Unformatted text preview: nforced for bringing in two assignments. Once this is established, the student is
reinforced for three assignments.
Chaining. A behavioral chain is a series of stimuli and responses that are
connected in sequence (Gagne′, 1977). In a typical chain, one stimulus cues a
response that is reinforced. The reinforcement then serves to cue the next
response in the chain, and so on. The stimuli and responses are linked together 38 like a chain, with one link connected to the next. The notion of behavioral chains
has implications for both instruction and management.
Chaining as an instructional design idea involves identifying the discrete
simple behaviors that make up complicated behaviors and teaching those simpler
behavior one at a time and in an appropriate sequence (Alberto & Troutman,
1999; Mayfield & Chase, 2002). For example, if a teacher wanted to teach
students how to balance a chemical equation, the steps in balancing the equation
would be identified, and the students would be taught to do each step correctly in
sequence. The results of performing each step would now be the antecedent for
the next step.
Chaining also has relevance as a classroom management idea. On
occasion, you will find it useful to think about misbehavior as a sequence of
events that are chained together. For example, whenever one of your students
leaves his chair, he usually gets in a fight with another student. When you
intervene with the fight, this often leads to extreme belligerence on the part of this
particular student. In this example, the fighting and out-of-seat behaviors are
linked together. This understanding could be very useful, because if you can
intervene successfully with the out-of-seat behavior, then the number of fighting
incidences could also be reduced. You also might find that you are better
equipped to manage the out-of-seat behavior than the fighting and belligerence 39 that follows. Looking for behavioral chains allows you to make choices about
when to intervene with a behavior.
Here are some additional ideas to consider as you decide how to use
chaining and shaping in your classroom.
• Help students set improvement goals. When they achieve a goal,
increase the challenge level. • When teaching a complicated skill with multiple steps, introduce each
step separately at first. Also, make sure students have any necessary
prerequisite skills for what they are about to learn. • Be aware of curricula guides or scope and sequences that tell you what
knowledge or skills your students need to be developing at this point in
their education. • Look for behavioral chains in the classroom. For example, with some
volatile students there are situations that predictably set them off. Try
to reduce these types of situations.
Behavioral Learning Theory: The On-Going Debate Almost from its first applications in schools, behavioral learning theory
has produced controversy. Even today, the use of behavioral techniques in
classrooms continues to be debated. This debate tends to focus around both the...
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- Spring '08
- Classical Conditioning, B. F. Skinner, Ivan Pavlov