Study Summary

The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of teacher praise in reducing the physical and verbal aggression of two elementary school students enrolled in general education classrooms. For Irwin, a class-wide DRA procedure successfully reduced the attention-maintained problem behavior exhibited during teacher instruction. For Victor, two additional intervention phases, both including increased amounts of teacher praise, resulted in marked decreases in physical and verbal aggression and increases in on-task behavior.

The interventions with both students were based on functional behavioral assessments. Classroom teachers were instructed to deliver specific contingent praise in lieu of verbal reprimands and encouraged to use an electronic device providing a timed prompt. The study extends previous research supporting the use of differential reinforcement to improve the quality of student-teacher interactions.


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