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Old 07-23-2011, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,823 posts, read 39,447,126 times
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Definitely, for most non-disabled learners...and for a good percentage of disabled learners as well. But there are always going to be those for whom there's more going on than what you're doing or not doing instructionally or classroom management-wise that's exacerbating behavior. Which is when the more fine-toothed comb type behavioral approaches come into play.

Most of my students with autism definitely WANT to behave well (most of the time...they, just like any other kids, do have their days when they absolutely LOVE being naughty, etc., and some days, being pissed off is just intrinsically WAY more reinforcing than acting socially appropriately is, to kids with gaps in the area of pragmatics, etc.)...but there are other impeding factors. So my job is to help them develop and use strategies to otherwise respond to those factors as best they can, which is pretty much always going to involve judicious use of positive reinforcement principles.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:05 PM
 
15,308 posts, read 16,874,788 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
Definitely, for most non-disabled learners...and for a good percentage of disabled learners as well. But there are always going to be those for whom there's more going on than what you're doing or not doing instructionally or classroom management-wise that's exacerbating behavior. Which is when the more fine-toothed comb type behavioral approaches come into play.

Most of my students with autism definitely WANT to behave well (most of the time...they, just like any other kids, do have their days when they absolutely LOVE being naughty, etc., and some days, being pissed off is just intrinsically WAY more reinforcing than acting socially appropriately is, to kids with gaps in the area of pragmatics, etc.)...but there are other impeding factors. So my job is to help them develop and use strategies to otherwise respond to those factors as best they can, which is pretty much always going to involve judicious use of positive reinforcement principles.
Oh, I agree, but I would like to see the positive reinforcement be something less *tangible*. My autistic grandson actually responds better to high fives and cuddles than to stickers and other material rewards.
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:17 PM
 
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Our district is implementing PBIS, which is supposed to shape student behavior by rewarding desired conduct and extinguishing undesired actions. I understand the theory, although I agree with nana that research has correlated the externalizing of desired behaviors by giving rewards with the extinguishing of intrinsic motivation.

A greater problem that I see in our school, is that a certain group of our students come to us nearly feral in the ninth grade, already inured to rewards and punishments by their experiences at home and in the juvenile justice system. I can see them pushing the limits for their own entertainment, without ever crossing the line to receiving any negative reinforcement, which will now be seriously limited.

Frankly, I see the whole thing as yet another consulting firm selling a big contract to the district, which hopes to benefit from having fewer disciplinary consequences on record and getting more money through increase average daily attendance. Call me cynical, but I always follow the money when I want to know who is in charge and what they really want.
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:01 PM
 
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Thanks for all your responses. Many of your suggestions are stratagies I have been using for several years.

This year we have a new principal and this is his thing. Most of the children we teach are difficult to say the least. I am unsure how the no consequences thing is going to work. I fear the students will just see it as another way to rampantly run over everyone.
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:06 PM
 
Location: GOVERNMENT of TRAITORS & NAZIS
20,598 posts, read 22,764,019 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirron View Post
This kind of training works well with dogs, not children.

I was in an elementary school like this. What happened was the admin "looked" for positives to give every student recognition. It was so bad that kids would act out, and when they were consoled by admin, change their behavior just to get a pop tart or other rewards..

People will behave appropriately out of choice---NOT COERCION.

WOOF--WOOF---

Doesn't anyone remember Pavlov?
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:34 PM
 
2,920 posts, read 2,913,231 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zthatzmanz28 View Post
I was in an elementary school like this. What happened was the admin "looked" for positives to give every student recognition. It was so bad that kids would act out, and when they were consoled by admin, change their behavior just to get a pop tart or other rewards..

People will behave appropriately out of choice---NOT COERCION.

WOOF--WOOF---

Doesn't anyone remember Pavlov?
Hmm...I think that name rings a bell....
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,823 posts, read 39,447,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
Oh, I agree, but I would like to see the positive reinforcement be something less *tangible*. My autistic grandson actually responds better to high fives and cuddles than to stickers and other material rewards.
Absolutely. You always have to gear the reinforcement to what's most personally reinforcing for the child, but over time, you should be able to shift the reinforcement to what's socially appropriate, adaptable to a variety of situations, etc. Relying on edibles, for instance, requires that you always have edibles available, which may not always be the case. But social praise, high-fives, cuddles, and hugs are always available for immediate reinforcement.

But, for some kids (particularly those with autism that includes severe sensory integration trouble), cuddles will not only NOT be preferred reinforcement, they can be torturous (and it's only socially appropriate for so long...you're not exactly going to be reinforcing a teenager with kisses and tickles). And some kids aren't to the point where social praise means anything significant to them. If attempted reinforcement isn't personally significant, it's not going to work as a reinforcer. Basically, if you don't see the targeted behavior increasing, you haven't found a reinforcer, even if you think it SHOULD be a reinforcer.

I've seen kids who start out finding strictly edibles reinforcing, who go on to different systems and schedules of reinforcement...working for tokens that can be traded in for additional playtime or other meaningful reinforcement, getting reinforced with hugs and cuddles, earning social praise, etc. One of my favorite students ever was a student with Down Syndrome whose biggest reinforcer for forever was earning 15 minutes to take a car ride and blast country music at top volume, singing at the top of his lungs. As he got older, his tastes changed, and he socially matured, and his biggest reinforcer was time spent socializing with peers.

One of the reasons ABA gets a bad rap with naysayers is because some people have only seen reinforcement inappropriately applied, and think that it's just tossing a goldfish cracker at a kid for every right answer in a discrete trial format. But that's not real, or quality ABA (although it may be a starting point for some kids who are at a functionality level at that point where they aren't reinforced by anything else...most ABA pros will move away from edibles as quickly as they can). Since it's sometimes wrongly perceived as just throwing edibles at kids left and right, I can see why some are dubious (my sister-in-law is speech pathologist, and when I first started working at an ABA school, her response was "Oh, that's where they just stuff the kids with mini M&Ms all the time, right?" But, obviously, that's not exactly ABA done right (and, done that way, the M&Ms would eventually cease to have a reinforcing effect...everyone gets satiated, eventually). You have to individualize and vary the reinforcement to do it right.
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,823 posts, read 39,447,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zthatzmanz28 View Post
I was in an elementary school like this. What happened was the admin "looked" for positives to give every student recognition. It was so bad that kids would act out, and when they were consoled by admin, change their behavior just to get a pop tart or other rewards..

People will behave appropriately out of choice---NOT COERCION.

WOOF--WOOF---

Doesn't anyone remember Pavlov?
Why, I do remember Pavlov, and respondent (or, classical) conditioning!

But I also remember Skinner, and operant conditioning, which is actually closer to what people are talking about on this thread, given the use of reinforcement... the two aren't the same, and the latter is more useful in modifying behavior long-term and learning new behavior to replace older, unwanted behavior.

People (and other animals) may well behave appropriately out of choice. But what affects them making that choice? The reinforcement they receive for a particular behavior.

People behave appropriately when it becomes worth it for them to do so. When they're more heavily reinforced for the positive behavior than the negative. If you see persistently negative behavior, it's inevitable that the behavior is getting paid off somehow, somewhere. People do what works to get them what they want. If people get what they want via negative behavior, the negative behavior will continue.
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:20 PM
 
2,920 posts, read 2,913,231 times
Reputation: 3504
Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
Absolutely. You always have to gear the reinforcement to what's most personally reinforcing for the child, but over time, you should be able to shift the reinforcement to what's socially appropriate, adaptable to a variety of situations, etc. Relying on edibles, for instance, requires that you always have edibles available, which may not always be the case. But social praise, high-fives, cuddles, and hugs are always available for immediate reinforcement.

But, for some kids (particularly those with autism that includes severe sensory integration trouble), cuddles will not only NOT be preferred reinforcement, they can be torturous (and it's only socially appropriate for so long...you're not exactly going to be reinforcing a teenager with kisses and tickles). And some kids aren't to the point where social praise means anything significant to them. If attempted reinforcement isn't personally significant, it's not going to work as a reinforcer. Basically, if you don't see the targeted behavior increasing, you haven't found a reinforcer, even if you think it SHOULD be a reinforcer.

I've seen kids who start out finding strictly edibles reinforcing, who go on to different systems and schedules of reinforcement...working for tokens that can be traded in for additional playtime or other meaningful reinforcement, getting reinforced with hugs and cuddles, earning social praise, etc. One of my favorite students ever was a student with Down Syndrome whose biggest reinforcer for forever was earning 15 minutes to take a car ride and blast country music at top volume, singing at the top of his lungs. As he got older, his tastes changed, and he socially matured, and his biggest reinforcer was time spent socializing with peers.

One of the reasons ABA gets a bad rap with naysayers is because some people have only seen reinforcement inappropriately applied, and think that it's just tossing a goldfish cracker at a kid for every right answer in a discrete trial format. But that's not real, or quality ABA (although it may be a starting point for some kids who are at a functionality level at that point where they aren't reinforced by anything else...most ABA pros will move away from edibles as quickly as they can). Since it's sometimes wrongly perceived as just throwing edibles at kids left and right, I can see why some are dubious (my sister-in-law is speech pathologist, and when I first started working at an ABA school, her response was "Oh, that's where they just stuff the kids with mini M&Ms all the time, right?" But, obviously, that's not exactly ABA done right (and, done that way, the M&Ms would eventually cease to have a reinforcing effect...everyone gets satiated, eventually). You have to individualize and vary the reinforcement to do it right.
In our school, that would mean that for each student, eight teachers must determine what that student's individualized reinforcer would be effective. Now, each teacher has between 100 and 150 students. It sounds essential for a one-on-one or small group situation, such you have. But I'm skeptical as to how effectively it will be implemented by the district hierarchy and the personnel whom they have in place to execute the plan. In particular, I wonder how nimbly our cadre of assistant principals, many of whom are still addressed as "Coach", will be able to make the about-face the new mandate will require.
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:26 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,823 posts, read 39,447,126 times
Reputation: 48636
Quote:
Originally Posted by hey teach View Post
Thanks for all your responses. Many of your suggestions are stratagies I have been using for several years.

This year we have a new principal and this is his thing. Most of the children we teach are difficult to say the least. I am unsure how the no consequences thing is going to work. I fear the students will just see it as another way to rampantly run over everyone.
Can you elaborate more on the "no consequences" thing, so I understand what's being proposed, here? I'm assuming it means that you're not to issue punishment. But that's not quite the same thing as no consequences.

There are consequences (both good and bad) to every behavior, whether they're initiated by a teacher or other authority figure, or if they're more naturally/organically occuring.

Say my science class, which is predominantly composed of students with autism spectrum disorders and conduct disorders, has one kid who is not attending to the discussion, participating in the experiment in a socially appropriate manner, etc. but is instead talking out of turn, clowning around, etc. His reinforcement lies in seeking attention from me and the other students, and trying to see if negative behavior is a successful way to get that attention. So, from me, he's not getting it. I don't attend to junk behavior. And, moreover, the other students who ARE on task and participating to the best of their abilities and doing what they know they are supposed to be doing, are getting reinforced by me for behaving appropriately and paying attention.

So, for off-task kiddo, the consequence is that he's not earning the break cards, praise, social attention, tokens to spend on the snack grab bag, etc., like the other kids are, and he sees that. And the other kids aren't attending to his off-task behavior and paying him off with their attention, because they know that then they'll be considered off-task as well and won't receive the perks.

I'm not punishing him, but by not exhibiting the desired behavior, he's acing himself out of access to the reinforcers. The consequence is still there, even though I'm not punishing him. It works pretty well, but, again, ONLY if the reinforcement is something the kid cares about enough to earn it. If, to my off-task kiddo, whatever he's getting by being off-task is more fulfilling and attractive than anything I can offer him by being on-task, it won't work.
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