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Applied Behavior Analysis

In the Department of Health and Behavior Studies

Applied Behavior Analysis


Our teacher preparation program is devoted to the practices of teaching as a science. We believe that education should be first driven by the needs of students and families in terms of their contribution and access to habilitative lifestyles through the application of the basic and applied sciences of behavior. Thus, what works for the individual student drives both pedagogical and curricular decisions. The state of the science in teaching as behavior analysis calls for expert identification of the appropriate strategies and tactics needed by each student in the continuum leading to their maximum achievement of recognized educational standards as well as scientifically identified functional repertoires. Research from related fields of cognitive psychology and health and behavior studies serve as additional resources for tactics that are then applied through behavior analytic teaching. We develop teachers who are strategic scientists of pedagogy and behavior change tactics. Our graduates provide measurably effective schooling for children and work with others to realize a research based systems approach to education (Greer, 2002). We prepare teachers who can provide state of the science instruction for students with and without disabilities. Our graduates are especially prepared to work with diverse populations and students who require expert instruction.

We provide our teacher trainees with data-based pedagogical tactics and curricular objectives that are supported by the research literature as the most effective tactics currently available. Teachers are taught to use their continuous measurement and graphic display of their students’ responses to instruction as the means to individualize all pedagogical tactics within classrooms containing students with diverse repertoires. The curricular materials are tied to the National Common Core and New York State Curricular Guidelines and the English Excellence in Education Standards, such that modules within “method” courses incorporate how to teach the objectives found in the state guidelines for children from pre-school through grade 6. The standards are recast and appended according to the research literature as functional repertoires associated with the four major subdivisions of curricula--academic literacy, self-management, problem solving, and an enlarged community of interests (conditioned reinforcers).

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