Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #89
CE Offered: BACB

Good-bye, Teacher. . . . Forty Years Later

Saturday, May 24, 2008
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
International North
Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: William F. Buskist, Ph.D.
Chair: Pamela G. Osnes (Behavior Analysts, Inc.)
WILLIAM F. BUSKIST (Auburn University)
Dr. William Buskist is the Distinguished Professor in the Teaching of Psychology at Auburn University and a Faculty Fellow at Auburn’s Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. In his 25 years at Auburn, he has taught over 32,000 undergraduates, mostly in large sections of introductory psychology. He serves as the Section Editor for The Generalist’s Corner section of Teaching of Psychology and as a member of the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP) planning committee. Together with Steve Davis, he has edited two volumes on the teaching of psychology: The Teaching of Psychology: Essays in Honor of Wilbert J. McKeachie and Charles L. Brewer (Erlbaum, 2003) and The Handbook of the Teaching of Psychology (Blackwell, 2005) and together with Barry Perlman and Lee McCann, he has edited Voices of Experience: Memorable Talks from the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (American Psychological Society, 2005). He has also co-edited several electronic books for the Society of the Teaching of Psychology ( He has published over 30 books and articles on the teaching of psychology. In 2005, he was a co-recipient (with Leanne Lamke) of Auburn University’s highest teaching honor, The Gerald and Emily Leischuck Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition, he was the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2005 Harry Kirke Wolfe lecturer. He also is a recipient of the 2000 Robert S. Daniel Teaching Excellence Award from the Society of the Teaching of Psychology (STP). He is a Fellow of APA Divisions 1 (General Psychology) and 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology). He is currently serving as President of the Society. His proudest career achievement is having five of his graduate students honored with national teaching awards.

Forty years ago Fred Keller published his now classic paper that introduced the Personalized System of Instruction (PSI) to the teaching world. PSI, or the Keller Plan, as it is sometimes called, gained immediate widespread popularity. Indeed, college and university professors from many disciplines adopted the technique for use in their classes. Researchers published numerous articles showing PSI to be superior over traditional teaching methods in terms of student learning outcomes (i.e., final grades). Interestingly, now, in 2008, few college and university professors have ever heard of PSI, or for that matter, other forms of behavioral instruction. In this presentation, I will discuss the current state of college and university teaching against the backdrop of Keller's and others' work with behavioral approaches to college and university teaching. I will provide an overview and theoretical analysis of prevailing teaching techniques and the key elements of "master teaching" in an attempt to suggest effective practices for improving one's teaching.




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