Academic journal article The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy

Improving Implementation of Classroom Instruction through Teacher-Directed Behavioral Consultation: A Single-Case Demonstration

Academic journal article The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy

Improving Implementation of Classroom Instruction through Teacher-Directed Behavioral Consultation: A Single-Case Demonstration

Article excerpt

Abstract

In an illustrative case study we describe the process and outcome of class wide behavioral consultation with a public school teacher to improve her implementation of instructional procedures. Consultation emphasized formulation of a classroom behavior support plan, selection of mutually determined intervention objectives, data-based decision making, and performance feedback. Evaluation conducted in an AB design showed that consultation was associated with improved teacher and student behaviors. Elements of effective consultation and the delivery of behavior support intervention in public schools are discussed.

Keywords: behavioral consultation, behavior support, public schools.

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Public school classroom teachers frequently require technical assistance consultation from psychologists and behavior analysts (Luiselli & Diament, 2002). One objective of consultation is to improve how teachers conduct instruction with their students. The benefit from such consultation is that more effective instruction should facilitate learning and academic achievement (Skinner, 1998). Consultants also assist teachers in developing and implementing behavior support interventions. In this regard, Positive Behavior Support (PBS) (Sugai & Horner, 2002) posits a three-tiered implementation approach. At the whole-school level, "universal" procedures address the entire student population in both classroom and in non-classroom (e.g., cafeteria, outdoor areas, corridors) settings. The second tier, selected "targeted" interventions, concentrates on at risk students who can benefit from grouporiented supports (e.g., social skills instruction, checking in and out with a significant adult) or class-wide programs that may be established with individual teachers. Finally, "intensive" or individualized, student-specific programs are designed for students who require more intensive support. Research demonstrates that PBS practices within this three-tiered model can reduce reliance on punitive (exclusionary) discipline methods, facilitate academic achievement, and improve school climate (Luiselli, Putnam, Hander, & Feinberg, 2005; Putnam, Luiselli, Handler, & Jefferson, 2003; Sugai, Sprague, Horner, & Walker, 2000), as well as increase task engagement and proper implementation of effective instructional practices (Luiselli, Putnam, and Handler, 2001).

In many situations, consultants and teachers produce written plans that delineate instructional and behavior support procedures (Codding, Feinberg, Dunn, & Pace, 2005; Garrity & Luiselli, 2005). Even when an intervention plan is developed, it will only be effective if implemented accurately. Studies suggest that providing teachers with direct training and performance feedback related to intervention implementation is one approach to increase procedural integrity (Mortenson & Witt, 1998; Noell, Witt, Gilbertson, Rainer, & Freeland, 1997; Sterling-Turner, Watson, & Moore, 2002; Witt, Noell, LaFleur, & Mortenson, 1997). Specifically, it appears that integrity is compromised when teachers are not monitored during intervention implementation and do not receive corrective feedback. Conversely, when teachers set intervention objectives and are informed accordingly, procedural integrity and desirable outcomes are produced (Mortenson & Witt, 1998; Noell et al., 1997).

The following study illustrates a model of behavioral consultation that was used with a public school teacher to improve her implementation of instructional procedures in the classroom. We describe the process of consultation and resulting effects on the teacher's performance as well as on-task behavior of her students. As a case demonstration, our findings have relevance for behavior specialists providing consultation to public schools and the type of technical assistance that may be necessary to promote evidence-based instructional practices. …

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