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Critical Discussion Paper - Dissertation Example

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CURRICULUM BASED ASSESSMENT AND PROGRAMMING A study of the etymology of the word “education” helps one understand its quintessential inherent characteristic, “to draw from within”. The true purpose of education, therefore, is to draw out the latent potential and capabilities from within an individual human being…
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Critical Discussion Paper
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Download file to see previous pages While a wide array of pedagogical techniques and tools are available, this paper discusses the three major ones, viz. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Mastery Learning, Direct instruction and General case programming. The strengths and weaknesses of each of these strategies are highlighted. ABA is today a vast treasure trove of theory, concepts and models and has evolved through systematic research and refined theories (Graziano, 1971; Maurice, Green & Luce 1996). It is a scientific breaking down of skills and tasks into small, manageable, distinct components which are taught in a hierarchical fashion. This approach establishes a relationship between the antecedent, behavior and consequence. Behavior change and improvement is attempted through reinforcers such as positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, differential reinforcement of other behaviors, non contingent reinforcement and differential reinforcement of alternative behaviors (Cooper et al., 1987; Fischer, Iwata, & Mazaleski, 1997). Rewards are used to reinforce desired behaviors, redirect or discourage inappropriate behaviors. ABA is now recognized as the most effective type of therapy for children with Autism and related disabilities (Lovaas, 1987; McEachin, Smith, & Lovaas, 1993; Maurice, Green, & Luce, 1996). Over the past thirty years, several thousand published research studies have documented the effectiveness of ABA across a wide cross section of populations, interventionists, settings and behaviors. The various ABA techniques in use are the ABC method or discrete trial instruction, behavior chains and backward chaining, high probability requests, behavioral contracts etc. The major strengths of this approach are that it facilitates identification, observation and measurement of behavior. ABA is structured and highly sequential. Alternative explanations are ruled out which fosters unambiguous, clear learning. Problem behaviors can be easily and effectively countered through a wide array of interventions. Measurement on the efficacy of the learning approach is easy and replication is also possible. The downside of ABA is that a behavioral intervention emphasizes control and exclusively utilizes reinforcers such as punishment. Each of the three schools of thought – humanist, behavioral and cognitive, has merits and shortcomings and may not work well in all situations (Tomei, 1998). The humanistic approach of Maslow and Rogers suffer from absence of clear design or direction in the classroom. There are also structural constraints in the information to be delivered. Behaviorism uses rewards for learning and this might discourage the student from learning for its own sake. Individual student attention span may also be impacted. The cognitive perspective featuring the "age stages" propounded by Piaget and Erikson, does not clearly explain the progress and movement from one stage to the next and how the various stages are linked to maturation. Lack of social influence is also a clear weakness. Mastery Learning is based on the concept of achieving mastery over one concept or skill before moving on to the other. The major positives of this technique are that it is highly scientific and the tasks are structured and ranked, according to the level of difficulty. It ensures that the student masters a concept before moving on ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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