Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Keith Radley, Ph.D.

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Brad Dufrene, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Evan Dart, Ph.D.

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dan Tingstrom, Ph.D.

Committee Member 4 Department

Psychology

Abstract

Disruptive behaviors have been shown to impact academic performance in the classroom. Praise is a commonly prescribed intervention to decrease classroom disruptive behaviors and increase academic engagement. In this study, an intervention package consisting of large-group training, verbal reminders, and visual performance feedback (VPF) combined with contingent preferred rewards was used to target three elementary school teachers’ use of behavior specific praise (BSP) in the classroom during a selected intervention period. Disruptive behaviors as nominated by teacher report were additionally assessed to determine if increased praise would lessen the frequency of class wide disruptive behaviors.

Using a multiple baseline design, three elementary school teachers observed to be nonadherent following large-group instruction were verbally prompted to deliver praise at an increased rate. When teachers failed to increase BSP rate, individual training on BSP was provided using behavior skills training (BST) procedures followed by provision of preferred rewards following each session. Reward fading and two-week maintenance observations were also conducted. Results indicate an increase in BSP above baseline levels for all three teachers in the intervention, maintenance and follow-up conditions.

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