Jul
31

Behavior Analysis – Where a Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

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Almost every classroom has at least oneobstreperous student, many have several. Some teachers have or develop ways to deal with these students, others don’t. These students are often removed from class, sent to the principal’s office, suspended or even expelled. In many cases, they will be diagnosed with some condition, emotionally disturbed, ADHD, etc. Such a diagnosis plants the problem squarely inside the child and relieves the school of any real responsibility.

Sometimes, behavior modification is recommended. A program is designed and implemented and in many situations has little, if any, effect and after a brief sojourn, is abandoned. Behavior management programs are then discounted, put on the shelf and deemed not to work.

If one takes a closer, even more critical look at the process, a number of features typically stand out.

First and foremost, the program that was implemented was not a replication of one that is among the almost 100,000 reported research studies in the journals using behavior analysis to solve classroom behavior management problems.

·      Secondly, the proposed program sprung full-blown and untested from the mind of some teacher, special education specialist or other consultant who in most cases, turns out not to have an extensive background in applied behavior management.

·      Thirdly, and most critically, no data is collected with the procedure so that no data-based decisions can be employed to determine the program’s effectiveness.

·      Finally, this is not a “behavior management program” at all,  just an attempt to mimic what its originator thinks behavior management to be based on their limited knowledge and belief.

If you want to know whether of not the attempted remediation is, in fact, a “behavior management program”, ask to see the data.

Here’s the rule: No recorded data equals no behavior management program. Full stop. No exceptions.

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