed (The University of Kansas), Brent Kaplan (The University of Kansas), Amel Becirevic (The University of Kansas)

After discovering the AC4P Movement at ABAIs Behavior Change for a Sustainable World conference, we chose to integrate aspects of the Movement in our college class in order to promote a culture of compassion among our students. We introduced aspects of the AC4P Movement to our students and campus community through our ABSC 100 course at the University of Kansas. An introductory course in applied behavioral science, ABSC 100 focuses on the scientific foundations and applications of behavior analysis. To integrate AC4P into the course, we break the assignment into two activities: (1) students select and define an instance of AC4P they will watch for throughout the semester, and then (2) follow the four steps of the AC4P process (See-Act-Pass-Share). We use a major portion of our operating budget to purchase AC4P wristbands for every student in the class. Thus, students can fully experience the AC4P approach. The response to this assignment was astoundingly positive. We will share our experiences and lessons learned, including use of the new book: Actively Caring for People: Cultivating a culture of compassion edited by Scott Geller. The figure shows the impact of our class on visits to the ac4p website.




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