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Observable or inner behavior (thoughts or urges) are self-recorded on a standardized chart, and curricular or behavioral changes are made according to clearly defined decision rules.
A number of features accelerate acquisition, endurance, stability, retention and application of skills:
- First, an individual’s skills are pinpointed precisely. Precision teachers provide clear, direct, and sequential instruction of manageable bits.
- Second, performance is continually and cumulatively measured; the goal is to build endurance until a learner maintains higher frequencies over longer periods of time. Timing intervals range from a matter of seconds to a full day and are based on a learners optimal rate of learning.
- Third, rate of response (number of corrects and errors rather than percentage correct) is displayed on a semi-logarithmic Standard Celeration Chart to provide a visual representation of progress upon which to make immediate decisions. If the learner is not progressing, duration or skill level is adjusted or the skill is re-taught. Therefore, the teacher is held accountable for the learning rather than blaming the student. Students eventually set their own goals and become highly motivated, courageous learners.
- Fourth, once a skill is taught, free-operant conditioning is used, a process where performers respond at their own pace without prompting or interference from their coach. Charting can be taught successfully to first graders and above. According to Owen White, Ph.D. (1986), Precision Teaching "has been used successfully to teach the progress of learners ranging from the severely handicapped to university graduate students, from the very young to the very old" (p. 530).
- Standard Celeration Chart:
- To measure fluency, precision teaching utilizes a semi-logarithmic chart called a Standard Celeration Chart. This chart allows for demonstration of changes in rate of acquisition and allows the teacher to quickly assess a student’s performance accelerating though time . By utilizing this chart, teachers are able to quickly adjust the curriculum to maximize the student's performance and learning.. This chart was developed by Lindsley in the 1950s while at Metropolitan State Hospital and Harvard University. It was not created in its current form until 1967.
- SAFMEDS is a method of training to fluency which stands for Say All Fast a Minute Every Day Shuffled. This training has been shown to increase performance in college settings .
- Lindsley, O. R. (1964). Direct measurement and prosthesis of retarded behavior. Journal of Education, 147, 62-81.
- Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
- White, O. R. (1986). Precision teaching—Precision learning. Exceptional Children, 52, 522-534.
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