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Examples Of Individual Reinforcement Systems (page 2)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Jan 12, 2011

Punch Cards

Punch cards are especially effective when the function of the behavior is escape or avoidance because it allows the student to minimize the undesired task by actually doing it. For example, a student who hates to do homework (and what student doesn't?) can be allowed to get out of homework on Fridays by completing all homework assignments for Monday through Thursday. Every day the homework is completed, he or she gets a punch on the card to track progress toward the goal (Figure 11.8).

We have also typically used a punch card system for finishing work on time (earning a free assignment coupon) and for silent reading (earning the choice of an alternative activity on the fifth day during the time scheduled for silent reading).

Positive Attention Trackers

A positive attention tracker is a good intervention to use when the function of the student's problem behavior is clearly attention. The student chooses an icon of a favorite character or special interest, and rows of this are put on a target behavior sheet for each time interval (Figure 11.9). The numbers 1, 2, and 3 are also included at the end of the row for each time interval to record the number of redirections given. Every time the teacher or another adult gives the student behavior-specific praise, he or she also circles an icon. When a certain number of icons are circled, the student chooses a reinforcer from his or her menu. This provides a way to check that adults are meeting that four-to-one positive-to-negative ratio in a visual way that also provides additional reinforcement for the student.

Positive Attention Trackers

Positive Attention Trackers

Key Points to Remember

  • Target behavior sheets come in many different formats and are used for identifying behaviors to be targeted and a schedule for how often these behaviors are monitored.
  • Target sheets raise the student's awareness of behaviors targeted, are a good source of data for functional behavior assessments, and can be used to track progress over time.
  • When designing target behavior sheets, teachers should let the student participate, use positive language, limit the number of skills, and embed visuals and special interests.
  • When target behavior sheets are in place, allow the student to keep it throughout the day if they want to, review it regularly with the student, use turnaround and bonus points, allow the student to self-monitor when he is ready, and communicate to adults at home what constitutes a successful day.
  • Point and level systems are designed to be an organizational framework for managing student behavior where students earn more privileges and responsibilities as they demonstrate more control over their behavior.
  • Point and level systems mirror real life due to the fact that in our society, privileges are given or removed based on our behavior.
  • Teachers should be careful to design point and level systems to accommodate the individual needs and specific goals of each student with regard to initial level placement, use of reinforcement and undesirable consequences, and criteria for progressing through the system.
  • Individual token boards can be used to reinforce students on specified behaviors and can travel with them across school settings.
  • One way to make contracts more effective is to have the students write their own contract, choosing the behaviors to work on, criteria, and consequences contingent on the stipulations of the contract, and then negotiate the fine points with them to develop the final product.
  • When contracting, make sure you can deliver the reinforcement contracted for at the contracted time and with the contracted people involved.
  • Punch cards are especially effective when the function of the behavior is escape or avoidance because they allow the student to minimize the undesired task by actually doing it.
  • A positive attention tracker is a good intervention to use when the function of the student's problem behavior is clearly attention.

Discussion Questions and Activities

  1. Think of a student you teach who has challenging behaviors. Using the guidelines provided in this chapter (use positive language, limit the number of skills, have specific target skill individualized to each student's needs, and let the student give input on what skills to target), make a list of targeted behavioral skills for this student.
  2. Setting realistic criteria for reinforcement of desired behaviors is important. If Jamal averages 38 percent on a baseline target behavior sheet monitoring the skill "Complete Your Work on Time," what would be realistic criteria for earning a reinforcer?
  3. List the reinforcers available in your classroom. Separate them into three levels based on what the students in your class want the most.
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