Naturalistic Teaching
Purpose of Naturalistic Teaching
To provide more learning opportunities similar to those of typically developing children (learning through observation and natural consequences)To promote generalization of skills taught in structured manner (across activities/materials, settings, and people – increased contact with reinforcement)
Naturalistic teaching appropriate for:
Imitation and play action tasksExpressive language tasksYounger students in small to medium (waiting and turn taking, peer-peer interactions, observational learning)
Natural teaching vs. structured teaching
Not a dichotomy, but a continuum from relatively structured to relatively unstructured
Characteristics of Naturalistic Teaching
Location: Teaching occurs in the natural environmentDensity of Interactions: Individual teaching interactions are typically very brief and distributed over a period of hours or daysInitiation of interactions: Instructional interactions are often initiated by the learnerConsequences: Instruction uses natural consequences (objects and events are easily understood and desired by the child)
Challenges of naturalistic teaching
May not be able to access the natural environmentMay need many more learning opportunitiesChild may not have the skills or motivation to initiate interactionsNatural consequences may not be motivating for all learners
Value of Naturalistic Teaching
Primary advantage has to do with generalizationBy teaching in natural settings and under natural conditions, the learner may be more likely to demonstrate the skill in natural environmentsBUT not all learners have the prerequisite skills to succeed in natural settings or situations so more structured settings are necessary initially
Goal of Incidental Teaching
to take advantage of naturally occurring opportunities for child-aduld (child-child) interactions to teach specific functional skills.
Incidental Teaching Examples
Verbal behaviors:Social Comment: When a child is playing with blocks, model bilding structures or model comments like “my block is blue.”Mand: When a learner reaches for an item, requiring them to say “may I have ___?”Nonverbal behaviors:When a learner is playing, model appropriately moving the toyWhen in gym, can present a bat and say “let’s find a ball.”
Components of Incidental Teaching
1.) Arrange environment to be interesting and fun2.) Watch the child carefully to determine what s/he finds interesting and fun3.)Get the child to engage with interesting objects or persons4.) Intervene (prompt, model, or rearrange the environment) to encourage more complex and/or appropriate behaviors5.) Focus on development of typical and functional behavior
Specific tactics to approach incidental teaching
Several ways to approach incidental teachingEach tatic attempts to take advantage of the learner’s motivation to interact with items or peopleAnd consequently use the motivating items or people as natural reinforcersBy having this motivation “naturally” resent, learners may be more likely to be spontaneous in other similar situationsspontaneity can be a big challenge for some learners
Getting started
Current Need/BaselineIdentify skills to be targetedIdentify naturally occurring activities to address skillPlan strategies to address skill
Strategies for embedding instruction
ContrivingEnticementInterrupted Chains
Environmental arrangement/sabotageMove items out of reachMove items from typical locationPut lids on too tight, items in difficult to open containersGive items to classmatesTake batteries out/give “broken” itemsMake access difficultChange routine
Capitalize on motivation to gain access to item/activityUse materials that are highly preferredEngage with preferred itemsAllow other student to engage with preferred items
Interrupted routines and chains
take advantage of the predictable steps in a routine/chain to produce a need for the child to engage in a behaviorChoose or teach a routineInterrupt the routine (make a silly mistake)Give consequence/correction
Other naturalistic strategies
National Language ParadigmSPEAKMITSTime Delay
Both naturalistic and structured teaching have strengths/weaknesses –
Density of instructionSimilarity to real worldPrerequisite Skills