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Behavioral skills training with teachers


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Behavioral skills training with teachers maintenance and booster training
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Miller, Israel B
University of South Florida
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Tampa, Fla
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Applied behavior analysis
Staff support
Special education
Teacher training
Dissertations, Academic -- Child and Family Studies -- Masters -- USF   ( lcsh )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: Behavioral skills training (BST) has been employed within many different populations to effect change in the way of reduction or acquisition of behaviors. For this study, a multiple-baseline across participants and modified ABAB design were employed. Analogue assessments and in-situ probes were conducted with three teachers following an initial training which occurred several months previously. These pre-assessments were followed by a separate booster training session for each individual teacher which lasted three and a half hours or less. Following the training, analogue and in-situ post assessments were conducted with each teacher. The independent variable was the booster training and the dependent variable was the percentage of steps performed correctly within each of the tools across assessments. Results showed the booster training to be effective in raising teacher scores as measures of performance of skills learned in the training to higher than those before the training. Some were even higher than the posttraining scores of the initial training. These results suggest that a booster training was effective in helping to raise scores following many months following the initial training.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Israel B. Miller.
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Behavioral Skills Training with Teache rs: Maintenance and Booster Training by Israel B. Miller A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Child and Family Studies College of Behavioral and Community Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Kimberly Crosland, Ph.D. Committee member: Timothy Weil, Ph.D. Committee member: Rusty Clark, Ph.D. Date of Approval: July 14, 2009 Keywords: evaluation, applied behavior analys is, staff support, spec ial education, teacher training Copyright 2009, Israel Miller


i Table of Contents List of Tables ii List of Figures iii Abstract iv Introduction 1 BST for Teaching Prevention Skills 2 Other BST Training 5 BST with Teachers 6 Teacher Maintenance of Skills After BST 10 Method 13 Participants and Settings 13 Procedure 13 BST Curriculum 13 Pre and Posttests for Initial BST 15 Initial BST Training 16 Prebooster Training Assessment 16 Intervention 17 Postbooster Training Assessment 17 In-Situ Probes 18 Target Behaviors and Data Collection 18 Interobserver Agreement 19 Experimental Design 19 Social Validity 20 Results 22 Social Validity 26 Discussion 27 References 29 Appendices 33 Appendix A Tool Checklists 34 Appendix B Tool Definitions and Examples 39


ii List of Tables Table 1 Separate percentage sc ores for all assessments. 25


iii List of Figures Figure 1 Average percentage of steps performed correctly pre and post booster training. 24


iv Behavioral Skills Training with Teache rs: Maintenance and Booster Training Israel Miller ABSTRACT Behavioral skills training (BST) has been employed within many different populations to effect change in the way of re duction or acquisition of behaviors. For this study, a multiple-baseline across participants and modified ABAB design were employed. Analogue assessments and in-situ probes were conducted wi th three teachers following an initial training which occurred several months previously. These preassessments were followed by a separate boos ter training session for each individual teacher which lasted three and a half hours or less. Following the training, analogue and in-situ post assessments were conducted with each teacher. The independent variable was the booster training and the dependent variable was the percentage of steps performed correctly within each of the tool s across assessments. Results showed the booster training to be effective in raising teac her scores as measures of performance of skills learned in the training to higher than those before th e training. Some were even higher than the posttraining scor es of the initial training. These results suggest that a booster training was effective in helping to raise scores following many months following the initial training.


1 Introduction Behavioral Skills Training with Teache rs: Maintenance and Booster Training Behavioral skills training (BST) has b een employed with many populations for a variety of purposes. BST contains 4 com ponents: 1) instructions, 2) modeling, 3) rehearsal, and 4) feedback (Stewart, Carr, & LeBlanc, 2007). Instructions involve specifically describing the beha viors in which the learner is to engage as well as the conditions under which the behaviors ar e to occur (Miltenbe rger, 2008). Modeling involves showing an example of the behavior to the learner. During rehearsal, the learner carries out the behavior with a trainer provi ding feedback in the form of praise for executing the behavior accurately and co rrection for parts inaccurately executed (Miltenberger, 2008). Some of the firs t studies which employed BST helped professionals in developing counseling sk ills (Haase & Dimattia, 1970) and helped unassertive people behave more assertively (Alden, Safran, & Weideman, 1978). Due to BST’s success, it was then used in research with several other areas and populations. As previously mentioned, behavioral sk ills training has been employed with a variety of populations and for a variety of pur poses to aid the lear ner in acquisition of behaviors and skills. Some of these purpos es include sexual abuse prevention for women with mental retardation (Egemo-Helm et al ., 2007), teaching abduction prevention skills to children at risk for sexual abduction or abuse (Johnson et al., 2006; Miltenberger & Thiesse-Duffy, 1988; Poche, Brouwer, & Sw earingen, 1981), teaching gun-safety skills to children at risk for misuse of firearms (Gross, Miltenberger, Knudson, Bosch, Breitwieser, 2007; Kelso, Miltenberger, Waters, Egemo-Helm, & Bagne, 2007), HIV-


2 prevention interventions (Kirby, Barth, Leland, & Fetro, 1991; Albarracn et al., 2005;), helping staff with implementation of discrete trial teaching (Lafas akis, & Sturmey, 2007; Sarokoff, & Sturmey, 2004), teaching corre ct instrument-playing posture (Dib, & Sturmey, 2007), teaching fire emergency ski lls (Jones & Kazdin, 1980; Jones, Kazdin, & Haney, 1981) and treatment of long-term pers onal avoidance of someone diagnosed with generalized social phobia (GSP) and avoidant personality disorder (APD), symptoms of which included coronary palpitations, swea ting, decreased appetite sleep disturbance, crying, and difficulty concentra ting (Hyman & Schneider, 2004). BST for teaching prevention skills Poche et al (1981) were the first to fi nd that behavioral skills training was effective in teaching abduction prevention skills to children. In this study, suspects issued lures to children. Responses from ch ildren were evaluated within two categories: 1) what the child said to the su spect, and; 2) whether the child stayed in or left the area. Responses were evaluated before BST trai ning and then following BST training to determine if BST would have an effect on child responses. Behavioral skills training consisted of two adults modeling a lure and correct responses for the children (i.e. one adult issued a lure and the other adult mode led the appropriate behavior following such a lure), practicing correct res ponding with the children and gi ving social reinforcement contingent on correct responding. Before trai ning, children made incorrect responses to lures both on school grounds and in the community. Conversely, after training, all children responded correc tly to all three lure s in the across both school and community environments, showing strong evidence of the e ffectiveness of behavior al skills training.


3 In a study by Johnson et al. (2006), a comparison of two methods of teaching children was evaluated to determine if BST wa s more effective alone or coupled with insitu training. One group received behavioral skills training regarding correct responding to potential abductor lures while the second group received the af orementioned training as well as an in-situ training component. During BST with in-situ training—that is, training that occurs in the natural environmen t after an in situ assessment in which the child fails to use the skills (Miltenberger, 2008)—a child was left alone while the trainer watched unseen. A person would then appro ach the child and issue a lure. Upon a correct response, the trainer appeared and issued praise to the child. If the child did not respond correctly, the trainer gave correctiv e feedback, modeling and more instruction until the child exhibited the correct beha vior. A third group, the control group, was assessed prior to skills training and then received one BST session. This group was included to contrast with bot h other groups who had more than one BST session as part of their group procedures. Assignment of each child to a group was done randomly. Results showed that both groups with behavioral skills training scored significantly higher on assessments than children in the control group. Though both training groups’ scores did not differ significantly at post-te st, 1 week, or 1 month followup assessments, they did differ significantly at the 3-month follow-up. These results showed that although both methods were in itially effective, th e in-situ component appeared to enhance maintenance effects of tr aining. It is notable that four children withdrew from the study, thr ee due to being afraid of be ing left alone. Repeated assessments of the control group over time were not completed to see if changes in safety skills occurred.


4 In one study conducted by Kirby, Bart h, Leland, & Fetro (1991), using a BST curriculum called Reducing the Risk, adolesce nts were first taught information about sexuality, reproduction and contraception. Foll owing this, the children were trained in making decisions and communication skills to resist pressures to engage in sexual behavior and then given many opportunities to practice usi ng these skills in difficult situations. The difficulty of these situations increased throughout th e curriculum and the students were expected to role play with less help from reading materi als or instructors as they progressed through the course. One of the main goals of the curriculum was to teach children to avoid unprotected intercourse. Comparison classes were given instruction other than Reducing the Risk. These classes c onsisted of the current instruction teachers were already giving about sexuality. Therefore, the effectiveness of Reducing the Risk in comparison to other courses was evaluated. At pretest 11 percent of both groups had reported engaging in unprotected intercourse. At a post training follow-up of 18 months, 13 percent of the treatment group had reporte d engaging in unprotected intercourse as opposed to 23 percent reported by the comp arison group. The results show that the curriculum, Reducing the Risk, may have dela yed engagement of intercourse with some but not with those who had already previ ously engaged in intercourse (Kirby, Barth, Leland, & Fetro, 1991). This shows the BST cu rriculum may have been effective in preventing some sexual behaviors. Research on prevention has shown that those studies which employ BST in the teaching of various skills achieve significan t and positive results in altering behavior. There are several other purposes for which BST is employed.


5 Other BST Training Sarokoff and Sturmey (2004) evaluated the effects of BST on therapist implementation of discrete-trial teaching. In ba seline, therapists were given a list of steps and instructed, “do the best you can.” Ten trials were complete d within 5 minutes. During training, the instructor first gave th e teacher the same list and reviewed each component. Then the teacher was given gra phic and verbal feedback from her baseline performance. In rehearsal, the teacher went through three discrete trials with the child while the instructor was present. The in structor then gave descriptive and positive feedback as well as correctiv e feedback on what she might improve upon in the future. In modeling, the teacher conducted discrete trials focusing on the components on which the teacher needed practice. Th en both instructors alternatel y taught three discrete trials until ten minutes had passed. After training, the teacher was given the same instruction from baseline, “do discrete trial teaching to the best of your ability” and the teacher followed the instructions without assist ance from the instructor. There was approximately a 50% increase in correct skill s teaching for each teacher from baseline to post-training. The researchers did not evalua te which components of the package were necessary to train staff. Behavioral skills training has also been used for teaching skills to use in fire emergencies (Jones & Kazdin, 1980; Jones, Kazd in, & Haney, 1981). In the latter study, children were taught the actions needed in res ponse to fires in thei r homes. Each child’s performance of these skills only increased afte r BST training. The skills maintained at follow-up appointments.


6 In a BST study by Dib and Sturmey (2007), three typically developing girls were taught correct posture (both f eet flat on the floor, back a nd neck straight, and holding flute parallel to the floor) duri ng flute playing. The girls were instructed fi rst on the rules of correct posture, the posture was then modeled by the teacher, the girls were given opportunities to practice the corr ect posture, and descriptive and corrective feedback were issued until each student played two songs consecutively with 100% correct posture. Scores went from 0% in baseline to 100% after behavioral skills training. This study was limited in that correct post ure was the only thing meas ured though many other fluteplaying behaviors could have been observ ed. Posture may have improved with less intensive training though it was found that modeling alone was not enough because the girls indicated that they knew correct postu re in the teachers’ example though they did not display it in baseline. BST with teachers Several methods of teacher training have b een employed in the past three or four decades to help teachers acquire certain skills or informati on. As the years have passed, the focus in training has progressed from evaluating the effectiv eness of individual components to more often including severa l or all components of BST in a teacher training package. Harris, Bushell, Sherman, and Kane (1995) applied the BST components of instructions, feedback, and pr aise, in attempts to improve the behavior of volunteer teachers who worked at a training center for teachers from several districts. These volunteers were requested to instruct thei r students from a requi red text. This way, visiting teachers could view a standard m odel whenever they came to the facility.


7 However, many of these volunteer teachers were not constant in their use of the text even when they were instructed to use it. The in structions, feedback, a nd praise intervention only had a significant effect on the behavior of one teacher. However, when bonus payments were added as incentives to the ot her three variables, th ere was a significant change in the behavior of all four teachers Limitations were that stipends or bonuses were not always available. This type of program could be implemented to work according to each schools circumstance to benefit all involved. Sloat, Tharp, and Gallimore (1977) pr ovided 5 teachers with six one-week workshops over a period of 16 weeks. The trai ning components of didactic instruction, modeling and role playing, videotape feedb ack, direct coaching, graphic feedback, and graphic feedback with goals were implemen ted in a sequential manner with the goal of finding out the point at which no more teach er improvements were seen with more training (additional components). Graphic feedback with goals was the same as graphic feedback except that the former included a line on a graph which represented the goal level they were to reach for the following w eek. The goal of the study was to find out the effects of these components on the frequency of two kinds of teach er praise: academic (related to school work) and management (not specifically referring to academics). Other measured variables were positive physical contact, rules statements, commands, desists, and verbal negatives, such as threats or sc olding. Only management and academic praise were observed in 10% of intervals. The ot her subcategories were observed in 4%. There was little change from baseline until a m odeling component was implemented. Except for the final component, graphed feedback w ith goals, the highest mean total praise happened during videotape feedback with a 53% increase over baseline. There were


8 decreases in the total praise rate before, dur ing, and after coaching. One limitation of the study was that teachers complained of feeling so pressured to achieve high levels of praise during the graphic feedback with goals component that they were unable to focus on other parts of their teaching. Also teacher s were not permitted to participate in the setting of criterion which may have increased their stress and, as a result, quality of teaching suffered. In the future, given the expense of feedback from high-cost observers in comparison to other methods used in trai ning, it might be sufficient for teachers to provide feedback to each other. A study by Sparks (1986) sought to di scover whether changes in teaching practices within three groups of teachers (n=19 total teachers) were the result of differences in training activities. Groups attended four weekly workshops of 2.5 hours each after school. These workshops include d examination of observation profiles, learning research on effective teaching rou tines, and practice and discussion of these routines. For five minute intervals, whic h were each separated by the same amount of time, an observer coded the inte ractions of the teacher and students. This was done to help teachers increase student time on task and improve their intera ctive instruction. A comparison of groups was carried out. Th e first group received only workshops. The second received workshops and the results of two classroom observations by a peer. During these classroom observations, the peer w ould record off-task behavior of children as well as interactions between children and the teacher on a seating chart. Group three received workshops and two classroom coachi ng sessions from the instructor. The peer observation training activities appeared to be more powerful than the workshop-only or coaching activities. Several teachers menti oned getting new ideas from teachers they


9 watched. One teacher mentioned that peer obs ervations helped them feel more at ease with each other. One limitation of this study is that differences in scores could have been due to differences between groups showing th e possibility that peer-observation was not as effective as perceived. The long-term eff ects of this training should be studied in the future. This study shows that trainer-provi ded coaching may not be worth the time and money required but that peer interaction may be effective and less costly and time consuming. Slider, Noell, and Williams (2006) looke d at a method of training in which teachers were offered a skills training p ackage which offered on-the-job professional development, was brief to administer, and was accessible at the teachers’ discretion. Three teachers with Master’s degrees were given training packages on 3 skills: instruction-giving, praise, and time-out pro cedures. The training packages included a summary card with steps and operation definitions of management procedures which had been shown to be effective in managing children. Also included were modeling videotapes explaining the reason for the ski ll and both correct and incorrect role play examples with explanations. Scores of all three teachers increased and were maintained at high levels at follow-up probes. The bene fits of the package were its brevity and the fact that it was self-administered. One limitation of the study was that the sample of teachers was not random enough to generalize the results to larger populations of teachers. Performance feedback has been employe d to train teachers (Mortenson & Witt, 1998; Noell, Witt, Gilbertson, Ranier, & Freeland, 1997; Reinke, Lewis-Palmer, & Martin, 2007). Reinke, LewisPalmer, and Martin (2007) eval uated the effects of visual


10 performance feedback (VPF) on teacher us e of behavior-specific praise. Three consultation meetings were held throughout the study. In the first meeting, the teachers were taught the differences be tween behavior-specific and ge neral praise and how use of the former can decrease disruptive behavior. They were given a chan ce to practice using behavior-specific praise. They were also instructed on deci phering graphic data before the VPF phase. Teacher praise and disruptive student behavior were then recorded. In the two other meetings (held on days 12 and 22), difficulties related to implementing effective praise and solutions were discussed. After the initi al meeting, no increase in praise was found. During the visual performa nce feedback phase, there was an initial increase in the use of behavior-specific prai se from all three teach ers but afterwards, for teachers one and two, this praise decreased. An increase in praise to student’s peers throughout each classroom was al so noted. At follow-up, the e ffects were not maintained. The novelty of the VPF, provided daily, may ha ve decreased over time, thus lending to a decrease in praise. The eff ects of fading weekly or daily feedback after more praise constancy may be assessed. It may also be be neficial to assess the effects of different types of feedback on teacher behavior, as well as taking into account the teachers’ feedback preferences. Future research may also focus on ways to maintain effects of visual performance feedback. Teacher Maintenance of Skills after BST No known published research has been found on the maintenance of skills after BST with teachers. However, some studies have evaluated booster training as a means of maintaining skills. Booster training has b een employed in alcohol treatment (Connors & Walitzer, 2001; McCrady, Epstein, & Christ opher, 2004; Walitzer & Connors, 2007),


11 anger management (Kellner, Bry, & Collet ti, 2002; Kellner, Colletti, & Bry, 2003), eating disorders (Grave, De Luca, & Campe llo, 2001; Perri, McAdoo, Spevak, & Newlin, 1984), depression (Baker, & Wilson, 1985; Si mons, Rohde, Kennard, & Robins, 2005) and with couples (Braukhaus, Hahlweg, Droeger, Groth, & Fehm-Wolfsdorf, 2003) smoking cessation (Metz, Floter Kroger, Donath, Piontek, & Gradl, 2007) and in training parents (McDonald, & Budd, 1983; Van Cam p, Montgomery, Vollmer, Kosarek, Happe, Burgos, & Manzolillo, 2008). McDonald and Budd (1983) studied the effects of booster training sessions on maintenance of parent’s skills useful in th e management of children’s behavior. The parent was first given an initial training which consisted of reading assignments, clarifying principles through discussion, answering questi ons, and explaining how the principles could be applied to behavior problems. Following this training, the parents’ improvements in management of her child’s be havior were not shown to be consistent. Booster training sessions of one hour were im plemented across two parenting skills in a multiple baseline design and there was significa nt improvement in the behaviors of both parent and child. When followup data were collected at ten weeks, it showed that these improvements had continued. Van Camp et al. (2008) attempted to de termine if giving a 6-hr booster session several months after a 30-hr training course would increase maintenance of skills obtained during training. Thirty-nine foster pa rents were first traine d in a BST training program (i.e. positive parenting curriculum). They were given pretests before being trained in the curriculum, whic h contained all the steps of BS T. After training, they were issued post-tests which assessed skills acqui sition. Assessment of skills was done via


12 role plays during both preand post tests. Se veral months (i.e. 8 to 35.5) later, 8 foster parents participated in a 6-hour booster trai ning session. The first and last hours were both spent in assessments. Therefore the info rmation was reviewed in about four hours. Prior to the booster training, asse ssments showed a decrease in scores from the post-test following the original training. Each step of nine tools was reviewed using informational slides. The steps were then demonstrated by the trainers, one participant showed the skill to the rest of the class, and then asked ques tions and discussed how the tools were used in their homes. Scores following booster tr aining suggested that booster training was effective in improving the accuracy of skills to what they were after the original 30 hour training. This research suggests that booster traini ng might be effective in the maintenance of skills gained from BST. However, it is unclear which components are essential (e.g. component analyses might be conducted to determine what components are necessary). Additionally, there is no known research on the effectivenes s of booster training on the maintenance of skills gained by teachers after BST. The purpose of this study was 1) to determine if reductions in the skill levels of teachers occurred several months after an initial BST intended to improve skills for in teracting positively with students and 2) to evaluate the effectiveness of a booster training for increasing skills to original posttraining levels after the initial BST.


13 Method Participants and Settings The study was conducted at a small privat e charter school in Tampa, Florida. This school has seven classrooms and approxi mately 70 students from kindergarten to eighth grade with an average class size of eight students. Students with attention, speech, language, learning, hearing, and be havioral issues as well as those with autism spectrum diagnoses attend this school. Three female t eachers at the charter school participated in the study. Helen and Harriet both had at leas t 5 years of experience teaching special education classes and Ginny had approximately 3 years experience in teaching special education classes. Ginny and Helen were in th eir fifties and Harriet was in her thirties. All three teachers had completed an initial BST approximately 12 months prior to taking part in this study. The initial training and assessments were conducted in a classroom at the school. The booster training and assessmen ts in this study were also conducted in school classrooms either during, before, or af ter school hours. Teachers received a small stipend (e.g. in the form of gift cards) fo r their time to complete the training and the assessments. Procedure BST Curriculum. The intervention was a behavior al skills training program, originally developed by the Behavior Analys is Services Program (BASP), with the goal of reducing the number of out-of-home placements for children in the foster care system by giving caregivers “tools,” or behavioral interventions to help them manage the


14 behaviors of children. The tools are based on general behavior analytic principles for decreasing problem behaviors and increasing appropriate behaviors and skill acquisition. The original curriculum was designed for car egivers, but BASP was interested in piloting the tools with teachers since the tools are universal and applicable across settings, to determine if teachers could lear n the tools and implement them in classroom situations. The tools are meant to be used to teach teachers appropria te ways to interact with children which will then lead to increa ses in appropriate behavi ors in those children. Within the curriculum each tool is divided in to steps via task an alysis. Teachers are taught the material through inst ruction with a trainer using po werpoint slides. The trainer then models the tools and the teacher has the opportunity to rehearse the tools and to be given feedback on their performance. Each t eacher is then scored using checklists with complete task analyses for each tool (Van Ca mp et al., 2008). A total of five tools were employed in the current study. The first tool, St ay Close, was created to help improve the relationships between caregivers and children by teaching caregivers to provide attention by interacting positively and providing non-contin gent reinforcement. It is employed to make the attention of caregivers more desira ble to the child (Crosland et al., 2008). The second tool, Use Reinforcement, involves givi ng reinforcement contingent on appropriate behavior (Van Camp et al., 2008). This tool is used to incr ease preferable behaviors and decrease non-preferred behavi ors (Crosland et al., 2008). Th e third tool, Pivot, and the fourth tool, Redirect-Use Reinforcement, bot h involve extinguishing behavior maintained by attention and differentially reinforcing a ppropriate behavior. Ignore junk behavior refers to withholding attention for behavior s which are undesirable but not harmful. Pivot is used to decrease in appropriate behavior and in crease behaviors that are


15 appropriate (Crosland et al ., 2008). Set Expectations involves a verbal agreement between the parent and child for a given tas k, and a reinforcer for fulfilling the task can be earned by the child (Van Camp et al., 2008) It is used to strengthen appropriate behaviors (Crosland et al ., 2008). (See Appendix B for summary table of tools explained). The curriculum is taught using a behavi oral skills training method. First, participants are taught about the tools. Next, the tools are modeled for them. The participants are then given the opportunity to practice the tools via role plays and are given corrective feedback on their performance. Pre and Posttests for initial BST Pre and posttests for all five tools were conducted before and after the initial BST training. Before the initial training, the skills of every teacher in relation to each tool were assessed. The researcher would meet individually with a teacher and verbally describe a hypothetical life s cenario (e.g. a child walks into the room and looks really sad). Then the researcher would instruct the teacher to act just as he/she normally would if actually in this situation. When the teacher had ample time to complete the steps of the selected tool, the researcher would stop them thank them and move sequentially through the other tools in a similar manner (i.e., vi a role play scenarios) until each was subsequently completed. Situations given to the teachers were different across tools and each gave the opportunity for teachers to enga ge in appropriate behaviors for each taskanalyzed tool. The same situations for each t ool were used for both the preand posttests in the initial BST.


16 Initial BST training. The initial BST training of this study consisted of pretests, training, and posttests. Following the pretests the teachers received behavioral skills training (on the curriculum described above) once a week for approximately two hours each session. During each session, the teach ers met as a group while the researchers instructed them on the tool for that week and modeled the tool. Then, the teachers rehearsed the tool on which they had receiv ed instruction and m odeling and received feedback about which steps they complete d correctly and on which ones they could improve. During the last meeting with these te achers, posttests were administered in the same manner they were administered in pretests to assess skill levels regarding tool use. PreBooster Training Assessment. Approximately one year following the initial teacher behavioral skills training (described above), the teachers’ skill levels were assessed again via role plays. Teachers acted out role plays which were slightly different than those used in the initial training, in that they were tailored to situations that might occur in the school environment, but c ontained all the necessary components to accurately assess skill levels, while data collect ors recorded the steps that were either correct or incorrect (e .g., a check mark was placed in the yes, no, or N/A column by each step in the task analysis of each tool; a sc ore of N/A which meant that the researcher acting as the child in the role play did not perform a particular st ep which would normally act as a discriminative stimulus leading to th e teacher’s next correct response). Scores for the prebooster assessments acted as the baseline for the presen t study. The function of the prebooster training assessments was to determine if scores had maintained or dropped in the months since the original training.


17 Intervention. Though it is clear that booster traini ngs are used to maintain the effects of a particular inte rvention over time by providing more treatment after the original intervention has ended (Wilson, 1992), it is less clear what each involves as they differ from study to study (Eyberg, Edwards, Boggs, & Foote, 1998). For this study, a booster training was performed in an attempt to maintain teacher ski ll levels or improve skill levels if they had dropped. This was done using a behavioral skills training format (i.e. instructions, modeling, rehearsal, and feedb ack). First, the primary researcher briefly reviewed each of the five tools that were taught in the initia l training by instruction to the teachers from a powerpoint slide presentation. Modeling of the steps of all five tools was then carried out. Following the modeling, the teacher was asked to exhibit the steps of the tools by participating in role plays. Specifically, those steps which were missed during pre-assessments were the focus duri ng instruction and m odeling though the other steps were briefly reviewed as well. Ther efore, prebooster assessments were actually a type of functional assessment tool which al lowed the primary researcher to tailor the focus of the booster curriculum for each teach er though each teacher r eceived a review of all of the tools. Each booster training (i.e a separate training for each teacher) lasted two to three and a half hours and took place dur ing one session. The same material was covered for all teachers. Session length varied due to the amount of questions, comments, and discussion topics in whic h each teacher was involved. The full study, including all training and th e pre and posttests, was c onducted over the course of approximately three months. PostBooster Training Assessment. Following the booster training, post booster assessments were conducted with each teacher. They were conducted identically to the


18 pre booster assessments except that different, though similar, role play scenarios were employed. In-situ probes At least one prebooster in-situ probe and one postbooster in-situ probe was conducted with each participant by the primary researcher and one research assistant. During each probe, three tools were assessed ( one exception to this rule occurred when no behavior was observed by either data colle ctor which would allow for the third tool, pivot, to be scored). The researchers entere d the classroom of the selected teacher and observed the interactions of the teacher with his/her students. Upon seeing a possible opportunity to engage in one of the tools, the researcher said, for example, “show me Stay Close with that student” while discreet ly pointing out the student. As the teacher performed the steps in the selected tool, th e researcher scored those steps using the checklist for that particular tool. The same tools (i.e. Stay Close, Use Reinforcement, and Pivot) were assessed before and after the booster training. A secondary observer was also present and recording responses for a pproximately half of the in-situ probes. Conducting these in-situ probes provided for an assessment of skill ac quisition in a more naturalistic setting as compar ed to the analogue setting in which the other assessments occurred. Target Behaviors and Data collection Data was collected by the primary resear cher and three assistants using tools checklists. There is a separate checklist fo r each tool which includes a list of tasks or steps to be completed for each tool (see Appe ndix A for checklists). As the teacher acted out the tool, the data collector s put a checkmark in the column entitled yes (i.e.correct),


19 no (i.e. incorrect), or N/A next to each step in the tool. If the rese archer who played the role of the child was supposed to say someth ing which, in turn, acted as a prompt for a certain teacher behavior but the researcher forgot to say it, the N/A box was checked because the teacher was never given the opportunity to respond. Interobserver Agreement Interobserver agreement was calculated by comparing the scoring of the primary researcher with those scores of the assist ant(s). Agreement was shown when responses were the same between researchers (i.e. bot h scored a particular step in the same manner). The average percentage agreement for each skill was calculated by dividing the total number of agreements by the total num ber of steps and multiplying the result by 100. Reliability was calculated for all anal ogue assessments and 55.6 percent of in-situ assessments. Helen’s average percentage agreem ent for analogue assessments was 77.8, Ginny’s average percentage agreement for an alogue assessments was 83.3, and Harriet’s average percentage agreement for analogue assessments was 81.1. Average percentage agreement scores for in-situ assessments for Helen, Ginny, and Harriet were 85.3, 80.5, and 93.3 respectively. Experimental Design There were two designs used within th is study. The first was a modified phase change ABAB design similar to that used by Barlow, Hayes, and Ne lson (1984). In these designs, time passing without trai ning was considered a variable connected to treatment. A true reversal design could not be conducted because the first two phases of data refer to an original training, not taught by the presen t researcher, which the teachers one year


20 prior to the proposed booster training conducted in this study. It is not, however, possible to remove the skills that were already taught in th e initial training in order for it to be a true reversal design. In this study, the first A phase was baseline before the initial training. During this phase, none of teachers had received any trai ning. The B phase that followed was the first posttraining phase (following the initial 15-hour training). The second A phase contained assessments which were begun a pproximately 12 months after the initial training and just prior to this studies’ booste r training. The degree of similarity between this phase and the first pretraining and posttr aining phases indicated how well the skills had maintained (Van Camp et al., 2008). It was hypothesized that the time between the last treatment phase and the booster training wo uld result in changes in skill levels for the teachers (i.e. a decrease in the implementation of the independent variable). Therefore, the booster training was implemented as the second intervention phase Additionally, a concurrent multiple baseline design across participants was employed throughout the booster training phase of the st udy (e.g. last two phases). Social Validity Following the study, each teacher completed a social validity questionnaire. The purpose of the social validity measure was to learn how valuable in terventions were to those expected to benefit from those interven tions (Baer, Wolf, Risley, 1968) so that the results might inform the current research er and others of important intervention components, how to improve assessments and interventions, and issues related to the feasibility of interventions. This particul ar questionnaire included three statements rated on a Likert scale: 1) Through this study, I gain ed valuable skills which will help me in


21 my teaching; 2) I felt like the booster traini ng helped me remember again and/or maintain skills which I had originally acq uired during the initial training and; 3) After the training, I felt like I was better prepared to handle the behaviors of children. It then offered two open-ended questions: 1) What did you like abou t the study? and; 2) What is one thing you would have changed about the study?


22 Results Pre-assessments for this study indicate d that teacher scores had decreased significantly following the postassessments for the initial training. Following the booster training, scores regarding tool use increased to at or a bove those levels following the initial training for all three teachers. All tools for each assessment point were av eraged. In other words, for scoring of one assessment, the percentage of steps correct was calculated for the first tool of five and then for each of the subsequent four involve d in that same assessment. Then, all five scores were added up for a total, which was th en divided by five to get an overall average for that assessment. This overall average wa s calculated for all assessments. Each of those averages represents a point on the graph (refer to Figure 1). For Helen, the initial preand pos ttraining scores were 49.2 and 84.4, respectively. Analogue assessment percen tage scores for Helen were 44 and 49 (prebooster) and 93.6, 70.5, and 76 (postbooster). In-situ assessment percentage scores were 52 (prebooster) and 90, 93.3, and 88.9 (post booster). For Ginny, the initial pre and post training scores were 46.6 and 75.5. An alogue assessment percentage scores for Ginny were 47 and 48 (prebooster) and 93.3, 90.3, and 92.8 (postbooster). In-situ assessment percentage scores were 63 (p rebooster) and 96.7 and 93.3 (postbooster). For Harriet, the initial pre and post training scores were 48 and 85. Analogue assessment percentage scores for Harriet were 56, 61, and 57.6 (prebooster) and 86.2 and 84.8 (postbooster). In-situ assessment percenta ge scores were 65.6 (prebooster) and 100 and


23 89.6 (postbooster). Scores for each individual tool assessments for all three teachers are provided in Table 1.


24 Figure 1 Each data point is the average of five different percentages (each one of which represents the number of steps correctly performed in one of five tools). 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 123456789Sessions Helen Ginny Harriet Analogue assessment In-situ assessment Average Percentage of Steps Performed Correctly Pre Training Post Training Pre Booster Post Booster


25 Table 1 Separate Percentage Scor es for All Assessments Note. This shows each teachers’ percentage scores on each separate tool for each assessment. SC=Stay Close, UR=Use Reinforcement, P=Pivot, R-UR=Redirect-Use Reinforcement, SE=Set Expectations Participant Phase SC UR P R-UR SE Helen Pre Booster 1 50 80 20 13 58 Pre-Booster 2 90 60 20 25 50 In-situ 1 55.6 83.3 20 Post Booster 1 89 100 100 87.5 91.7 Post Booster 2 75 100 40 62.5 75 Post Booster 3 88.9 100 40 87.5 63.6 In-situ 2 80 100 100 In-situ 3 77.8 100 Ginny Pre Booster 1 70 83 40 0 42 Pre-Booster 2 80 100 0 25 36 In-situ 1 70 83 40 Post Booster 1 100 100 100 100 66.7 Post Booster 2 88.9 100 100 87.5 75 Post Booster 3 88.9 100 100 100 75 In-situ 2 90 100 100 In-situ 3 80 100 100 Harriet Pre Booster 1 20 60 60 100 42 Pre-Booster 2 90 50 100 13 50 Pre-Booster 3 44.4 40 60 87.5 60 In-situ 1 70 66.7 60 Post Booster 1 100 100 60 87.5 83.3 Post Booster 2 88.9 100 60 100 75 In-situ 2 100 100 100 In-situ 3 88.9 100 80


26 Social Validity For the first three questions, all three teach ers rated either a 1 (i.e. greatly agree) or 2 (i.e. agree). One teacher indicated that she did not like being videotaped because she felt “self-conscious” but she did thank the res earcher for the training and said it “was really fun.” Moreover, each teacher reporte d that after the booster training they were having some success in their classrooms with the tools and described various scenarios to the researcher in which they observed success. The principal did not fill out a social validity questionnaire but did express gratitude throughout th e study for helping train his teachers in skills that would benefit students and indicated how pleased he was that his teachers were getting this training.


27 Discussion No known studies have evaluated the main tenance of skills for teachers who have received behavioral skills training. The cu rrent study found that skill levels decreased significantly one year after an initial training. A booster traini ng appeared to be effective in raising scores back to post initial training levels or higher for all three teachers. In-situ probes also indicated that teachers were able to implement the tools in their classrooms with students. It is encouraging that post booster in-situ scores tended to be even higher that analogue assessments indicating that teacher s were able to generalize the skills to the classroom environment during the probes. It is noteworthy to mention that the post -training scores of Helen were the lowest of the three teachers and this teacher was the only one to me ntion both to the researcher and via the social validity ques tionnaire that she did not like to be videotaped. Perhaps her performance would have been higher dur ing her analogue assessments had they not been videotaped as evidenced by the fact that her in-situ percentage scores were better (i.e., all in the high ei ghties to low nineties) in comparison to the analogue assessments. One limitation of this study is that mainte nance data, as far as following up after the study, was not collected afte r the booster training to dete rmine long-term effects of the training. However, from the last prebooster assessment until the end of the postbooster assessments, for the first teacher, at least 2 months had passed. Therefore, it can be said that maintenance did occur for that teacher over those couple months because skills did maintain at higher levels than thos e before the booster trai ning. It is not known if teachers will require additio nal booster trainings to maintain skill levels or for how


28 long skill levels will maintain following booste r trainings. The teachers in the current study were all assessed after approximately one y ear from an initial training therefore it is not clear when skill loss may have occurred. Additionally, it is unclear at what point in time a booster training would be effective to he lp achieve maintenance of skills. Future research should conduct evaluations about the points at which it is most effective or needed to conduct booster trainings. A sec ond limitation is that prompting occurred during the in-situ probes in the classroom setting. Teachers were instructed to implement a tool with a child therefore it is not know n whether teachers would be successful in determining appropriate situations to use tool s in the classroom. Further studies should assess longer evaluation durations with in-situ assessments to allow for more unprompted opportunities for teacher tool use and to determine at what point prompts might be faded. Future research might also evaluate whether other methods of booster training such as via videotapes would be effective in increasing or maintaining skills. Additionally, it would be beneficial to gather data by observation or incident repor t about student behavior to see what indirect effect, the training may have had on student behavior through changes in teacher behavioral practices. In conclusion, this study indicates that short booster training sessions can be effective in improving teacher skill levels in bo th analogue assessments and in the classroom. It is anticipated that the skills ta ught within the current training would help to improve teacher interactions with students and result in decreases in problematic behaviors and increases in ove rall instruction time.


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33 Appendices


34 Appendix A Tool Checklists Stay Close Tool Checklist Participant Name: ____________________________________________________________________ Behavior Analyst: ___________________________________________Date: ___________________ Step Yes No N/AComments 1. Get close to the child within 15 seconds of the Stay Close behavior (move toward child and be within arms reach, etc.). 2. Touch appropriately (pat, hug, rub, etc.). 3. Match facial expressions. (Appropriately reflect the emotion of the situation.) 1 4. Use appropriate tone of voice (voice matches situation, a neutral monotone is not good enough). 2 5. Relax your body language within 15 seconds of the Stay Close behavior (relaxed, arms open, attentive, looking at child, etc.). 3 6. Ask open-ended positive questions (what? who? how? when? where?). 4 7. Listen while the child is speaking. Talk less than the child. (Do not problem-solve unless the child asks for help. Do not interrupt or abruptly change the topic.) 5 8. Use empathy statements. (Act like a mirror and reflect the child’s feelings, express understanding, caring, etc.)6 9. Avoid reacting to junk behavior. 7 10. Stay cool throughout the process (no coercives). Trainer’s Notes: After step 5, steps do not have to be completed in any particular order. 1,2,3 A single instance of a punitive, disg usted or inappropriate fa cial expression (step 3), tone of voice (step 4) or body language (step 5) during any part of the role play should be scored “no” for step 3, 4, or 5. 4 Only one open-ended question is needed to score a “yes” for step 6. 5 If problem-solving is used without ch ild the asking for it, score “no” for step 7. If the caregiver begins to problem-solve, note if it occurs before or after the empathy statement. 6 Only one instance of an empathy statement is needed to score a “yes” for step 8. 7 A single instance of attending to junk behavior thro ughout the role play will be scored “no” for step 9. Overall Comments: (Circle any coercives used: sarcasm/teasing; criticism; threats; arguing; questioning; logic; despair, pleading, hopelessness; force; taking away privileges/items/allowance; one up-man-ship; silent treatment; telling on them to others. Be specific.)


35 Use Reinforcement Tool Checklist Participant Name: ______________________________________________________________ Behavior Analyst: ________________________________________Date: ________________Step Yes No N/A Comments 1. Tell the child what behavior you liked (if this is appropriate). 2.Provide a consequence for (Circle those provided): the behavior that matches Social Interaction the value of the behavior. Verbal praise Appropriate touch Tangible item Privilege Break from task 3.Provide the positive consequence within 3 seconds of recognizing the appropriate behavior (if possible). 4.Use sincere and appropriate facial expression, tone of voice and body language. 5.Avoid reacting to junk behavior. 6.Avoid coercion & punishment. Trainer’s Notes: 1 The Stay Close components must be used within 3 seconds of the caregiver responding to the appropriate behavior. If used after 3 seconds or not at all, score these items “no”. Score “No” if there is any instance of inappropriate expression, tone of voice, or body language after the first 3 seconds. If the observation is a competency check-off, caregiver should tell you how they would make sure the consequence is reinforcing without prompting. Overall Comments: (Circle any coercives used: sarcasm/teasing; criticism; threats; arguing; questioning; logic; despair, pleading, hopelessness; force; taking away privileges/items/allowance; one up-man-ship; silent treatment; telling on them to others. Be specific.)


36 Pivot Tool Checklist Participant Name: ___________________________________________________________________ Behavior Analyst: __________________________________________Date: ___________________ Step Yes No N/AComments 1. Say nothing about the junk behavior. (For example: Don’t say, “Stop that now!” or “Quit doing that!”)1 2. Do nothing to react to the junk behavior (for example: don’t roll your eyes, stomp out of the room, cross your arms, stare.) 2 3. Actively attend to another child, person, or activity. (For example: Read a book or praise another child for behaving appropriately.) 4. Once the child who displayed junk behavior behaves appropriately, provide reinforcement for the appropriate behavior (social interaction, praise, touch, item, and privilege, break from task) within 10 seconds of recognizing the appropriate behavior of this child. 5. Stay cool. No coercives. Trainer’s Notes: 1,2 Score “No” if there is any response to the junk beha vior, including laughing or any change of expression. However, if the caregiver realizes they have responded to the junk behavior and stops the response, note this in the Comments column and reinfor ce the acknowledgment and correction. Overall Comments: (Circle any coercives used: sarcasm/teasing; criticism; threats; ar guing; questioning; logic; despair, pleading, hopelessness; force; taking aw ay privileges/items/allowance; one up-man-ship; silent treatment; telling on them to others. Be specific.)


37 Redirect-Use Reinforcement Tool Checklist Participant Name: ___________________________________________________________ Behavior Analyst: _________________________________ ____Date: ________________ Step Yes No N/A Comments 1. Get within arms reach of the child (before saying anything). 2. Make sure the child stops the inappropriate behavior. (Use gentle physical guidance if necessary.) 3. Calmly say something like, Hey (childs name), I wa nt you to (state the positive alternative behavior). 4. If the child does not begin to do the suggested activity within 3 seconds, model, or gently guide her/him to do the activity. 5. Use Reinforcement when the child does the appropriate behavior (praise, touch). 6. Reinforce the behavior within 3 seconds after the appropriate behavior begins. (Stopping serious behavior may be the appropriate behavior.) 7. Say nothing and do nothing about junk behavior throughout the process. 8. Stay cool and use no coercives. Overall Comments: (Circle any coercives used: sarcasm/teasing; crit icism; threats; arguin g; questioning; logic; despair, pleading, hopelessness; force; taking away privileges/items/allowance; one up-man-ship; silent treatment telling on them to others. Be specific.)


38 Set Expectations Tool Checklist Participant Name: __________________________________________________________________ Behavior Analyst: ______________________________ ___________Date: ___________________ Step Yes No N/A Comments Part I. Set the Expectations Set the stage 1 1. Time (away from the behavior) 2. Place (uninterrupted) 3. Set positive tone 4. State the expectation clearly and specifically (when, where, what, how). 5. Briefly reflect the child’s feelings (empathy), if necessary (for example, “You sound upset...”). 2 6. Briefly explain the benefits of this expectation, only if the child asks. 3 Part II: Set the Consequences 7. State clearly the consequences for meeting and not meeting the expectation. 8. Negotiate as necessary. 4 9. Ask the child to restate the behavior and the consequences. 10. Acknowledge and praise the child’s restatement. 11. Avoid reacting to junk behavior of the child, if necessary. 12. Stay cool throughout the process (no coercives) Trainer’s Notes: 1 Ask participant to describe when, where, and how setting expectations is occurring (i.e., time, place, tone). 2 An empathy statement is only necessary if the child is upset with the expectation. 3 If the child does not ask, have the caregiver explai n to you the benefits. Score yes if the reason for doing the behavior is anything but something like, “b ecause I said so” or “so I won’t have to do it”. 4 Score No: If the child gave the caregiver an opportunity to negotiate, score item 10 as “no” if the caregiver does any of the following: a) said “No” to the child’s request; b) did not negotiate; c) said maybe; or d) put the child off until later. Score Yes: If the caregiver negotiates wh en asked and gives a different consequence than on the original plan OR if the caregiver negotiates without a definite consequence (e.g., says something like “we’ll get you a ‘special treat’ if it rains and you have made your bed”). Score N/A: If the child did not give the caregiver an opportunity to negotiate or if the child did not ask, “Why do I have to do it?” score item 11 as “N/A.” Overall Comments: (Were any coercives used: sarcasm/teasing; cr iticism; threats; ar guing; questioning; logic; despair, pleading, hopelessness; force; taking aw ay privileges/items/allowance; one up-man-ship; silent treatment; telling on them to others? Be specific.)


39 Appendix B Tool Definitions and Examples Tool Definition Example Stay Close Created to help improve the relationships between caregivers and children by teaching caregivers to provide attention by interacting positively and providing noncontingent reinforcement. It is used to make the attention of caregivers more desirable to the child. You are writing something on the whiteboard when a student walks in to your class looking really sad and sits down at their desk. Do what you would do. Use Reinforcement Involves giving reinforcement contingent on appropriate behavior (i.e. to draw attention to things you want the child to do more often). This tool is used to increase preferable behaviors and decrease non-preferred behaviors. After you give directions to your class for an assignment, you notice a student who usually behaves disruptively immediately begins working quietly. Pivot Refers to withholding attention for behaviors which are undesirable but not harmful and then immediately giving attention once an appropriate behavior is displayed by the child. One of your students begins making noises with their mouth. Do what you would do. Redirect—Use Reinforcement Involves calmly stopping a behavior that is harmful to self, property, or others, teaching the child a functionally equivalent replacement behavior (a behavior which will get them what they want but without the harmful effects), an d then reinforcing them for engaging in the appropriate behavior (e.g. praise, etc.). You see a student trying to open his Lunchables container with a very sharp knife but you are too far away at first to stop it. Set Expectations Involves a verbal agreement between the parent and child for a given task. Once the task is fulfilled, a reinforcer can be earned by the child. It is used to strengthen appropriate behaviors. The last time a particular student brought his homework assignment in completed, was last week on Thursday. Now, it is the following Wednesday. You know that this child really enjoys working on the computer. You want them to know that if they bring in their completed homework assignments over the course of a week, they earn 20 extra minutes of free time on the computer. If they don’t bring it in every day completed, they don’t earn that extra time.

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Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 39 pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
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ABSTRACT: Behavioral skills training (BST) has been employed within many different populations to effect change in the way of reduction or acquisition of behaviors. For this study, a multiple-baseline across participants and modified ABAB design were employed. Analogue assessments and in-situ probes were conducted with three teachers following an initial training which occurred several months previously. These pre-assessments were followed by a separate booster training session for each individual teacher which lasted three and a half hours or less. Following the training, analogue and in-situ post assessments were conducted with each teacher. The independent variable was the booster training and the dependent variable was the percentage of steps performed correctly within each of the tools across assessments. Results showed the booster training to be effective in raising teacher scores as measures of performance of skills learned in the training to higher than those before the training. Some were even higher than the posttraining scores of the initial training. These results suggest that a booster training was effective in helping to raise scores following many months following the initial training.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Kimberly Crosland, Ph.D.
Applied behavior analysis
Staff support
Special education
Teacher training
Dissertations, Academic
x Child and Family Studies
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
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