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Shaping to Teach New Behaviors

Description of the Strategy

Positive reinforcement refers to any stimulus presented after the occurrence of a behavior that increases the future occurrence of the behavior. Shaping is a powerful means for encouraging the performance of a newly learned behavior and maintaining occurrences at high levels through the use of intermittent schedules of reinforcement. Most behaviors consist of complex steps that must be mastered before the terminal goal can be reached. For example, this process can be observed in a student learning to write. He must first become proficient at holding a pencil before he is able to make letters. Once the student can hold the pencil with the correct grip, he can begin to move the pencil to make letters on a piece ...

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