2020: Frank Cicero

Seton Hall University

A variety of problem behaviors in general education classrooms are frequently reported. These behaviors disrupt the classroom environment, decrease student achievement, increase teacher stress, and negatively impact teacher retention (Mitchell et al., 2015). General education teachers with knowledge and experience in ABA are better equipped at dealing with disruptive classroom behavior (Young & Martinez, 2016). Unfortunately, data indicate that general education teachers often do not hold to a behavioral explanation of student problem behavior, do not have training in functional behavior assessment and treatment, and feel unprepared to deal with classroom behavior issues (Mitchell et al., 2015; Young & Martinez, 2016). The purpose of the current project is to attempt to mitigate these issues by designing a training program in ABA specifically for general education teachers. The idea for this project grew out of experiences conducting professional development workshops in behavior analysis for public school districts over the past several decades. Although the titles of the workshops are often not specific to special education, administrators usually assign the ABA topics to teachers in special education classrooms, while the general education teachers attend workshops focusing on academics or standardized testing.


The current project was designed by Dr. Frank Cicero of Seton Hall University; several colleagues in the Department of Educational Studies and students in the ABA program will help execute it. The study will attempt to increase the use of ABA techniques by general education teachers through the initiation of a training program designed specifically for general education. Ten general education teachers from two public school districts in New Jersey will be selected to participate in a six-month training program. The program will consist of academic workshops, mock projects, and in-vivo classroom modeling and guidance. The project is seen as a pilot for larger and ongoing partnerships between the university’s ABA program and public school district general education programs. The funding from the SABA grant will be used to provide each teacher with a textbook in ABA, classroom materials to support behavior change plans, and a one-year membership in the New Jersey Association for Behavior Analysis.


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