Behavior Intervention 1 RUNNING HEAD: Behavior Intervention Behavioral intervention of a schoolboy displaying low on-task behavior in his classroom Monique Douglas Edith Cowan University Behavior Intervention 2 Abstract The on-task behavior of a schoolboy aged 11 named Alan was monitored over an intervention period of 39 days. This period consisted of observation, intervention and follow-up segments. Target behaviors were defined. These behaviors were then isolated during the intervention to extricate the functional association of antecedents and consequences. Previous studies from the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis were referred to for the structure of the intervention model. The theories of reinforcement and punishment were applied to gain desired behavior and clear target behavior.
Verbal positive reinforcement and positive punishment was used, maintaining a firm consistency throughout the intervening period. To achieve the best result a tightly controlled environment was created to limit any possible distractions. Results obtained during the follow-up period indicated a substantial success for the intervention program. Behavior Intervention 3 Behavioral intervention of a schoolboy displaying low on-task behavior in his classroom Behavior assessments are important applications for gaining insight into the motivation of individuals. By conducting these assessments, target behaviors can be defined. After defining these behaviors, functional relationships can be identified.
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This links the target behavior with antecedents and consequences. Once recognized these antecedents and consequences can be manipulated to influence the target behavior (E banks & Fisher, 2003).
These behavior assessments work as the foundation for behavior modification therapy. Antecedents consist of any events that occur immediately before the target behavior manifests. By manipulating the antecedent it is possible to cause the target behavior to become extinct. Similarly the consequences that occur immediately after the target behavior can also be controlled to eliminate the behavior.
The combined manipulation of both functional relationships provides the best chance for success (Mueller, Sterling-Turner and Scattone, 2001).
Observation is an essential part of behavior modification therapy. This is because of the need to be able to recognize the need to change a behavior and distinguish the antecedents and consequences. All three factors are observable and should be monitored closely to identify the relationship and effect they have on each other. Once these relationships have been identified, behavior therapy can be employed to extinguish undesired behavior replacing it with more appropriate behavior. To correctly observe and assess an individual for an intervention program a measuring process should be designed for the purpose of evaluating their behavior.
Behavior Intervention 4 This measurement process should specify observable actions that the individual indulges in to display their mood. The number of times the action or actions are performed acts as a clear indication of the presence of the target behavior. To limit any variation within collected data, specific times and settings should be tightly controlled when conducting the observations. This observational period acts as the first stage in the general process of any kind of behavior modification therapy. Once observed, the behavior is then identified, targeted and then stopped. Ideally while the inappropriate behavior is being stopped, another desired behavior is being identified, developed, strengthened and maintained.
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Various techniques can be engaged to obtain this outcome. To strengthen positive behavior both positive and negative reinforcement can prove useful. Positive reinforcement relies on rewards that encourage positive behavior. Negative reinforcement strengthens positive behavior through the avoidance of a potential negative condition as a consequence of behavior. Extinction and punishment are other types of reinforcers that discourage negative behavior. Extinction weakens specific behavior by the consequence of that behavior not resulting in a positive outcome or failing to stop a negative condition.
Punishment simply discourages inappropriate behavior by creating negative conditions in response to that behavior. Particular techniques should be selected that are suitable for the intervention. Once implemented, the technique should be consistently maintained until the behavior has been successfully reinforced. In recent years behavior modification strategies have been employed by people working within educational systems to treat students displaying unruly Behavior Intervention 5 behavior (Romaniuk, Miltenberger, Conyers, Jenner, Jurgens and Ringenberg, 2002).
The reasoning behind this desire to treat the behavior stems from the motivation to give the student the best possible skills to deal with their academic and social futures. This report focuses on a specific student intervention of a boy named Allan aged 11 attending a public school in Perth, Western Australia.
His schoolwork during class was of a low standard due to his poor level of on-task behavior. Prone to fidgeting, daydreaming and doodling on papers, Allan concentrated very little on his teacher and assigned activities. The investigation into his low level on-task behavior occurred over a thirty-nine day period consisting of a baseline observational period, an intervention interval conducted on alternate days to baseline observation and a follow-up stage to monitor his progress. Through the use of positive reinforcement and positive punishment it is anticipated that his target behaviors will be eliminated. While carrying out this procedure, behaviors supporting learning and cooperation will also be reinforced through positive coercion.
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Method Participant The participant an 11-year-old boy named Allan served as the focus for the intervention. Attending a public elementary school in Perth, Western Australia Allan was enrolled into a class with twenty-three other children and one male teacher. Since the beginning of the current school year Allan’s schoolteacher has noticed a decreasing lack of quality in the standard of his work. He believes this decrease is due to Allan’s lack of motivation to concentrate and focus in the classroom, attributing his behavior to distraction through an inclination to daydream, fidget with his hands or items on his desk and draw on paperwork. Behavior Intervention 6 Materials During observation while Allan was in his classroom a checklist was formulated to measure his level of on-task activity. To measure his on-task behavior, his actions were monitored and then categorized.
These categories included looking at the teacher while the teacher was lecturing and carrying out assigned work. The amount of time Allan spent doing these things was compared to the amount of time given for these events. Once compared a percentage was calculated for Allan’s on-task behavior for the day. This checklist was formulated and used to judge his on-task behavior for the initial observation, intervention and follow-up periods. After the observation period Allan was removed from his class for the alternate intervention days and placed into a bare classroom. This classroom was designed to provide minimal distraction.
Apart from his desk and the teaching desk there was no other furniture or wall hangings aside from a blackboard. While at his desk, he was provided with nothing but the materials he needed to perform any assigned tasks. While lecturing him on subjects that did not require any note taking he was given no materials whatsoever to place on his desk. If completing work satisfactorily and early Alan would be rewarded with a Dragonball Z colouring book that he could colour until the next assigned task. Procedure Before beginning the behavior intervention a meeting was arranged for Allan’s parents to assuage any concern and gain their consent. Allan’s teacher and myself answered any questions they had and explained the proposed process.
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Once Allan’s parents had approved of the process, a desk was set up at the front of the class with a clear view of Allan’s seat to monitor his behavior. During this monitoring the Behavior Intervention 7 observation was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible without impeding Allan’s behavioral assessment. Throughout this period characteristics of Allan’s behavior began to emerge. This included tendencies to stare dazedly around the classroom without paying any attention to his teacher or his work.
While other students responded to questions and interacted confidently with each other for group activities, Allan appeared very withdrawn, silently daydreaming or seeming to be drawing or scribbling on worksheets or books. At other times Allan would merely fidget with his hands or items located on his desk. Each of these behaviors indicated an unwillingness to focus in class and a penchant for distraction. To measure Allan’s on-task behavior the percentage of time Allan appeared to be focusing and carrying out assigned work was calculated. Focusing during class included the time Allan spent looking directly at his teacher when the teacher was talking, the time Allan spent on assigned tasks and Allan’s participation in in-group activities.
This unobtrusive behavioral assessment occurred for the first five days without any type of contact occurring between Allan and myself. On the sixth day the intervention procedure, where there was direct personal contact with Alan, began. The intervention procedure continued on alternate days to the baseline for the next eight days. For the intervention days, Allan was removed from his classroom and put into an empty classroom with myself to teach him skills for personal development. The alternate day baseline was conducted to provide a chance for the integration of skills Alan had learned into his regular schedule (Fisher, Adelinis, Thompson, Worsdell & Zarcone, 1998).
Behavior Intervention 8 Alan’s standard class day consisted of forty-five minute classes of art, english, math, music, physical education, science and social studies.
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Each of the intervention days focused on three of the subjects to formulate different methods of learning and focusing. To develop these skills, methods of operant conditioning were employed. Allan’s distraction was treated with positive reinforcement and positive punishment. All reinforcement was conducted verbally except for physical rewards and the addition of events created because of positive punishment. If Alan focused intently he was praised and if finishing work correctly and before the time of the lesson finished, allowed to colour in a provided Dragonball Z colouring book. If Allan did not pay attention to a lesson, the lesson was repeated till he could explain back to me the idea or reason behind the lesson.
This taught him the value of time and the importance of listening as it robbed him of time he may have spent colouring. The use of prompts and repetition also played an integral role. If daydreaming I would call his name loudly and clap. This happened continuously throughout the first two sessions.
When a spelling word was taught to Allan he was encouraged to spell it out loud then spell it to himself quietly in his head. Continual use of the verbal prompt to “spell” gained Allan’s attention and taught him a skill to help him memo rise words. Allan was also prompted to repeat random lesson points immediately after they had been taught to see if he had been listening and improve memory skills. This also trained Allan to concentrate more closely within class. Results The investigations results ranged from a low five percent recorded during the baseline to a high of eighty percent reported on one of the intervention days. The complete list of results can be seen in the graph in Figure 1.
Behavior Intervention 9 Figure. 1 There are three different series on the graph representing each period of the investigation. The first series depicted blue is the baseline. Half of the baseline can be seen as existing before the intervention process began with his on-task behavior at less then thirty five percent. At the initialization of the intervention process, displayed in pink, there was a steady rise in both his baseline and intervention on-task behavior.
Behavior modification is based on the principles of operant conditioning, which were developed by American behaviorist B. F. Skinner. In his research, he put a rat in a cage later known as the Skinner Box, in which the rat could receive a food pellet by pressing on a bar. The food reward acted as a reinforcement by strengthening the rat's bar-pressing behavior. Skinner studied how the rat's ...
The yellow line acting as the guideline for the follow-up period did show to be declining but maintained a sixty three percent average ranging from fifty to seventy five percent. Discussion The results indicate that there was a substantial maintained increase in Alan’s on-task behavior. As predicted the use of positive reinforcement and positive punishment had a lasting effect on his ability to focus. Prompting and repetition also proved useful. Studies condoning positive reinforcement rather then negative reinforcement (Hagopian, Toole, Long, Bowman and Lieving, 2004) proved true in the context of the investigation. Behavior Intervention 10 ReferencesEbanks, M.
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