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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #352
CE Offered: BACB

If Applied Behavior Analysis Has so Much to Offer Education (and it Does), Why Does Education Take Such Limited Advantage of its Findings?

Monday, May 28, 2007
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Douglas C
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: William L. Heward, Ed.D.
Chair: Pamela G. Osnes (Behavior Analysts, Inc.)
WILLIAM L. HEWARD (The Ohio State University)
Dr. William L. Heward is Emeritus Professor of Education at The Ohio State University (OSU) where he taught for 30 years. Internationally recognized for his work in applied behavior analysis and special education, Dr. Heward has served as a Visiting Professor of Psychology at Keio University in Tokyo and as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Portugal. His publications include more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and nine books, including the widely used texts, Applied Behavior Analysis (co-authored with John O. Cooper and Timothy E. Heron) and Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education, which is in its eighth edition and has been translated into several foreign languages. In 1985, he received OSU’s highest honor for teaching excellence: the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award. A Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Dr. Heward received the 2006 Fred S. Keller Behavioral Education Award by Division 25 of the American Psychological Association. Bill’s current research interests focus on “low-tech” methods for increasing the effectiveness of group instruction and on adaptations of curriculum and instruction to promote the generalization and maintenance of newly learned knowledge and skills.

Applied behavior analysiss (ABA) pragmatic, natural science approach to discovering environmental variables that reliably influence socially significant behavior and to developing a technology that takes practical advantage of those discoveries offers humankind our best hope for solving many of our problems. Unfortunately, ABA has had limited impact on society. Using public education as the exemplar, this presentation will explore the question, If ABA is so wonderful, why dont we (society) make greater use of it? Improving the effectiveness of education is one of societys most important problems, and for more than four decades applied behavior analysis has provided powerful demonstrations of how it can promote learning in the classroom. In spite of this evidence, behavior analysis is, at best, a bit player in efforts to reform education. Dr. Heward will identify a dozen reasons why ABA is ideally suited to help improve education, review a somewhat longer list of reasons that work against the widespread adoption of behavioral approaches in education, and suggest some actions that practitioners and researchers can take to enhance and further ABAs contributions to effective education.




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