Behavioral principles teaching applications part 2 collaborating and training paraprofessionals
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Behavioral Principles & Teaching Applications Part 2 & Collaborating and training paraprofessionals. Updates. What makes a good prompt?. Increases likelihood of correct responding Focuses attention on relevant features of task (Sd) Ease of delivery Ease of removal across trials

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Behavioral principles teaching applications part 2 collaborating and training paraprofessionals

Behavioral Principles & Teaching Applications Part 2&Collaborating and training paraprofessionals



What makes a good prompt

What makes a good prompt?

  • Increases likelihood of correct responding

  • Focuses attention on relevant features of task (Sd)

  • Ease of delivery

  • Ease of removal across trials

  • Good prompts are determined by the demands of the task AND the presenting skills of the learner.

  • As weak as possible (least intrusive)

  • Should be faded as rapidly as possible


Guidelines for Selecting Prompts

  • 1) Select the least intrusive, effective prompt

  • 2) Combine prompts if necessary

  • 3) Select natural prompts and those related to the behavior

  • 4) Provide only after students are attending

  • 5) Provide in a supportive, instructive manner before response

  • 6) Fade as soon as possible

  • 7) Plan fading procedures beforehand

Activity provide examples of these methods for teaching a skill in your classroom

Activity:Provide examples of these methods for teaching a skill in your classroom

  • Prompting

    • Modeling

    • Verbal prompt

    • Visual Prompt

  • Shaping

  • Fading

  • Chaining

  • Generalization


    • Predictable/appropriate responding in noninstructional or nontraining conditions

    • Transfer of stimulus control from trained to nontrained antecedent stimuli



    • Caesar learns to raise his hand to ask for teacher assistance in homeroom. In social studies & math periods of the day, he also uses hand raises to ask for assistance. He doesn’t use hand raises at home at dinner table.

      • Generalized responding



    • Durability of performance over time

    • Durability of stimulus control over time

    • Continued performance when instructional conditions are removed



    • Having learned to use hand-raises to obtain teacher assistance during the first week of school, Caesar continued to use the appropriately strategy the rest of the school year.

    • After learning how to successfully use “look cool & walk away” during peer conflicts in 8th grade, Cleo continued to use the strategy in 9th & 10th grades.

    Directing paraprofessional work

    Directing Paraprofessional Work

    • Define the similarities & differences between teachers & paraprofessionals

    • Describe different ways in which paraprofessionals can be effectively utilized in general education settings

    • Suggest specific strategies that paraprofessionals can be taught to improve the quality of education

    • Describe ways in which teachers can effectively monitor & provide feedback to paraprofessionals



    • Your responsibility to provide leadership in classroom

      • Includes directing the work of paraprofessionals

    • What you do or don’t do will impact student learning

    • Parapros are play a significant role

    • Parapro supports that are not well designed can result in:

      • Poor peer relationships, unhealthy dependencies, limited access,

        • Giangreco & Doyle, 2004

    Welcoming acknowledging paraprofessionals

    Welcoming & acknowledging paraprofessionals

    • Be certain they have a place of their own (e.g., desk or table)

    • Put a coffee cup or plant on their desk at beginning of the year

    • Establish routines to students that the teacher and paraprofessional are working together

      • Ex: paraprofessional participate in beginning/end class routine

    • Create opportunities for their input

      • Share student’s goals for the unit. “Do you have any thoughts on her participation?”

    Orienting paraprofessionals

    Orienting Paraprofessionals

    • Orient them to the school, classroom, & students with whom they will be working

    • Don’t “throw them into things”

      • Giangreco et al., 2001

    • Intro parapro to school community: office staff, teachers, nurse, etc.

    • Be sure they are familiar with school policies

    • Show where supplies are kept

    • Provide policies on student confidentiality

    • Support for the classroom NOT the student

    Students they will support

    Students they will support

    • Provide them information on the students they will support (e.g., IEP at a Glance)

    • Through a course or a series of staff development work shops to learn essential skills about being a paraprofessional

    • Topics should include (CichoskiKelly et al., 2000):

      • Collaborative teamwork

      • Families & cultural sensitivity

      • Characteristics of youth with various disabilities

      • Roles & responsibilities of all team members

      • Implementing teacher-planned instruction

    Establish parameters

    Establish parameters

    • Clarify their role

    • Your responsibility to:

      • Prepare plans to guide paraprofessional in instruction, assessment, decision-making, instructional methods & communicate with families

    • Many teachers introduce new concepts and skills before asking parapro to provide ongoing teaching and practice

    • Allows teacher to model instructional approaches for the para and gain firsthand info to adjust future lessons

    Planning for paraprofessionals

    Planning for paraprofessionals

    • One of the keys to good teaching is good planning

    • Daily & weekly schedule of activities indicating what, when, who, where

    • Parapros schedule should be linked to classroom schedule

      • Should be clear what they should be doing for each activity in class

    • Develop plans that provide the content and level of info required for them to carry out the plan

    Things to consider when planning for parapros

    Things to consider when planning for parapros:

    • How much info does the para need to implement the teacher-planned lesson or activity?

    • What is the essential information?

    • What makes the most sense?

    • How can planned information be provided in ways that do not create unnecessary paperwork?

    Basic components they need to understand

    Basic components they need to understand:

    • Purpose of activity

    • Objectives within the activity that may differ by student

    • Materials needed

    • How to arrange the learning environment

    • How to get & sustain student attention

    • How to introduce the activity (e.g., demo, explain)

    • How to encourage student participation

    • How to relate activity to previous learning

    Basic components continued

    Basic components continued

    • What desired responses look like

    • How and what feedback to provide when students give desired responses

    • What to do when students are nonresponsive

    • OR give incorrect responses

    • What data to collect and how it should be recorded

    • How to end the activity

    • What to do if the plan does not seem to be working

    Communicating with parapros

    Communicating with Parapros

    • Developing expectations

      • Create mechanisms for communication

      • Make sure they know who to talk to when problems arise

    • Preparing ahead

      • Be sure they are aware of dates, times, locations of meetings

      • Be a good model of planning instruction

    • Understanding Perspectives

      • Let them know that different perspectives are welcome

    • Ask them questions, Listen, & Speak clearly

    Ten tips to collaborating effectively with paraprofessionals

    Ten tips to collaborating effectively with paraprofessionals

    • Start & end each day with them.

    • Provide them with constructive feedback ASAP.

    • Say thank you frequently for specific acts

    • Ask them how you can help

    • Demonstrate what you mean

    • Recognize the individual & unique contributions of each parapro

    • Occasionally meet together way from school


    8. Demonstrate what you mean

    9. Encourage them to keep a daily journal of activities, thoughts, and feelings

    10. Advocate for their professional growth.

    Adapted from Lee, 1999



    • Minnesota Paraprofessional Consortium


    • National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals in Education & Related Services


    • National Clearinghouse of Paraeducator Resources:


    Work as collaborative teams

    Work as collaborative teams

    • Decisions are made at numerous points, but only after team members share their different perspectives on the student, engage in relevant discussion, problem solving, and then reach consensus as a team (Friend & Cook, 2010)

    • Nonconsensual decisions tend to reflect a narrower range of information and risk being of poorer quality (Snell & Janney, 2005)


    Effective Instruction

    “Holding a student responsible for assigned material is not teaching, even though it is a large part of modern school and university practice.”

    B.F. Skinner, 1968

    Understanding the stages of learning

    Understanding the Stages of Learning

    • Acquisition

      • (build initial stimulus control)

    • Fluency

      • (develop speed, accuracy)

    • Maintenance

      • (durability of skill across time)

    • Generalization

      • (performance of behavior under appropriate, non-trained conditions)

    Stages of learning

    Stages of Learning

    • Acquisition: new at task, instruction crucial, student not accurate

    • Fluency: accurate and increase in speed

    • Maintenance: skills retained over time

    • Generalization: skill in new contexts (discriminate)

    • Adaptation: modify skill for new situation



    • Teaching discriminations

      • Positive examples

      • Maximally different negative example

      • Minimally different negative example

      • Positive examples

    • Teach what to do, and when to do it.

      • The behavior

      • The signal (discriminative stimulus)

    • Prompting, fading, shaping, rewarding

    Learner characteristics at acquisition stage

    Learner characteristics at acquisition stage

    • Student performs none or up to about half of the task

    • May need to cue or prompt initiation

    • May need a low-error prompt system

    • Possibly break skill down into smaller components

    • Give frequent positive feedback



    • Improved rate of responding

    • But fluency is more than just rate

      • Fluid motions

      • Absence of pausing

      • Speed in decision-making

      • Rhythmic

    • Build fluency through practice

      • Math facts, chromatic scale, second language

      • Fluency is an index of the power of stimulus control that has been established.

    Fluent learner characteristics

    Fluent learner characteristics

    • Student performs more than half of the task

    • Add realistic speed and quality criteria

    • Add to skill to make it more functional (e.g., monitors speed & quality)

    • Enrich skill with communication choice, or social behaviors

    • Drop all intrusive requests

    • Fade intrusive prompt

    • Shift attention to natural cues and prompts

    • Thin out reinforcement

    • Shift to natural reinforcement



    • Stability of responding over time

    • Variables that affect maintenance

      • Building fluency with initial instruction (level of stimulus control

      • Regular opportunity to perform

      • On-going access to contingent rewards (reinforcement)

      • Access to competing alternative behaviors that are contingently reinforced.

    Learners at the maintenance stage

    Learners at the maintenance stage

    • Student performs more than half of the task

    • “Schedule it” and expect student to perform

    • Add to the skill to make it more functional (e.g., initiates, prepares)

    • Enrich skill with communication, choice, social behaviors

    • Drop all intrusive requests

    • Fade intrusive prompts

    • Shift attention to natural cues

    • Thin out reinforcement

    • Shift to natural reinforcement



    • Defined:

      • Target behavior is performed under conditions beyond those used during instruction.

      • Generalization can be desired (e.g.“greeting skills”) or undesired (saying /b/ in the presence of “d”).

      • Build generalized skills through selection and sequencing of teaching examples

    Characteristics of learners at the generalization stage

    Characteristics of learners at the generalization stage

    • Student performs more than half of the task

    • Vary settings

    • Vary instructors, supervisors, others

    • Vary materials

    • Vary conditions and teach problem solving

    • Enrich skill with communication, choice

    • Drop all intrusive requests

    • Fade intrusive prompt, reinforcement

    • Shift attention to natural cues & natural reinforcement







    Stages of Learning



    • 4 basic elements of behavior

      • Response, Antecedent stimulus, Consequence, Setting Event

  • 9 principles of behavior

    • Stimulus control, Positive reinforcement, Negative reinforcement, Positive punishment, Negative punishment, Transfer, Generalization, Maintenance

  • Applications to teaching

    • Prompting, Fading, Shaping, Task Analysis, Design of Instruction, Instructional objectives, Behavioral objectives.

  • Examples1


    • Teaching reading in second grade

      • Objective: Hailey will read at 100 words correct per min with the Open Court text.

      • Acquisition:

      • Fluency:

      • Maintenance:

      • Generalization:



    • Decrease problem behavior

      • Objective: Mikai will not hit, kick or bite others on the playground.

      • Mikai will play cooperatively with others on the playground without hitting, kicking, or biting for 5 consecutive days.

      • Acquisition:

      • Fluency:

      • Maintenance:

      • Generalization:

    Instructional activities acquisition

    Instructional Activities (acquisition)

    • Direct instruction

      • Systematic teaching of target skills: reading, math, social-behavioral skills

      • MODEL  LEAD TEST

    Direct instruction little di steps

    direct instruction (“little di”): Steps

    • Gain attention … ”Everyone eyes on me.”

    • Review previous material to:

      Check for understanding to ensure students remember

      How previous material is relevant to new material

    • State goal

      State Expectations Positively

    • New content in small steps

      Explicit Instruction, range of examples, logical sequence)

    • Model

      Demonstration of the skill

    • Lead

      Prompted (guided) practice

      Unprompted practice

    • Test

      Independent practice

    Instructional concepts

    Instructional Concepts

    • State expectations positively

    • Explicit instruction

    • Range of examples

    • Logical sequencing

    Instructional concept 1

    Instructional Concept #1

    State Expectations Positively

    Teach them what you do want them to do


    • Ineffective Instruction

    • Sets the occasion for student failure

    Teaching behaviors

    No elbowing others

    No kicking

    No hitting

    No pinching

    No biting

    No scratching

    Etc. . .

    2+2 is not 1

    2+2 is not 2

    2+2 is not 3

    2+2 is not 5

    2+2 is not 6

    2+2 is not 7

    Etc. . .

    Teaching Behaviors

    Behavior: Peer Relations

    Academic Skill:Addition

    Teaching behaviors1

    Hands and feet to self or

    Respect others

    2+2 = 4

    Teaching Behaviors

    Behavior: Peer Relations

    Academic Skill: Addition

    Instructional concept 2

    Instructional Concept #2

    Explicit Instruction

    Be Direct

    What is the best way to facilitate academic success

    What is the Best Way to Facilitate Academic Success?

    • Teaching - teacher structures a lesson, models skills, and leads students through practice or key skills.

    • Facilitate - teachers sets up activities wherein students discover key skills.

    • Support - teachers simply oversee students and offer support for whatever they do.

    Should we teach, facilitate, or just support?

    Explicit instruction

    Explicit Instruction

    Large-Scale Research and Meta Analyses

    • Direct Comparison Meta-AnalysisFavor explicit instruction87.3 %Tie 0.6 %Favor other methods12.1 %

    • Students of all ages and abilities

    • Academic and social behaviors

    • Especially effective with low performers

    • Very successful with disadvantaged students

    Instructional concept 3

    Instructional Concept #3

    Range of Examples

    Show all the possibilities

    Effective instruction

    Effective Instruction

    • Effective example selection and sequencing

    • Task analysis

    • Facilitate success

    • Delivered at the level of the student

    Effective instruction is:

    Ineffective instruction

    Walk on green

    Don’t walk

    on red

    Walk on green

    Don’t walk

    on red

    Green light =


    Walk on green

    = ?




    • -


    • -



    NO LIGHT =


    Instructional concept 4

    Instructional Concept #4

    Logical Sequencing

    Juxtapose positive and negative examples

    Ineffective instruction1

    = osh

    = osh

    = osh







    = osh

    = osh


    Osh = ?

    Effective instruction1

    = osh

    = osh

    = osh

    = not osh







    = osh

    = osh

    = not osh


    Osh =


    Instructional sequence

    Instructional Sequence

    • Presentation - tell and model

    • Recitation - student Q & A

    • Individual Work - with teacher feedback-make sure students get it

    • Group work

      -activities, experiments, etc.

      -chance to discover application to real world

    • Test - Make sure they have skill fluency

    Instructional sequence1

    Instructional Sequence

    • Model: Structured, Clear

      Be direct with multiple examples & non-examples

    • Lead: High levels of opportunities to respond (OTR), success

      • Individual Work - with clear teacher feedback-make sure students get it

      • Group work

        -activities, experiments, etc.

        -chance to discover application to real world

    • Test - Make sure they have skill fluency

    Instructional methods

    Instructional Methods

    • Students with intellectual disabilities learn best when instructional methods are explicit, systematic, and derived from empirical research such as the following practices (Heward, 2003)

    Heward 2003

    Heward, 2003

    • Assess each student’s present levels of performance to help identify and prioritize most important instructional targets.

    • Define and task-analyze the new knowledge or skills to be learned

    • Design instructional methods and activities so the student has frequent opportunities for active student response in the form of guided and independent practice

    • Use mediated scaffolding (provide and then fade prompts so student can respond to natural occurring stimuli)

    Heward 2003 continued

    Heward, 2003 continued

    • Provide systematic consequences for student performance in the form of contingent reinforcement, instructional feedback, and error correction.

    • Incorporate fluency-building activities into lessons

    • Incorporate strategies for promoting generalization and maintenance of newly learned skills

    • Conduct direct and frequent measurements of student performance, and use those data to instructional decisions.

    Specialized teaching strategies

    Specialized Teaching Strategies

    • Visual modality strategies

      • Visual supports, visual schedules, activity boards, rule scripts, video modeling,

    • Task analysis & chaining

      • Forward, backward, interrupted

    • Discrete teaching trials

    • Prompting systems, time-delay,

    • Antecedent & Consequence strategies

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