Academic journal article School Psychology Review

The Effects of Tootling Via ClassDojo on Student Behavior in Elementary Classrooms

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

The Effects of Tootling Via ClassDojo on Student Behavior in Elementary Classrooms

Article excerpt

Teachers are not only responsible for the academic instruction of their students but also the critical role of managing student behavior (e.g., Sutherland & Oswald, 2005). The goal of behavior management is often to maximize academic instruction time, as time engaged is predictive of academic success (e.g., Caprara, Barbaranelli, Pastorelli, Bandura, & Zimbardo, 2000). Despite the importance of effective behavior management, many teachers report being ill-prepared to manage student behavior and describe the need for additional training and support in behavior management (Coalition for Psychology in the Schools and Education, 2006; Graziano, 2005). Given the need for effective behavior management strategies capable of being implemented while teachers deliver academic instruction, researchers have recommended that interventions not only be empirically supported but also teacher friendly (Lannie & McCurdy, 2007). Group contingencies are a class of intervention procedures that are likely to meet this need.

Group Contingencies and Public Posting

A group contingency describes an intervention in which a common consequence is delivered dependent upon the behavior of one member of a group, the behavior of a part of the group, or the behavior of the entire group (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). The number of students whose behavior is assessed may range from one student to all students. For those members of the group whose behavior is being considered, the same target behaviors are assessed and the criteria for reinforcement are identical (Skinner, Skinner, & Sterling-Turner, 2002), increasing the efficiency of delivering reinforcement (e.g., Gresham & Gresham, 1982; Witt & Martens, 1983). Group contingencies have a long history of use within classrooms, with early research demonstrating the utility of such procedures in reducing disruptive student behavior (e.g., Barrish, Saunders, & Wolf, 1969). Since the initial studies of classroom-based group contingencies, research has primarily focused on interdependent group contingencies (Maggin, Pustejovsky, & Johnson, 2017) in which group performance is evaluated collectively and reinforcement is provided to all or no students (Gresham & Gresham, 1982). In summarizing the effects of interdependent group contingencies, recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses have indicated clear support for the use of group contingencies as a means of addressing behavioral concerns within the classroom (Maggin, Johnson, Chafouleas, Ruberto, & Berggren, 2012; Maggin et al., 2017).

Concurrently with the investigation of classroom-based group contingencies, researchers began to evaluate the effect of public posting within the classroom. Public posting describes a procedure in which levels of performance, be they individual or group-wide, are made public to all members of a group. In an example of an early study, Van Houten, Hill, and Parsons (1975) implemented a procedure in which the number of words written per day for each student was posted on a board. As students exceeded previous scores, the board was updated to indicate improvements in performance. Results of the study indicated improved academic performance and on-task behavior during public posting conditions. Subsequent research has provided additional indications of the effect of teacher and student public posting, with utility documented for students with emotional disorders (Lyman, 1984), students with learning disabilities (Wolfe, Heron, & Goddard, 2000), and general education students (e.g., Maheady, Michielli-Pendl, Harper, & Mallette, 2006; Martini-Scully, Bray, & Kehle, 2000).


Although much of the group contingency and public posting literature has developed independently, the two interventions are inextricably linked in a procedure known as tootling (Skinner, Cashwell, & Skinner, 2000). Tootling, a term created to describe the opposite of tattling, describes a procedure in which children report their peers' appropriate behaviors. …

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