2. Is Language A Form of Behavior?
According to the behaviorists, learning can be defined as “the relatively permanent change in behavior brought about as
a result of experience or practice” (Skinner). Behaviorists recognize that learning and acquiring are an internal events.
However, it is not recognized as learning until it is displayed by overt behavior.
4. B.F. Skinner
● Argued that children learn based on
behaviorist reinforcement principles by
associating words with meanings.
● Utterances are reinforced when a child
realizes the value of the communication.
● Claimed that language is just another form
● It is a response to stimuli in the
● Children’s creativity with language is a
problem for this theory.
5. Theory and Language Learning
The core to all of behaviorism is the assumption
that human and animal behaviors are
determined by learning, reinforcement and
punishment. Whether by classical conditioning
or operant conditioning, species acquire new
skills, deepening on the effects these skills have
on the specie's environment.
If an action proves to have a positive outcome
(e.g., if by pressing a button, a rat receives food),
the organism is more likely to continue to repeat
this behavior. However, if the outcome is
negative (e.g., if by pressing a button, a rat rat
receives a shock), the organism is less likely to
repeat the behavior.
7. Ivan Pavlov
● Pavlov is famous for his work with classical
conditioning involving canines.
● Through his experiments and findings, we can
conclude acquiring behavior is an involuntary
reaction to stimulus.
● We must remember learning has to be acquired
8. John Watson - The Father of Behaviorism
● Father of Behaviorism
● Behaviors can be measured,
trained and changed
● “Little Albert Experiment”
● Conditioning occurs through
interaction with the environment
9. Two Types of Conditioning
● Naturally occurring
stimulus paired with
● Pavlov’s dog
● Rewards and
● Association made
10. Edward Thorndike
● The father of modern
● The Law of Effect
● Studied on animals,
● Puzzle boxes
● Operant Conditioning
11. What is Applied Behavior Analysis?
ABA is the science in which tactics derived from the principles of behavior are applied systematically
to improve socially significant behavior and experimentation is used to identify the variables
responsible for behavior change.
12. ABA Continued...
A number of completed studies
have demonstrated that ABA techniques
can produce improvements in
communication, social relationships,
play, self care, school and employment.
These studies involved age groups
ranging from preschoolers to adults.
Results for all age groups showed that
ABA increased participation in family
and community activities.
13. Advantages of ABA
● ABA has been well researched
and continues to be found to
be an effective treatment for
● ABA therapists have received
extensive, formal training in
● The child’s therapist will
tailor a program to fit the
14. Disadvantages of ABA
● The amount of therapy is and can be
prohibitive because of both the cost
and time involved
● Many states and localities do not have
laws and regulations regarding
licensing of ABA professionals
● Critics of ABA say children tend to
have robotic behaviors and are not
taught to think independently.
15. Components of an Effective Program
● Antecedent manipulation- modification of situational events that precede the target behavior.
● Behavioral treatment- programs designed to decrease problem behaviors and to increase
functional alternative behaviors.
● Comprehension intervention- low student to teacher ratio (1:1, or low as appropriate) in a
variety of settings, including home school and community.
● Joint attention intervention- programs designed to teach a child to respond to the social bids
of another, or to initiate joint attention interactions.
● Modeling- adults or peers provide a demonstration of the target behavior; the student is
expected to imitate.
● Naturalistic teaching strategies- use of child-initiated interactions to teach
functional skills in the natural environment.
16. Components of an Effective
Program Cont...● Peer training- involves training peers without disabilities strategies for interacting (play and
social) with children with autism.
● Pivotal response training- program designed to target specific, “pivotal,” behaviors that lead
to improvement across a broad range of behaviors.
● Schedules- Teaching a student to follow a task list (picture- or word-based) through a series of
activities or steps in order to complete a specific activity.
● Self-management- this treatment intervention teaches a student to regulate his or her behavior
by recording the occurrence or nonoccurrence of the target behavior, and secure reinforcement for
● Story-based interventions- involves a written description of the situations under which
specific behaviors are expected to occur.
17. General Statement for all Students:
“Rather than assuming that individuals have some essentials internal
characteristics, behaviorists assume that poor outcomes originate in the way
the environment and experiment shaped the individual’s current behavior. Once
these environmental and experimental factors are identified, we can design
prevention and intervention programs to improve the outcomes… Thus the
emphasis on external control in the behavioral approach… offers a conceptual
model that celebrates the possibilities for each individual. (Strain et al., 1992, p.
18. Who are English Language Learners?
An ELL is one who has to acquire a second or additional language and culture, a process that can be very challenging.
The degree of challenge will depend on the personal, experiential, and contextual factors students bring to the process
as well as how well they regulate the linguistic, cognitive, social, and emotional tasks required in language and cultural
19. ABA is used for...
“ABA has been used to help individuals acquire many different skills, such as
language skills, self-help skills, and play skills; in addition, these principles
can help to decrease maladaptive behaviors such as aggression, self-stimulatory
behaviors, and self-injury.” ("Applied Behavioral Strategies - Getting to Know
“On a practical level, the principles and methods of behavior analysis have
helped many different kinds of learners acquire many different skills – from
healthier lifestyles to the mastery of a new language.” ("Applied Behavior
20. What challenging behaviors might an
English Language Learner exhibit?
● Difficulty following directions
● Difficulty expressing ideas and feelings
● Difficulty responding to questions consistently
● Pretending to understand English
● Biting, hitting
● Socializing only with children who speak the same home language
21. Positively Reinforcing ELL’s
As a teacher, you should focus on your students
successful attempts to use English. At first,
reward ANY success however small. If students
speak out loudly and clearly, but make a
mistake, praise them just for speaking out or for
pronouncing it well. As students improve, you
can focus on the most outstanding successes.
Whatever you encourage, students will continue
to do. On the other hand, if you do not
encourage them, they will likely become passive
22. The Limits to Language Learning
The limits of language learning help us understand
L2 acquisition benefits. Language acquisition is a
process and takes time. ELLs must develop their L2
through personal connections being made to the
presented language. This process and these
connections cannot be rushed or forced.
● Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba
● Applied Behavioral Strategies - Getting to Know ABA. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://www.appliedbehavioralstrategies.com/what-is-aba.html
● BF Skinner. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://www3.niu.edu/acad/psych/Millis/History/2003/cogrev_skinner.htm
● Cherry, K. (n.d.). Who Was Psychologist Edward Thorndike? Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesmz/p/edward-thorndike.htm
● Fodor, JA; Bever, TG; & Garrett, MF. (1975) The Psychology of Language: An Introduction to Psycholinguistics and Generative Grammar. New York: McGraw-Hill.
● Ideas for the ESL Classroom Teaching is one of the easiest jobs in the world... Teaching WELL is one of the most difficult!/b. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2014, from
● Lana, Robert E. The cognitive approach to language and thought. Journal of Mind & Behavior. Vol 23(1-2) Win-Spr 2002, 51-67. Inst of Mind & Behavior, US
● Lemetyinen, H. (2012, January 1). Language Acquisition Theory | Simply Psychology. Retrieved November 18, 2014, from
● McIntyre, T. (n.d.). Applied Behavior Analysis and Culturally Different Students. Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://www.behavioradvisor.com/CBehModR.html
● Navarrete, L. (2013, August 1). English Language Learners – The Impact of Language and Socio-Cultural Factors on Learning. Retrieved November 18, 2014, from
● Understanding the Impact of Language Differences on Classroom Behavior. (2007, December 1). Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/kits/wwbtk2.pdf
● (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://www.english.wisc.edu/rfyoung/333/CLA.pdf