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The efficacy of modeling, rehearsal, and reinforcement expectancy for training children in class-relevant skills

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Item Summary

Title: The efficacy of modeling, rehearsal, and reinforcement expectancy for training children in class-relevant skills
Authors: Lam, David James
Keywords: Learning, Psychology of
Behaviorism (Psychology)
Educational psychology
Issue Date: 1975
Abstract: The present study assessed the efficacy of different training methods in effecting acquisition and generalization of a set of academic skills. Kindergarten and first grade children served as subjects, and the skills consisted of the following seven behaviors: staying in one's chair, attending to the teacher, working nondisruptive1y, being silent when the teacher spoke, answering questions, following directions, and raising one's hand to seek help. These were competencies considered by most educators to be basic to young pupils' learning readiness, to the extent that successful enactment of them facilitated the reception of content instruction as well as the mastery of higher order skills. The advantage of developing these behaviors in the repertoires of early elementary children was correspondingly underscored. In terms of training, three distinct procedures were compared, involving simple instructions, instructions plus peer modeling, and instructions plus peer modeling plus subject rehersa1. A fourth group served as placebo controls. A second manipulation, crossed with training condition, ascertained the differential effects of introducing an expectancy of reinforcement, contingent on desired performance, against introducing no expectation. Subjects were randomly assigned to treatment condition and trained individually. All training was conducted by means of videotape with a trainer present to accompany subjects, and lasted approximately 15 minutes. Subjects' acquisition was measured immediately after the training, and their generalization was monitored subsequently in two 15-minute small group sessions, the first in the regular classroom and the second in a simulated class setting. These performance data were gathered at four phases--pre-training, post-training, post-retraining, and follow-up. The major findings in the study were: 1. A near-significant training main effect for the behavior of staying in one's chair, and a significant training by reward interaction for question-answering behavior. 2. A significant main effect of reward expectancy in the regular classroom situation. Subjects who were given an expectation of reward exhibited appreciably more appropriate skills overall than those who received no expectation. 3. Significantly better acquisition scores at retraining than at training. Learning of the training content was generally at a high level for all subjects. 4. A significant main effect of study phase. Specifically, experimental subjects displayed a dramatic increase in desired responding after training, and leveled off (with slight decrements) at post-retraining and follow-up. 5. Significant changes in subjects' behaviors during each small group session. Subjects not only decreased their appropriate responses but also increased undesired ones as the session progressed. 6. A significantly higher level of appropriate responding in the simulated classroom setting than in the regular classroom. 7. A significant correlation between IQ and acquisition, but not between IQ and generalization nor between acquisition and transfer. In general, no differences were evident among subjects across training condition, although the training by reward interaction approached significance for all skills combined; the data suggested that overall, instructions plus modeling plus rehearsal subjects who also anticipated a reward performed best, whereas their no-reward counterparts showed the least generalization. Results were interpreted in terms of both their theoretical implications and their practical significance for early childhood education. In line with this, the issue of conducting applied psychological research was discussed. It was suggested that future research focus on the following areas: clarifying the effectiveness of modeling and rehearsal procedures in the training of academic competencies, relative to not only their response development function but also their response evocation potential; exploring the effects of auxiliary methods such as provision of explicit prompts and memory codes; further investigating the variable of reinforcement expectancy; and researching ways to channel observational learning processes among children into the acquisition of useful skills within the classroom context.
Description: Typescript.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1975.
Bibliography: leaves 125-133.
x, 133 leaves ill
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/11921
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Psychology



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