One of the primary purposes of behavior lessons is to provide an example or two of how to behave. The first functions of behavior examples are to show people how they should behave. This includes showing them what type of behavior will get them rewarded with praise, affection, attention or other types of rewards. It is important to know which behaviors get a reward before using a behavior example in a behavior therapy class. If you are looking for ways to motivate and inspire students to improve their behavior, using a behavior example in class is a great way to start. Another purpose of behavior examples is to introduce students to the different types of behaviors, as well as the different ways that they should behave.
When teachers include behavior examples in the treatment of their students with ADHD, it is a powerful tool. An ADHD teacher can have one of his or her students act out an activity, then have him or her describe what he or she did to another student in his or her own words. The teacher can then use the example in the class to encourage the child to repeat the action. For example, if the child who was behaving badly during class is excused from all classwork for the day, but is still observed to be acting out when left alone afterward, the ADHD teacher can use the example to get the child to remember that being alone after class is not okay. Again, using the example can get the child to associate leaving work alone with negative behavior.
Using an action example in class also helps to reinforce the positive aspects of behavior. For example, if a child who is very passive in class is given an action example – for example, telling him or her to sit in the chair or on the floor until his or her teacher finishes – he or she may forget that being passive is not appropriate. In order for the child to remember that being passive at school is not appropriate, the teacher must be very clear about the consequences beforehand. Otherwise, the child may try to convince the teacher that being passive is good.
A behavior example can also be used to teach children how to modify their behaviors. That is, a behavior example can show the child how to do something different so that it will have a better outcome than doing the same thing two different ways. If a child does not like being picked on by their classmates, for instance, they should be encouraged to stand up to them and tell them that they are annoyed by their taunts.
Afterward, the teacher may use the behavior example to teach the child how to diffuse a situation when this happens. She could even use the example to convince the child that using their words when they are angry will make things worse. It may take a number of tries to get the child to modify their behavior, but the demonstration is very important.
A further use for an example is to show the children or teenagers how they should act in certain situations. For example, an example could be a parent describing what behavior would be considered inappropriate during a meal time discussion. An example – or series of examples – can be made up to explain what actions would not be acceptable and what would be appropriate.
Again, it is very important to make sure that the teacher uses the example – or series of examples – in a way that the student can understand what she is talking about. For example, using an example – or series of examples – to describe something the child has done wrong could cause confusion that could cause a negative reaction in the student. Again, this is why it is important to use examples – rather than descriptions – when discussing what the child is expected to do or behave.
When teachers use behavior examples to teach children or teenagers how to behave, they are teaching them how to think. They are showing the child how he or she is supposed to react or respond when given certain instructions, when they receive rejection or praise from other people, and how to demonstrate caring and respect for others. The fourth function of behavior example is to help the students find out what these instructions or reactions should be so that they can practice these behaviors in different situations.
The Standard Functions of Behavior Examples
Functions of behavior examples are indeed very useful teaching tools. However, one should never make the mistake of associating all behavior with functions. In many cases, the functions of behavior examples are simply used to illustrate certain processes, elements, etc. When this happens, the message of the example becomes diluted and its value and intent are lost.
For instance, the use of the functions of behavior examples in helping us understand and manage difficult situations can be quite effective only if it serves as an illustration rather than as a reductive definition of the situation. Too much emphasis is put on functions of behavior examples which are used to support or contradict a particular interpretation of the situation.
This can easily happen when we are trying to interpret a difficult situation as a one sided battle between good and evil, clean and unclean, etc. Rather than seeing the situation as a simpleton’s dilemma, we usually interpret it as a black-and-white contest between ourselves and our “enemy”. In order to make our meaning more meaningful, we tend to exaggerate the opposing sides’ behaviors, thus reducing their significance to that particular case.
It also helps us remember that the definition of each situation and of any particular action or reaction should not be reduced to its smallest component, i.e., the details of the relevant antecedents and implications. The interpretation of the situation becomes irrelevant and its importance as a procedure or system is also lost. In addition, it should be understood that there are no fixed rules that apply to all situations. So instead of viewing a series of examples as a series of fixed points, we can view each example as a unique situation in which the relevant context has been deliberately introduced to help us understand more fully the intended meaning of the action, reaction, or routine. So, rather than just memorizing the standard functions of behavior examples, why not use them to enrich your understanding of how people and their actions work in real life.