|Date, Location||Antecedent||Behaviour||Consequence||Possible Function|
|28/7, Math Class||1. The teacher was delivering a lecture. |
2. Terry said she had not been getting much sleep lately.
|3. 10 minutes after the class started, Terry put her head on the desk.||4. The teacher asked Terry to take part in the class activities.||R+ Escape activity|
|28/7, Math Class||5. The teacher repeatedly asked Terry to take part.||6. Terry remained with her head on the desk.||7. The teacher gave up and ignored Terry.||R+ Escape activity|
|28/7, Free time for pair work||8. Terry’s partner suggested going through the assignments.||9. Terry threw her assignment sheets to the floor.||10. The teacher warned that Terry would be sent to the principal.||R+ Attention |
R- Escape activity
|28/7, Math Class||11. The teacher asked Terry to solve the problem.||12. Terry responded curtly and told a joke about religion.||13. The peers laughed or looked at Terry.||R+ Peer attention |
R+ Escape activity
|28/7, Math Class||14. The teacher insisted that Terry solves the problem.||15. Terry threw the assignment to the floor.||16. The teacher sent Terry to the principal.||R- Escape activity|
Terry is a 7th-grade student with a mild form of autism. The teacher is concerned about her unwillingness to cooperate and take part in classroom activities while at the same time disrupting the class discipline. The three behaviours that can be singled out and evaluated consist of her positive reinforcements to get the teacher’s or peers’ attention and positive and negative reinforcements to escape activities. The behaviours of concern include, namely, refusing to take part in activities by ignoring the teacher’s reprimand, destroying the study materials or throwing them, and making verbal offence.
As the case indicates, one of the means of Terry’s escape from the class activities is staying persistent in her disobedience to the teacher’s requests (Umbreit, Ferro, Liaupsin, & Lane, 2007). The antecedent factor to such behaviour may or may not be her sleeping difficulties and the resulting tiredness during the class. A more evident antecedent is the class situation: if the misbehaviour (putting her head on the desk after 10 minutes of the class) is observed frequently, it may indicate Terry’s need to being exposed to a wider range of activities at a lesser duration is not met. The consequence of ignoring the teacher’s request to take part is that the teacher gives up their attempts and leaves Terry as she were, which unambiguously speaks for the function of her behaviour being accomplished.
Another instance misbehaviour occurs is when the students are given time for pair work and are, therefore, left on their own with little supervision from the teacher. In this case, Terry’s misbehaviour serves multiple functions: she targets at getting the teacher’s attention and at the same time escaping the task. By throwing the study materials to the floor, this student manages to gain attention in the form of reprimand. This simultaneously produces a situation where she is not engaged in classwork.
Another such instance is when Terry is called on to solve a mathematical problem. The negative reinforcement (throwing the study materials) is observed as a means to escape the activity once again. This behaviour would not be repeated if she was persuaded to proceed with her assignment in the end. The function of activity avoidance is, therefore, accomplished.
Finally, the situation wherein Terry uses verbal offence when asked to perform a task is legibly aimed at gaining the attention of the peers as well as avoiding the activity. When required to solve the problem, she talks back to the teacher and makes offensive jokes. Although the teacher is persistent in their requirements, the function of gaining the peers’ attention is fulfilled: they respond by either laughter or eye contact, which assures Terry of the efficacy of such reinforcement.
Such behaviour, as well as other instances of her non-cooperativity, may be caused by the long duration of each activity and the lack of task diversity concerning Terry’s short attention span. The student’s self-reported fatigue may be an additional factor causing her lack of concentration and resulting in increased attention and task range requirements.
Whether or not a student’s behaviour should be changed is the matter of judgment and compliance with the directives specified in the school’s regulations, especially when these are questionable (Kaplan & Carter, 1995). Referring to Terry as a student that “distracts others,” “annoys the teacher,” “does not follow directions,” “non-cooperative” or “rude” would all be constructs. Rather, this student’s conduct is better described as “prevents others from doing their work by engaging in the conflict with the teacher,” “does not follow the teacher’s immediate requirements,” and “makes jokes on sensitive subjects.”
In this case, the exhibited behaviours are maladaptive as they are a violation of the directives accepted more or less universally among schools, e.g., completing the assigned work and compliance with the teacher’s directives. Besides, the behaviours displayed by the given student interfere with her social well-being. Therefore, in Terry’s case, the target behaviours passing the “dead man’s test” are responding to the teacher’s directives and completing the assignments, using the study materials without destroying them, and talking to the teacher and peers without using verbal offence.
First and foremost, this student’s needs should be thoroughly assessed to establish the specificity of her attention and concentration issues. On the surface, the student’s short attention span appears to cause her unwillingness to participate. This can be corrected by providing the student with an individualized variety of activities that alter at a 10-minute interval.
The correction of other such behaviours can include an implementation of stimuli on the peers’ and teacher’s part (Zirpoli, 2012). The positive reinforcements to reward desirable behaviours can consist of a teacher’s appraisal whenever Terry is being respectful and attentive. Physical tokens of appraisal (stars, etc.) can be further followed by encouraging peer appraisal and support (Conway, 2011). The peers should also be encouraged not to react positively to Terry’s improper jokes and mentor her in pair and teamwork to reduce the need to teacher’s constant presence.
The anecdotal record is preferable because it provides exhaustive data on the student’s behaviour (Alberto & Troutman, 2013; Szarkowicz, 2006).
|9.40 a.m.||1. Terry puts her head on the table.|
|2. Teacher: “Open your books on page 15. You too, Terry.”||3. Ignores the teacher’s directive.|
|4. The teacher puts their hand on Terry’s shoulder.||5. Terry sits upright and opens her book.|
With the data recorded in this manner, the stimuli to trigger the desirable consequences can be easily identified to form patterns for further correction. The performance objective is, therefore, concerned with Terry’s being attentive to the class activities, handling the materials without throwing them, and speaking to the teacher without using offensive language.
Alberto, P. A., & Troutman, A. C. (2013). Procedures for collecting data. In P. A.
Alberto & A. C. Troutman (Eds.), Applied behavior analysis for teachers (9th ed.), (pp. 66-105). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Conway, R. (2011). Encouraging positive interactions. In P. Foreman (Ed.), Inclusion in action (3rd ed.), (pp. 219-266). South Melbourne, VIC: Cengage Learning.
Kaplan, J. S., & Carter, J. (1995). Identifying and specifying behaviors. In J. S.
Kaplan & J. Carter (Eds.), Beyond behavior modification: A cognitive-behavioral approach to behavior management in the school (3rd ed.), (pp. 53-87). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
Szarkowicz, D. L. (2006). Observations and Reflections in Childhood. South Melbourne VIC: Cengage Learning Australia.
Umbreit, J., Ferro, J. B., Liaupsin, C. J., & Lane, K. L. (2007). Functional behavioural assessment: Direct observation. In J. Umbreit, J. B. Ferro, C. J. Liaupsin, & K. L. Lane (Eds.), Functional behavioral assessment and function-based intervention: An effective, practical approach (pp. 58-61). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Zirpoli, T. J. (2012). Positive behavioural supports: Reinforcement strategies. In T. J.
Zirpoli (Ed.), Behavior management: Positive applications for teachers (6th ed.), (pp. 257-287). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.