PS340 Unit 5 DP

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450 words double spaces. no title page needed. reference the book below.

The reading for Unit 5 illustrates the importance of designing behavior intervention plans based upon the functions of the target behaviors. Identifying these probable functions is done through analyses of the antecedents and consequences surrounding the target behaviors. You were introduced to the influences of culture and society on behavior and how these influences impact your behavior intervention designs. Finally, you were introduced to several function-based behavior intervention approaches used by behavior analysts to modify behavior.

With these basics of behavioral functions in mind, discuss the following:

1. The two broad categories of behavioral function, attainment and escape/avoidance, and the narrower behavioral motivations that fall under these broad categories. Provide an example of a behavior that serves an attainment function and a behavior that serves an escape/avoidance function.

2. Design a behavior modification approach that you could use to modify each of the behaviors you discussed in your examples. What reinforcers will you use?

3. Describe three antecedent-based modifications that can be made to the classroom environment that will prevent or reduce the occurrence of inappropriate behavior.

Chapter 9 Reading

Shepherd, T. L., Linn, D. (2015). Behavior and Classroom Management in the Multicultural Classroom: Proactive, Active, and Reactive Strategies, 1st Edition. [Purdue University Global Bookshelf]. Retrieved from

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Chapter 9 Functional Behavior Analysis Trinity of Behavior Management After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following: • Explain the purposes of a functional behavior analysis. • Define and explain the relationship between behavior and the function of behavior. • Explain how a behavioral hypothesis is developed. • Describe the possible functions of behavior. • Explain how culture can influence the functions of behavior. • Describe the attributes of the two functional categories of behavior. • Write a behavioral hypothesis. • Explain the differences among the various kinds of functional-based interventions. Many teachers use reactive strategies to manage inappropriate student behaviors in the classroom. These default strategies are easy to implement and often result in the reduction of the inappropriate behaviors in the short term, but they result in the removal of students from the classroom and the cessation of the learning process (Clunies-Ross, Little, & Kienhuis, 2008). Unfortunately, unless they address the causes, or functions, of students’ inappropriate behaviors, teachers are unable to make effective behavior modifications that could result in long-term alterations of these behaviors. A functional behavior analysis is the only method that allows identification of the function of an inappropriate behavior (Pence, Roscoe, Bourret, & Ahearn, 2009). Once the function of the behavior has been identified, a function-based intervention can be implemented to reduce the behavior. The purposes of a functional behavior analysis are to determine the function of the inappropriate behavior and to determine the causal factors for the behavior (LaRue et al., 2011). The functional behavior analysis completes the process started by the functional behavioral assessment through the development of a behavioral hypothesis that serves as the basis for a strategy to modify the behavior by altering the antecedent or the consequences (see Table 9.1). A functional behavior analysis consists of five basic steps: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Clearly define the target behavior. Collect observable data related to the target behavior. Identify the function of the behavior. Develop a behavioral hypothesis. Develop an alternative behavior. If a functional behavioral assessment has been conducted, the first two steps of the functional behavior analysis have already been completed. The functional behavioral assessment uses behavioral observation to gain information about the student’s behavior (Ducharme & Shecter, 2011). In the third step, the function of the inappropriate behavior is identified. The fourth step of the functional behavior analysis is the development of a behavioral hypothesis. The behavioral hypothesis is generated based on the function of the behavior and the information obtained from the data collected during the functional behavioral assessment (Allday, Nelson, & Russel, 2011). Once a behavioral hypothesis has been formulated, an appropriate alternative behavior that serves the same function as the inappropriate behavior is developed and introduced to the student (Scott, Anderson, & Spaulding, 2008). The functional behavior analysis concludes with “the development of an alternative behavior based on the identified functional reinforcement to replace aberrant responding” (LaRue et al., 2011, p. 2450). Once the functional behavior analysis is completed and alternative behaviors have been determined, a behavior intervention plan can be developed and implemented. Table 9.1 Trinity of Behavior Management: Functional Behavior Analysis The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA, 2004) mandates that students with disabilities receive functional behavioral assessments under specific circumstances, and most functional behavior analyses are conducted with students with identified disabilities. In the limited research that has examined the use of functional behavior analysis with students without disabilities who display aberrant behaviors, functional behavior analyses have been found to be successful in identifying the functions of these behaviors, which resulted in appropriate interventions that reduced the behaviors (Shumate & Wills, 2010). Identifying the function of a student’s inappropriate behavior can help the teacher to develop alternative behaviors and interventions designed to reduce the inappropriate behavior and provide the student with the opportunity to be successful in school. Incorporating a functional behavior analysis in a universal design for classroom management increases the effectiveness of a behavior and classroom management program and provides students the interventions they need to be successful in school. Identifying the Function of a Behavior Every behavior has a function, or a dependent variable for the behavior. Identifying the purpose that a behavior serves is the first step in understanding the behavior. Behavior is an individual’s observable and measurable interaction with the environment, which is constantly changing and determined by a functional relationship to events (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). The function of a behavior is the purpose it serves for the individual; the functions of our behaviors are “why we do the things we do.” A person behaves in a particular way in order to obtain something (positive reinforcement) or avoid something (negative reinforcement). For example, Mayra goes to school every day (behavior) because she likes being with her friends (obtaining attention). Or Mayra goes to school every day (behavior) because the law requires her to attend school (avoiding truant officers). Or Mayra goes to school every day because her stepfather, who is home during the day, emotionally abuses her (avoiding abusive situation). Notice that the same behavior (going to school every day) has three possible functions. This is why it is important for teachers to determine the function of a behavior before trying to modify the behavior. An intervention based on the wrong function will not be effective in changing the behavior. Behavior is also constantly changing. For example, Mayra is now missing school (alternative behavior) because she broke up with her boyfriend (avoiding boyfriend at school). The function of the behavior is different, and the behavior is different; however, a change in function does not always necessitate a change in behavior. For example, Mayra’s mother and stepfather are divorced, and the stepfather, who was emotionally abusive toward Mayra, is no longer a variable in Mayra’s behavior. Yet Mayra still goes to school every day (behavior) to please her mother (obtaining attention from mother). The function, or purpose, of a behavior is generally not inappropriate; it is the behavior that is appropriate or inappropriate. For example, one student may work very hard to complete her assignments in a timely manner; another student may refuse to do his assignments. Both students are seeking the teacher’s attention. One behavior is deemed appropriate while the other is deemed inappropriate; however, gaining the teacher’s attention is not considered inappropriate. It is the behavior that needs to be modified, not the function of the behavior. School personnel need to replace the inappropriate behavior with an alternative behavior that has the same function. There are numerous reasons for students’ behaviors, but compiling lists of these reasons would be difficult and impractical, and the results would be incomplete. However, the reasons for behaviors can be simplified into two functional categories: attainment and avoidance/escape of a situation. Each category includes functional motivations (see Table 9.2). Attainment Many individuals behave in certain ways in order to obtain things they desire. People go to work to earn money; in turn, they use their pay to purchase things they need or want. Students study for tests so they can earn good grades. Children behave appropriately because they desire their parents’ attention. Attainment is a functionally motivated behavior in which an individual acquires something he or she wants. The functional motivations of attainment include attention, rewards and privileges, and power or control. Attention Attention is a common functional motivation for students (Mueller, Nkosi, & Hine, 2011; Shumate & Wills, 2010). Attention can include verbal and nonverbal praise from peers and adults (see Chapter 6). Most students want to be liked and accepted by their peers and by adults. They are not likely to seek negative attention. These students are likely to comply with expected classroom rules and work hard on academic assignments. They often respond positively to attention from teachers, which may take the form of verbal and nonverbal praise (e.g., “I like the way that Tim is working on his assignment,” a pat on the back, a smile). As a positive reinforcement, praise is often an effective method of providing students with attention. For teacher praise to be effective in managing behavior, it needs to be sincere and must be given to the student immediately after the student displays the appropriate behavior. Students can differentiate between sincere praise and praise that is forced or insincere, and the latter type of praise is ineffective in modifying students’ behaviors. Attention can also reinforce and maintain inappropriate behaviors. Inappropriate behaviors include talking without permission, refusing to complete assignments, and noncompliance with directions. Again, it is important to understand that it is not the function of the behavior that is inappropriate, but the actual behavior. The key to modifying behavior is to find an alternative behavior for the same function served by the inappropriate behavior. For example, Roberto constantly talked in class. No matter what consequences he received from Mr. Martin, his thirdgrade teacher, Roberto’s behavior did not improve. When a functional behavior analysis was finally conducted, it was determined that the function of Roberto’s behavior was attainment and the functional motivation was attention. Roberto, who did not have a father at home, wanted attention from Mr. Martin, who had become a surrogate father figure. Roberto was taught appropriate ways of gaining attention from Mr. Martin, and his inappropriate behaviors decreased. What Would You Do? Mayra Mayra is a fourth-grade student in Mrs. Peeples’s science class. She comes from a single-parent home. Her father is a Mexican immigrant who works as a truck driver for the city’s sanitation facility. Mayra’s mother passed away 5 years ago in an automobile accident. Mayra has always been a quiet student and has done well in science class. However, recently, Mayra has not been completing classroom assignments. Mrs. Peeples has discussed this with Mayra’s father, but he assures her that Mayra completes all her homework. It is only her classroom assignments in science that Mayra does not complete. When Mrs. Peeples hands out a science assignment, Mayra initially begins to work on the assignment but then starts looking around the classroom. Mrs. Peeples has been keeping Mayra in the classroom during the lunch period to complete the assignments, but this has not helped. In fact, her behavior has gotten worse; Mayra no longer tries to complete the science assignments. What would you do to determine the reason for Mayra’s behavior? What are the possible functions of her behavior? What intervention would be effective in helping Mayra complete her science assignments? Rewards and Privileges Rewards and privileges constitute another functional motivation of attainment. A common and effective reward in elementary schools, especially with younger students, is giving students gold or silver stars on exemplary work. A token system in which students receive points toward purchasing items (candy bars, inexpensive toys, and the like) from the classroom store is another example of rewards. Older students may prefer earning computer time for appropriate behaviors. Not only do activities reward students for appropriate behaviors, but they can also be used as part of a behavior modification strategy. For example, students with emotional and behavioral disorders may earn time to play a board game when they display appropriate behaviors. The teacher could also use this activity to develop social skills (e.g., getting along, taking turns, being a good loser). Conversely, rewards and privileges can serve to increase inappropriate behavior. For example, a mother and her 3-year-old daughter go to a retail store to buy some clothes. The daughter sees a small toy she wants and begins to throw a tantrum when her mother refuses to buy it for her. Even though the mother tells the daughter several times that she cannot have the toy, the mother finally relents and gives the toy to the daughter so she will stop her tantrum. Thus, the daughter learns that she can get certain rewards by exhibiting inappropriate behaviors. Power or Control The final functional motivation of attention is power or control over a situation or event. One of the most common examples is the “power struggle” between the teacher and a student. Gaining power is a basic human need, and when that need is not met, the result can be conflict. In the teacher–student relationship, the student is often trying to maintain some type of control in his life, especially if he feels that he has little control or power in other areas of his life. Although preservice teachers are often advised to avoid power struggles with students, the dominant culture encourages a win-at-all-costs mind-set that contradicts this lesson. Winners are respected and idolized; losers are insignificant. Teachers need to fight the inclination to try to “win” in power struggles with students. If a teacher wins such a power struggle, the result is likely to be damage to the relationship between the teacher and the student, and teacher–student rapport is a crucial element of effective behavior and classroom management. Additionally, the student will probably view the classroom as a threatening place, and this contradicts the teacher’s duty to provide a safe and secure environment in which learning can take place—another integral component of an effective behavior and classroom management plan. When a teacher wins a power struggle, forcing the student to comply with the teacher’s demands, the student may be left feeling insignificant and powerless. Avoidance/Escape of a Situation Sometimes individuals behave in certain ways to avoid or escape nonpreferred activities. For example, a person may avoid going to a social gathering with colleagues because he has had negative interactions with the individual hosting the event. Instead, the person informs the host that he has already made other plans and cannot attend. Avoidance/escape of a situation is a functionally motivated behavior. Self-injury, aggression, disruption, and inappropriate vocalizations are common behaviors associated with avoidance/escape of a situation (Ingvarsson, Hanley, & Welter, 2009). The functional motivations of avoidance and escape include social isolation, nonpreferred activities, adverse interactions, and changes. Social Isolation Sometimes a student will behave in a certain manner in order to avoid attention from others. For example, a student may try to make himself invisible by taking a seat distant from the teacher’s desk, sitting low in his chair, and keeping his eyes lowered to avoid being noticed by the teacher. Students who behave this way often do so because they lack confidence in their ability to answer questions posed by the teacher. A low sense of self-efficacy can affect students’ beliefs in their abilities and their behavior (Bandura, 1986, 1997; Briones, Tabernero, & Arenas, 2007). Students who have been abused will also often avoid attention from others. They may feel detached from others and feel like they do not belong at school. Even though they may not want the teacher to call on them, and they may disengage from social interaction, abused children are likely to perceive that others are distancing themselves from them (Elliott, Cunningham, Linder, Colangelo, & Gross, 2005). Nonpreferred Activities Students often behave in certain ways when they want to avoid unpleasant activities. Some students display inappropriate behaviors when avoiding boring and difficult academic tasks that are especially frustrating and do not meet their academic needs. Again, the behaviors displayed by such students vary, even though the function of the behaviors remains the same. For example, Michael may defiantly refuse to complete an assignment on double-digit multiplication by failing to comply with the teacher’s redirection to work on the assignment or by tearing up the assignment worksheet. Conversely, Marta may covertly refuse to complete the same assignment by sitting quietly at her desk and not drawing attention to herself. While the two behaviors are completely different, the function of the behaviors is the same. Adverse Interactions Students sometimes display inappropriate behaviors when trying to avoid certain interactions with peers or adults in certain settings. For example, because Frank is a student with emotional and behavioral disorders, his teacher, Mr. Poteet, is less tolerant of Frank than he is of other students. As a result of the poor rapport between Frank and Mr. Poteet, Frank displays inappropriate behaviors in order to be sent back to the resource room. Students may also avoid interactions with peers in certain settings because they are likely to be teased or bullied. For example, peers constantly tease Mary at recess. In Mrs. Clarke’s history class, which meets prior to recess, Mary always refuses to finish her assignment. As a result of her behavior, Mrs. Clarke keeps her in at recess to complete her assignment, and Mary avoids an unpleasant interaction with her peers. Sometimes, adverse interactions in school can lead to school refusal, or the student’s attempt to miss school. School refusal is generally the result of cultural factors, family factors, peer factors, and/or neuropsychiatric factors (Casoli-Reardon, Rappaport, Kulick, & Reinfield, 2012; Wimmer, 2008). Diverse students may have difficulty “fitting in” at school because of language and cultural differences. Students with language differences may have problems communicating with peers and making friends, leading to social isolation. Students with cultural differences may have difficulty connecting with a European American curriculum. If lessons have little meaning to students’ lives, they are more likely to demonstrate off-task behaviors. As a result, language and cultural differences could lead to a sense of isolation, which in turn could lead to school refusal. Family factors can also lead to school refusal. Families from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds may put education second to family financial needs. Some adolescents remain at home to help take care of younger siblings. Abusive families may keep children home from school when the children show evidence of abuse (Casoli-Reardon et al., 2012). Children from low socioeconomic backgrounds may not feel welcome in school because teachers perceive their families as dysfunctional and often blame them for the children’s behaviors (Hyland & Heuschkel, 2010). Teachers often do not know enough about these families to help these students, which is why it is important for teachers to establish relationships with their students’ families (see Chapter 3). Relationships with peers are often a crucial factor influencing the academic and behavioral performance of students. Students who are belittled, teased, or bullied often do not do well in school, and these students will avoid such interact ...
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School: University of Maryland


PS340 Unit 5 DP
Every behavior has a function and understanding the function is essential to
understanding the behavior and developing a modification plan to manage it. The function is the
reason why people do things the way they do (Shepherd & Linn, 2015). Behaviors with
attainment function are those that a person engages in to get something they desire. For instance,
John studies for his exams to get good grades and attention from the teacher. John wants to
acquire the good grades and attention from or to be congratulated by his teacher. John also wants
to get rewarded for good performance thus reads to pass his exams.
Behaviors with escape or avoidance function are those that a person engages in to a...

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