Promoting Positive Behavior in Learners Through the Modification of Instructional Antecedents - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Promoting Positive Behavior in Learners Through the Modification of Instructional Antecedents. John J. Wheeler, Ph.D. Richard S. Bumbalough Tennessee Tech University. Presentation Outline. I. Overview of research-based practices. A. Setting events, antecedents & behavior.

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Promoting Positive Behavior in Learners Through the Modification of Instructional Antecedents

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Promoting Positive Behavior in Learners Through the Modification of Instructional Antecedents

John J. Wheeler, Ph.D.

Richard S. Bumbalough

Tennessee Tech University

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Presentation Outline

I. Overview of research-based practices

A. Setting events, antecedents & behavior

B. Methods used in antecedent assessment

C. Antecedent management strategies

II. Rationale for antecedent management

A. Proactive strategy

B. Minimizes & prevents challenging behavior

C. Reinforces effective instructional practice

III. Implementation & evaluation

A. Applied examples

B. Recommendations for practice

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Setting Events, Antecedents & Behavior

Setting events are broad contexts that alter antecedent-behavior relationships (Horner & Carr, 1997)

Carr (1994) identified three major categories of setting events: biological, environmental, & social-interpersonal

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Examples of Setting Events


thirst, hunger, sleep, medication effects, pain


quality of environments, temperature, density, noise level, structure, activity level


social interactions, change in routine, family-related factors, activity transitions

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Task demands

Task difficulty

Task design & presentation

Teacher affect

Lack of instructional cues, predictability

=Challenging Behavior

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Antecedent Assessment

Structured interview

Behavior rating scales

Pros & cons

Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS)

Methods of observation

Scatter plot

ABC recording

Interval recording

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Structural Analysis

Represents a form of functional analysis

various antecedents are presented & removed & effects on behavior are noted;

differentiates antecedents associated with both challenging and positive forms of behavior

Questionable portability

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Proactive Strategy

Addresses possible instructional & environmental antecedents on the front end


Outcomes from the process allow for data-based decision making

Results in optimal instructional arrangements & learning environments

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Preventing Challenging Behavior

Provides information necessary for antecedent management

Aids in the design of individualized interventions

Alleviates frustration on the part of the child

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Effective Instructional Practice

Is the environment pleasant?

Are cues clear & consistent?

What are optimal teaching/response formats?

Are tasks relevant to the learner?

Are there opportunities for choice?

Is there ample opportunity for learner input?

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Vignette 1: Paul

Learner Characteristics

10-year-old middle school student

identified learning disability

Target Behavior(s)

task refusal, fails to complete work, complains


worksheet-heavy math curriculum

Function(s) of Behavior

escape/avoid task, social attention

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Vignette 1: Paul

Assessment Procedure

student-assisted, structured interview (Kern, et al., 1994)


provided choice with multiple task variation & delivery modes (i.e., project-based, CAI, modified worksheets)

interspersed requesting


increased engagement & task completion

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Vignette 2: Richard

Learner Characteristics


moderate M.R./Down Syndrome

Target Behavior(s)

stereotypical behavior


teacher proximity & frequency of prompts

Function(s) of Behavior

sensory stimulation

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Vignette 2: Richard

Assessment Procedure

FA interview, interval recording


systematic instruction

permanent prompts

access to preferred reinforcement


increased task engagement & reduction in rates of target behavior

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Vignette 3: Josh

Learner Characteristics


identified with PDD/NOS

Target Behavior(s)

out of seat, aggression toward self & others


auditory & group instruction, task relevance

Function(s) of Behavior


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Vignette 3: Josh

Assessment Procedure

structured interview, scatter plot, interval recording/video tape analysis


use of picture schedule

embedded visual cues in tasks

instruction in functional communication

reduced group instruction


increased engagement & reduced aggression

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Vignette 4: Alicia

Learner Characteristics


multiple disabilities

Target Behavior(s)

passivity & frequent self-injury


task design & delivery

Function(s) of Behavior

social attention

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Task &



Task &



Task +



+ Choice

Task +



+ Choice


Vignette 4: Alicia

Task +



+ Choice


+ Cont. Rein.

Assessment Procedure

descriptive assessment & structural analysis


multi-element design consisting of brief changing conditions


identification of effective task delivery methods that promoted engagement & reduced SIB

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Refine practices related to portability

Applied research within classroom settings

Enhanced training of pre-service personnel

Refine instructional practices

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“A lack of learning in any particular situation should first be interpreted as a result of inappropriate or insufficient use of teaching strategy, rather than inability on the part of the learner.”

(Gold, 1980)

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