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Iris Center Case Study

Case Study Level A, Case 1- Sam

Specific Praise Summary and Rationale

Instructors that use motivational and inspiring oral and written statements as the tool for acknowledging the display of the expected behavior outcomes or patterns by their student utilize specific praise (Curran & Iris, 2003). It is an effective method for encouraging appropriate behavior since it contributes to the establishment of the trusting teacher-student relationship due to its specificity and sincerity, which are types of positive attitudes that might be lacking in the models available to the student. Therefore, the teachers that wish to the specific praise in their classroom must ensure that the statement is non-judgmental, delivered as immediate feedback to the desired behavior and consist of different types of compliments to achieve the desired positive reinforcement.

Sam’s teacher can use the strategy to help achieve his goal of completing the number of independent assignment by recognizing his accomplishment, providing instant positive feedback of the areas that he showed improvements and encourage him to invest more time in the difficult ones to improve his grade. According to Alberto and Troutman (2006), the use of specific praise to help Sam complete his independent task would help understand that the behavior is expected in the classroom and contribute to the developing of a trusting relationship between. Also, the use of specific praise would enhance his ability to focus on his task during the independent sessions instead of the off-task behaviors that result in his poor performance.

Criterion-Specific Rewards Summary and Rationale

Curran et al. (2003) wrote that criterion-specific rewards consist of the interventions that are used for promoting appropriate behavior in the classroom. The elements of the strategy that include tangible incentives, privileges, and activities are given to the student after he or she has met the requirements for the target behavior or performance standards. Also, it is a suitable strategy for teaching learners the relationship between their actions and consequences that occur from them, which is its characteristic that makes it less costly to implement and document its outcome. However, educators that plan to use criterion-specific rewards must understand the role of the students in the selection of the positive reinforcements that motivate them to strive towards the attainments of the minimum acceptable standards for the classroom behavior.

In the case of Sam, the teacher would need to use privileges and tangible reinforcers to encourage him to meet the goal of earning 80% or higher on all his completed assignment. One of the reasons why privileges can be an effective strategy is to inform him that he would be allowed to choose the classmates for his group whenever he complete his independent assignments and scores 80% or higher (Kauffman, Mostert, Trent, & Pullen, 2006). A further rationale for the potential of criterion-specific rewards to help him meet the performance and behavioral goals is that it would allow him to select the tangible incentives from the options provided by the teacher, thereby giving him the responsibility to control the consequences of his actions.

Choice-Making Summary and Rationale

According to Curran et al.(2003), teachers that wish to improve the potentials of their students to engage the display of specific behaviors or prevent inappropriate ones in the classroom can use the choice-making strategy, which affords them the opportunity to choose from various alternatives. It is a tool that has the benefits of promoting positive interactions between the learners and instructors, increase task completion and accuracy capabilities of students, and the students’ attainment of high task accuracy levels. Also, the decision to provide students the chance to choose certain aspects of their daily routines exposes them to the processes for making decisions and identifying the behavioral problems that would prevent them from accomplishing their tasks and goals.

Meanwhile, the choice-making strategy is ideal for helping Sam’s teacher to enhance his accuracy and completion rate that would lead to the minimum 80% performance score because she can use interview, observation, and interests to create a list of options that would maintain the instructional integrity that is needed for accomplishing this objective (Banks, 2014). Secondly, the strategy is useful for Sam’s situation since the teacher can use his interests in reading magazines and books to create information gathering options from the textbooks and the Internet for his task completion and accuracy. Other relevant items that can be used for creating options for Sam include scheduling, demonstrating knowledge, and materials and media.

Case Study Level A, Case 2 – Heather

Effective Rules Summary and Rationale

Rules are designed as standardized guidelines that all students in the classroom must follow to maintain the level of safety and comfort that is required for learning in the classroom. Also, the essence of developing and enforcing rules in the classroom is the identification and prevention of inappropriate behaviors that would hinder the attainment of the intellectual and moral development that the classroom activities are designed to foster (Curran et al., 2003). Therefore, the establishment and application of effective rules would not only help students to self –regulate their behavior but understand their role in the performance of their classmates.

Heather’s teacher can use rules to help her correct her behavior by showing her that when a student raises his or hand and wait to be called before speaking, it leads to less disruption and increase the chance for others to learn. The use of this strategy is relevant to the goals of correcting Heather’s misbehavior because of its capacity to teach her the consequences of failing to observe the rules and the impacts of the behavior on the learning experience of other students. Finally, the use of effective rules is required for helping the student to develop the understanding and attitude that would lead to the completion of her independent assignments, promote communal interactions in the classroom, and acquisition of some of the skills for the performance of her civic responsibilities.

Contingent Instructions Summary and Rationale

Contingent instruction is a behavioral management strategy that allows the teacher to make a student discontinue his or her engagement in misbehavior by providing the option of the appropriate. According to Curran et al. (2003), a statement that tells the student to stop doing talking to her neighbor and focus on her task during independent activities is more effective than the reprimand that only instructs on the wrong behavior but did not give instruction on the right one. Aside from instructing the student on the need to stop a particular action, contingent instruction serves the purpose of reducing the frequency of those that break classroom rules or make the environment unsuitable for other learners.

Furthermore, the contingent instruction can help Heather’s teacher accomplish the goals of decreasing her interruptions during discussions by telling her to listen to classmates while they are speaking or contributing to the discussion. In this regard, the teacher can say “Heather, please let your classmate finish her presentation before providing your solution.” An additional reason why this strategy would help the teacher achieve the desired behavioral goals for the student is its capacity to allow focus on the completion of her independent since it is clear she gets excited with the large group that is present in the classroom but unavailable in the resource room for mathematics support. In a nutshell, contingent instructions would help Heather understand the adverse impacts of disrupting her classmates during discussions, her failure to seek permission before speaking, and distractions during the completion of independent on the learning experiences of all students.

Group Contingency Summary and Rationale

Group contingency is a behavioral intervention strategy that enables students to make informed choices regarding their actions by using the positive aspects of peer pressure. According to Curran et al. (2003), the technique is designed for “increasing the desired behavioral patterns, prevent the problems that cause them, and decrease the frequency of misbehaviors. The scholar further noted that potential for the strategy to accomplish the desired outcome is dependent on the methods for its applications and the level of understanding of the teacher on the effects of the three types of group contingencies including dependent, independent, and interdependent. While dependent groups serve the purpose of rewarding the small groups for the display of appropriate behaviors by their peers, the independent contingency is aimed at rewarding individual attainments of the goals that are set for the group.

One of the rationales for selecting this strategy to help Heather deal with her behavioral problems effectively is that the independent contingency can help earn reinforcements when she fails to call out answers or interrupt her classmates during the discussion. Also, the strategy is suitable for the student since the support provided by her classmates would help her to change to the desired behavior of working independently during individual tasks and allowing others to learn during group work.

Case Study Level B, Case 1 – Doug

The Rationale for Specific-Praise Strategy

Doug’s behavior issue is caused by his frustration with hand-written assignments, which is the method that is used for the completion of independent tasks in the classroom. While his performance during group discussion sessions and hands-on activities meet standards, the behavior problem can be resolved through the use of the specific-praise strategy. In this regard, the intervention would focus on the use of oral and written statement that recognizes the desired behavior such as the commencement of the written assignments and its completion. Also, it is a suitable tool for motivating Doug to strive toward success in the difficult tasks through the through the relationship between him and the teacher (Banks, 2014). Finally, the potential of the strategy to allow the teacher to use the specific praises for the entire class as a means to inspire Doug is an additional factor for its recommendation for this scenario

Implementation Plan

The first step for implementing the specific-praise strategy is the identification of the daily independent tasks that Doug experiences difficulty in its completion in the classroom. The next step is to create and deliver the right praise statement to the student for the display of a desired behavior or accomplishment. For example, the teacher can say “Doug, you did an excellent job by starting your written task when everyone started by not drawing robots or playing with your Lego gadget first.” An additional aspect of the application of the specific-praise strategy that is important for helping Doug complete his independent written assignment is the use of the written statement. In this regard, the teacher can write a comment on the specific improvements that he noticed in the assignment sheet during grading. According to Curran (2003), it is an approach that would motivate the student to improve his behavior because it is immediate, private, and specific to the desired behavior. A final aspect of the implementation of this strategy is the use of different types of praise for various achievements to ensure relevance and consistency towards the desired skills and grade-level performance standards.

Case Study Level B, Case 2 – Ellie

The Rationale for Group Contingency

Group contingency is the recommended strategy for increasing Ellie’s participation in group activities, which is necessary for increasing her social interactions and acceptance by her peers in the ninth grade. According to Curran et al. (2003), the technique is designed for helping the student to attain the desired behavioral patterns, prevent the problems that limit the capacity of the student to accomplish this goal. However, the dependent group is the type of contingency strategy that is most appropriate for motivating the student to participate in activities that would assist her in learning new social skills. Also, the technique has the potential to help her earn rewards when she displays the desired behavior for her small group. An additional rationale for recommending this strategy is the small number of students in the group, which is vital for reducing the pressures on the student to attain the expected behavior.

Implementation Plan

During the implementation of the elements of the dependent group contingency strategy, the first step is the identification of the positive reinforcement that would motivate the student by soliciting her input during the creation of the plan. In the next stage, Ellie would be assigned to a group of three students that she selected during the planning phase and encouraged to work with them during group activities and discussions. The student will earn a 5-minute free time pass every time she works willingly with her group during the completion of the required assignment. Also, the free-time would be based on her choice and can include a work-alone time when group work is not compulsory for the class. Also, the cumulative pass approach would be used to increase her consistency in the display of the desired behavior by converting seven consistent free-time passes to a library session. Finally, the chance to earn the reward would be extended to other students to prevent the impression that Ellie is given preferential treatment over them despite having the same need in the classroom.


Alberto, P. A., & Troutman, A. C. (2006). Applied behavior analysis for teachers (7th ed.). Pearson Merrill/Prentice Hall. ISBN: 9780131179943

Banks, T. (2014). Creating positive learning environments: Antecedent strategies for managing the classroom environment & student behavior. Creative Education5(07), 519.

Curran, C., & the IRIS Center. (2003). Encouraging appropriate behavior. Retrieved on [11/21/2014] from ICS-005.pdf

Kauffman, J. M., Mostert, M. P., Trent, S. C., & Pullen, P. L. (2006). Managing classroom behavior: A reflective case-based approach (4th ed.). Allyn & Bacon. ISBN: 9780205448814

Wolfgang, C. H. J. (2009). Solving discipline and classroom management problems: Methods and models for today’s teachers (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons., Inc. ISBN: 9780470129104


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