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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #225
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis and Critical Thinking Skills: Mutually Exclusive Worlds or Strange Bedfellows?
Sunday, May 28, 2017
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center 405
Area: EDC/CSS; Domain: Translational
Chair: Joanne K. Robbins (Morningside Academy)
Discussant: Jose A. Martinez-Diaz (Florida Institute of Technology and ABA Tech)
CE Instructor: Joanne K. Robbins, Ph.D.
Abstract: The Wall Street Journal cited that use of the phrase critical thinking doubled in popular job posting sites (i.e., Indeed) from 2009 to 2014. However, results from a 2013 Harris Interactive survey indicated that less than 50% of bosses thought college graduates were prepared for complex problem solving tasks at work. Several factors are likely to contribute to this problem’s persistence. No clear definition of critical thinking has been established, nor have we reached a consensus that these skills can and should be taught to students. Further, attempts to teach critical thinking have too often fallen short in meeting the needs of all learners. Fortunately, a teaching methodology does exist to address these critical needs. It is rooted in the science of behavior and has been guided by years of empirical research in instructional design. This symposium will focus on a systematic set of procedures developed by Robbins (2014) to teach reasoning using Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS). Research outcomes from a recent public school implementation will be shared, including student performance data and teacher training needs. Finally, an opportunity to reflect on conceptual complexities and the role of behavior analysis in this new frontier will be offered.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
How Can I Take a Picture of a Raindrop? A Behavior Analytic Approach to Inquiry Learning
(Service Delivery)
JOANNE K. ROBBINS (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: Educational practice informed by behavior analysis is referred to as instructivism, and is often assumed to include repetitive, rote-based instruction limited only to basic skill mastery, with objectives designed by the teacher to meet local or national standards. Behavior analysts have made great strides in recent years with greater acceptance and successful implementation of programs based on principles of Direct Instruction and Precision Teaching, and have improved school culture with positive behavior intervention supports. As is typical with psychological terms, the dichotomous term for instructivism is constructivism, whereby the learners define the objectives. This learner-centered approach may include inquiry learning, project based learning, problem-based learning or discovery learning. All of these methods have one feature in common, which is that questions or problems provide the context for learning. This presentation will describe a behavior analytic approach to constructivism, using Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS) and Fluent Thinking Skills™ (FTS), that will demonstrate how both teachers and learners can learn to sense a perplexing situation, create meaningful questions, identify the problem to solve, and systematically reason through a problem solving process.
Analyzing Student Performance while Learning Reasoning Skills: An Error Analysis
(Applied Research)
SEAN MICHAEL WILL (University of North Texas), Lucero Neri (University of North Texas), Joanne K. Robbins (Morningside Academy), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Students with learning and developmental disabilities are often capable of much more than is typically assumed. Poor performance on academic tasks may reflect poor problem solving skills, rather than a student’s capability to learn. Teaching a reasoning skills strategy to these students can greatly improve their ability to solve problems in school and in the real world. Students sometimes make errors while solving problems, especially while still learning correct problem solving strategies. If a student skips a step or makes an incorrect response on an intermediate step, this often results in an incorrect answer to the problem. This presentation will describe an error analysis procedure that was used to identify and categorize errors while teaching a set of problem solving skills to students in a special education classroom in a public school. Students learned reasoning skills based on those described by Robbins (2014) in her book Learn to Reason with TAPS: A Talk Aloud Problem Solving Approach.
Focus on Active Listening: Elements of a Successful Implementation in Teaching Problem Solving
(Service Delivery)
LUCERO NERI (University of North Texas), Sean Michael Will (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas), Joanne K. Robbins (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: School districts face a challenge in identifying and providing their teachers and staff proper training. There are countless theories, approaches, and strategies to provide better teaching. However, most of the strategies provided are not easily implemented into the classroom and may provide inconsistent results. A strategy that can efficiently be taught to teachers and staff that would improve student performance and teacher/student rapport would be invaluable to any educational institution. This presentation will describe the efforts to train the Active Listener repertoire in a Life Skills classroom in a public school using the instructional program called Learn to Reason with TAPS: A Talk Aloud Problem Solving Approach. This implementation was designed to improve the quality of interactions between staff and students, sometimes known as building rapport. Two staff members participated in the TAPS training, a Paraprofessional aiding multiple students with their academic work, and a Personal Care Attendant who worked with one student aiding in both daily living skills and academic work. We will further discuss the need to disseminate our science into the education system and the small steps taken in that direction by the authors.
Errors in Problem Solving, Logical Fallacies, and Critical Thinking Skills: Important Distinctions and a New Role for Behavior Analysis
Abstract: To date, a consensus has not been reached that skills such as analytical reasoning, problem solving, or critical thinking can and should be taught explicitly. This presentation will focus on clarifying important operational definitions and terms, with an understanding that a lack of precision in everyday usage contributes to widespread misconceptions, misunderstandings, and ultimately a failure to equip employees with the skills employers most often seek in our rapidly changing global economy. Common errors in student problem solving will be reviewed to illustrate why intervention approaches aimed at improving these skills often fall short for many learners. The relationship between problem solving skills and the prevalence of logical fallacies such as the straw man, ad hominem attacks, false dilemmas, and appeal to the bandwagon will be examined within the context of both school and community settings to help identify patterns that emerge and their impact on society. Finally, a new look at what behavior analysis has to offer now will be shared, not only in the fields of education and in instructional design, but with consideration toward how the science of behavior can help influence sustainable communities and broaden economic prosperity by shaping fluent thinking skills and problem solving repertoires.



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