Children really are the best. They are hilarious and full of wonder. No two days are ever the same when working with them. But don’t get me wrong, they can also be stressful and incredibly difficult to keep under control. For those kids that regularly misbehave, then Applied Behaviour Analysis can help. So lets look at the example of Sam:
Sam is 4 years old. He is small for his age, and has brown hair and green eyes. He is always smiling and is an absolute pleasure to teach. The problem is he won’t do any of the work unless it is directly related to trains. So this is where applied behaviour analysis comes in. How do you get Sam to sit down and participate in the planned work? Well we have already figured out step 1. The target behaviour is getting Sam to participate in work that isn’t related to trains. Step 2 is to select an appropriate reinforcer (Osborne, 1969). So whenever Sam finishes a piece of work, he can then colour in a picture of a train (which he absolutely loves to do). This would have to occur straight after the completion of his work, so other behaviours don’t accidentally get reinforced (Wolfle, 1932). The number of times the work is completed must be recorded on a daily basis so that they can be compared over time. Also, the target behaviour needs to be monitored before the event to set a baseline for comparison.
Now, thanks to the wonder of Applied Behaviour Analysis, Sam does the work that has been set and he is rapidly advancing up the levels.
Osborne, J. G. (1969). FREE‐TIME AS A REINFORCER IN THE MANAGEMENT OF CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 2(2), 113-118.
Wolfle, H. M. (1932). Conditioning as a function of the interval between the conditioned and the original stimulus. The Journal of General Psychology, 7(1), 80-103.