This site is not just aimed at academics; rather I want to ensure that I can have parents and teachers engage with the content on this blog and make comments and join in discussions.
As I work in the Higher Education sector, I will concentrate my writing on topics related to Psychology, with particular reference to education. However, topics will vary, but I will endeavor to ensure that I signpost relevant content using categories and tags. I must stress that any views expressed here are entirely my own.
I am a lecturer at Bangor University, North Wales and the director of a specialised year three module: Evidence-based Behavioural Methods in Education. I supervise students with their research projects and often these projects are conducted in local schools, intervening with children who are failing academically (e.g., maths, writing, spelling, and reading). I have also recently been involved in the development of a Parent Tutor Program to help teach local children to read effectively in their first language—Welsh. This project is still in progress and being carried out as a PhD student by Yvonne Moseley (who is the Head of one of the SEN schools here in North Wales.
Additionally, I am a member of the Research Methods Team, so teach statistics to both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
My research interests have been broadly focused on educational applications of behaviour analysis and more specifically in the use of Precision Teaching (PT) and Direct Instruction (DI). I have also studied at the Morningside Academy’s Summer School program in Seattle and have conducted training workshops in Precision Teaching in the UK, Spain, Italy, and Norway as well as presenting my research at international conferences. Whilst not a focus of my PhD, I have also been involved with helping to integrate effective methods to teach reading and comprehension to children. We have conducted research with the Headsprout programmes, and currently many schools have integrated these programmes into their curriculum; These have been implemented into both mainstream and special education classes..
Due to the focus of my PhD (Using precision teaching strategies and tactics to increase essential skill fluency) and research background one of the main aims of this blog will be to illustrate the way that the laws and principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) can be used to improve the educational prospects for all learners. I hope to also (over time) develop resources that will help you to be able to apply these principles to your own learners-whoever they may be.
By carrying out research for my thesis, I have had opportunities to effect some change into the practice within local schools in North Wales. Whilst this is relatively small success thus far, it is nevertheless in real terms socially significant success for the children whose education it has influenced. Many key people have been involved in enabling the spread of these systems and strategies across schools in the area, and I am hoping that they will also post their writings to this blog. Teachers are using the available methods to incorporate
I particularly keep in mind what Fred Keller reported Burrhus Fredrick Skinner to have said when asked what can be done to promote better education.
“Well, I guess we just keep nibbling.” I take that to mean to keep on working in a small way, keep on promoting good things. When you see something good taking place, reinforce it if you can. When you see something going in the right direction, praise it. Anytime you see a model school that looks as if it’s applying good behavioral principles, give it your support. Every time you hear of somebody doing something good, drop him or her a line and say, “Thank you very much for what you’re doing.” I believe the process is something like shaping. Don’t expect many big changes to take place. There’s not going to be any revolution. But maybe, if we all keep on nibbling, we can change education. I don’t know of any other way. (Heward & Dunne, 1993, p. 340)
Therefore I will continue to do as advised and keep on nibbling.
Heward, William L, & Dunne, D James. (1993). For students of Behavior Analysis: A teleconference with Professor Fred S. Keller. The Behavior Analyst, 16(2), 341-345.