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.


Seventh International Conference; Merida, Mexico; 2013

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #75
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Behavioral Approaches to Education and Instruction

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
Yucatan II (Fiesta Americana)
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Joseph J. Pear, Ph.D.
Chair: Maria Antonia Padilla Vargas (University of Guadalajara)
JOSEPH J. PEAR (University of Manitoba)
Joseph J. Pear received a B.S. degree from the University of Maryland and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University. He is currently a professor of psychology at the University of Manitoba. Pear has done basic and applied research and is a fellow of Division 6 (Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology) and Division 25 (Behavior Analysis) of the American Psychological Association. Pear's early basic research was with rats and pigeons. Currently, he is conducting research with fish using a tracking system he developed. His best-known basic research deals with behavioral contrast, shaping, and the spatio-temporal analysis of behavior. In addition, he has done work in the mathematical analysis of behavior. His early applied work focused on children with developmental disabilities at the St. Amant Centre, where he founded the Behaviour Modification Unit, now the Psychology Department. In 2009, he received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Behavior Analysis in Manitoba from the Manitoba Association for Behavior Analysis. Currently, he is the principal investigator on a grant to research Knowledge Transfer with members of the psychology departments at the University of Manitoba and Brock University, and with researchers at St.Amant and the New Haven Learning Centre in Ontario. Pear also developed an instructional and research program called Computer-Aided Personal System of Instruction (CAPSI). CAPSI is used to teach courses at the University of Manitoba and at other universities in Canada, the United States, and Australia. For his work in this area, Pear received two honors: An award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology at the 13th International Conference on Teaching and Learning and the Fred S. Keller Behavioral Education Award for Distinguished Contributions to Education from Division 25 of the American Psychological Association. In addition to co-authoring Behavior Modification: What It Is and How to Do It with Garry Martin, Pear has written two other books: The Science of Learning and A Historical and Contemporary Look at Psychological Systems. He also has written numerous basic and applied research articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles.

Throughout the history of psychology, interest has been strong in applying it to education and instruction. This interest increased as focus shifted to the influence of the environment on behavior with the rise of functionalism and behaviorism. This presentation will look at this trend starting with the founder of modern psychology, William James, who was skeptical of psychology's ability to be applied to education. It will then discuss John Dewey, who turned James's view on its head by applying his pragmatic and functional philosophy to education through the dictum of "learning by doing;" Edward L. Thorndike, who applied his studies on learning to education without admitting to being a behaviorist; Sidney L. Pressey and B. F. Skinner, who with their respective teaching machines led the way toward programmed learning systems; and onto Fred S. Keller, whose personalized system of instruction (PSI) said "goodbye" to old-style teaching and laid the groundwork for a new role for educators as contingency managers or arrangers of learning-promoting environments. The presentation will then discuss two contemporary behavioral approaches--interteaching and the presenter's Computer-Aided Personalized System of Instruction (CAPSI)--that stem from the work of Skinner and Keller.

Target Audience:

Anyone interested in applying psychology to education.

Learning Objectives: Forthcoming.



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