If you're a BCBA supporting kids in public school settings, or even if you're a parent who has kids in school, you probably already know that sound classroom management is hard to come by. This phenomenon is perhaps more acute as schools have to contend with the disruptions in continuity imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As such, it is reasonable to ask what Behavior Analysis has to offer when it comes to helping teachers spend more time teaching, and less time dealing with conduct problems.
Luckily, Behavior Analysis has provided us with a tried and true, easily implemented strategy for improving classroom management, and it's called The Good Behavior Game (GBG for short). And in Session 171, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Jeanne Donaldson from Louisiana State University about the GBG in quite a bit of detail.
As you'll discover in the interview, Jeanne earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Florida and is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Louisiana State University, where she conducts research on commonly-encountered childhood behavioral challenges. She was the 2018 recipient of the B. F. Skinner Foundation New Applied Researcher Award from APA Division 25. She is currently an Associate Editor at the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Dr. Donaldson is a BCBA-D and Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Louisiana.
In this episode we discuss how Jeanne got into Behavior Analysis, we provide an overview of the general structure of the GBG, and we hear what it was like for Jeanne to run the GBG for the first time in a classroom setting. We also talk about procedural variations of the GBG as well as how to troubleshoot when the GBG.
In these exchanges, I hope you'll develop an appreciation of the broad applicability of this approach, especially in light of some of the positive outcomes that have been documented in some longitudinal studies of the GBG.
At the same time, I always get a bit disappointed when discussing the GBG, because we have an extraordinarily robust intervention ready to offer the world, but as we discuss in this episode, most public school teachers have no clue about it. It's kind of the opposite of the Habit Reversal literature, where the behavioral treatment of tic disorders could be considered standard-of-care these days.
As such, for my fellow school-based practitioners, I'd love to hear what you think the barriers are to this intervention.
Lastly, Jeanne has also contributed to the Time Out literature, and for Patreon subscribers, we spend the last 15 minutes or so discussing what some current best practices are for using this procedure. Patreon subscribers can get early access and ad-free episodes, along with bonus content like this.
Here are links to the resources we discussed:
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In the ninth installment of the Inside JABA Series, I'm joined by Drs. Claire St. Peter, Jeff Tiger, and many-time guest Derek Reed. Unfortunately the JABA Editor in Chief, Dr. Linda LeBlanc, was not able to join us, but she did choose some very cool articles for us to talk about. The articles are:
And while we did review the papers, we went super deep into the inner workings of the JABA review process. In doing so, what qualities an action editor looks for in selecting manuscript reviewers and how reviewers become 'known' for specific areas of expertise.
While we didn't solve the mystery of why Reviewer #2 is consistently a pain in the neck, we did talk about considerations of when to publish in JABA, and when to look towards other scientific outlets. This led to an unexpected but nonetheless fascinating discussion of how to disseminate one's research outside of mainstream behavior analytic journals. If you don't listen to any other part of this episode, please check that section out.
I'll leave you with this quote from the abstract from Sidman (2011):
I have written before about the importance of applied behavior analysis to basic researchers. That relationship is, however, reciprocal; it is also critical for practitioners to understand and even to participate in basic research. Although applied problems are rarely the same as those investigated in the laboratory, practitioners who understand their basic research background are often able to place their particular problem in a more general context and thereby deal with it successfully. Also the procedures of applied behavior analysis are often the same as those that characterize basic research; the scientist-practitioner will appreciate the relation between what he or she is doing and what basic experimenters do, and as a consequence, will be able to apply therapeutic techniques more creatively and effectively.
As always, the Inside JABA Series podcasts are presented without sponsors, though I would encourage listeners to subscribe to JABA, which when compared to many other journals, is relatively inexpensive, especially when you consider the number of papers that a typical issue of JABA has. When I first started subscribing to JABA in the 90's, I think the issues were about 1/5 to 1/4 of the size of those that are published currently. If this is something you're interested in, click here to subscribe.
The last thing I'd like to mention is that these Inside JABA episodes are eligible for BACB Continuing Education credits though the CEU store at behavioralobservations.com. What's even better is that because so much of this episode focused on dissemination, this one will qualify for 1.5 hours of ethics related CEU's. That's code element 6.02 for those playing along at home.
If I could beg of you one final indulgence, if you are enjoying the Behavioral Observations Podcast, please share your favorite episodes with friends, colleagues, random people on the street, and so on.