Applied behavior analysis or ABA is a treatment based on behavioral theory that can be used in a variety of settings and with many different ages and groups of people. ABA is used to increase skills and quality of life of those with autism and other developmental and behavioral differences.
Applying ABA Techniques to Classrooms
ABA is often used in a therapeutic setting and at home, but its techniques and understanding can be applied in the classroom. In classroom settings, ABA is used to help students with challenging behaviors enjoy a more successful learning experience. It can also help students without challenging behaviors experience learning in a new way. Already, teachers and schools are incorporating some concepts of ABA into their classrooms.
Guiding Classroom Behavior for a Better Learning Experience
An example of an ABA concept that many teachers may be familiar with is a token economy. Token economies motivate students and promote or discourage specific behaviors. Some classrooms may use a check or stamp system in which students receive a stamp on their paper or book for participating in class, listening to instruction, or turning in assignments. Students would then exchange their stamps for prizes at the end of the day or week. The system is encouraging and rewarding students for completing their assignments and participating (positive reinforcement), but also discouraging students from not completing their work by the loss of an opportunity to receive a rewarding stamp (negative punishment). Token economies are valuable in classroom environments for the number of students being served.
At home it’s easy to provide a specific reinforcer such as 5 minutes of computer time for completing academic tasks. But this kind of system could become chaotic and unmanageable in a class of 20 students. With a token system, stamps can easily be provided and then traded later in the day or week for an activity time or physical reinforcer of some kind.
Give Your Teaching Career a Boost with a Degree or Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis
A classroom utilizing ABA principles can offer a better learning environment for students and educators. ABA classrooms can be less stressful, more controlled, and foster stronger relationships.
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By: Khrista Neville, MS and Myra Bundy, Ph.D., BCBA