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PT Conference(s) 1981

Page history last edited by Regina Claypool-Frey 11 years, 9 months ago

Return to IPTC Chronology| PT Conference(s) 1982


Winter Precision Teaching Conference

Organizer: Eugene Skip Berquam?

Hilton Orlando

March , 1981



Subject:     Og on Learning Channels in 1981 PT Conference talk

From:    John Eshleman

Reply-To:    Precision Teaching/Standard Celeration Charting

Date:    Wed, 30 May 2001 19:45:33 EDT

Below is an excerpt from a transcript of a talk that Og Lindsley gave

at the 1981 Winter Precision Teaching Conference held in Orlando,

Florida. [insert dates if/when known] 


The title of Og's paper was "Current Issues Facing Standard

Celeration Charting."  They're still current!

Since we had a Learning Channels symposium at ABA [Association of Behavior Analysis Convention] a few days ago, and since I rediscovered my transcript of this '81 paper just today, I thought it'd be appropriate to post this excerpt here to help generate some discussion about Learning Channels. Note that much of what Og said back then in '81 regarding Learning Channels still applies today!

Begin excerpt:


Learning Channels

Now, what things do we need to do?

We are abysmal on learning channels.  The only people who are doing much of anything with it is Harold Kunzelman of International Management Systems, and he's been working so close with federal funding administration, that he's had an awful time getting learning channels going in through remediation; taking a remedial step now.  Harold would love to get … . You get a school district ready and he'll show you how.  But every teacher in this room could do this research, or every person who knows it.


So, I am talking about is, break up three subject matters, reading, writing, and arithmetic. Break them into a see-say, a hear-do, and a see-do channel


Then, if we are working with, say, trainable retardates with learning pictures have them

touch the picture dots, mark the dots. 


  • See the dots, mark the dots.           [see-do]
  • Hear their name, touch the picture.   [hear-do] 
  • See the object, say its use.             [see-say]


(Any level from terminally retarded to graduate student can do learning channel research. If you are teaching teachers at the masters level you should be teaching them in two or three different channels, if you are practicing what we preach.)


Then we do a quick assay in which we would measure

  • a one-minute a day in each one of these three channels,
  • and we would make it for 10 days. 
  • And we would compute the slope of the learning line, and find out that:


  • 'see the object, say its use' is multiplying by 1.2 per week, [see-say X1.2 celeration]
  • 'see the dots, mark the dots'  x1.3, [ see-do X1.3 celeration], but
  • 'hear the name, touch the picture'  [hear-do] is worsening; dividing by 1.4. [/1.4 celeration]


So, the question is, do we have a channel deficit? 


He cannot do hear-do; 'cannot learn through the hear-do channel.


The auditory may be excellent, but the learner does not connect it; or is it that we have a subject matter deficit? Teachers know how to do this; you've got to learn how to troubleshoot.


To check whether it is a channel deficit, you should move reading or arithmetic into the hear-do channel and see whether it is also hard to learn in that channel. To check whether it is a writing problem we could do see-say writing and see-do writing:  See the picture, say the name; see the name, mark the picture. Check out whether it is a channel deficit, or a subject matter learning deficit.

And what we have found out is that we got a channel deficit:  We got low learning all up and down the hear-do channel no matter whether it is reading, writing, or arithmetic.


Now, some teachers and some principal supervisors are so locked into specific channels that they think reading has to be a see-say or a see-think channel. They've got so much of it locked in.  And public schools it's hear-write. In most of the public schools, it's hear-write.


(A quiet child is a child learning slowly.  Study halls should sound like a beehive:  Noisy! People at work.  I once was in Africa, and, bored, the only thing around were gibbons and chimpanzees. And I finally got talking to them, and I found out their name for humans. Do you know what it is? The "noisy ones." Happy humans are noisy.  Study halls should be "sss gss ghss gh gh ss gh"; should be 50 kids doing hear-say timings—25 talking and 25 listening, one minute, then switchover. That's the way it should be.)


Anyway, we diagnosed a client who had a defective learning channel, and now a very interesting thing happened.  What do we do about it? 


(Here's where regular ed is an adversary.  When I first came into Education and I talked with methods people, I heard "teach to strengths," and "teach to weaknesses." And they argued about it. And I thought, "My God, they can't even get together on something like that?")


What should you do with a defective learning channel?  Well, according to [Walter E.]Fernald, 1890[1], you should teach to strengths.  And that means you should put the writing into intact channels. Don't handicap the child by getting him back in subject matter because the curriculum for the school has that subject matter on a defective channel.  And we should also, at the same time, work on the defective channel with shaping and all kinds of tool skill drills to try to remediate the weakness. 


So, should you teach to strengths, or weaknesses?  Both, simultaneously!  Just cut down the cookies and milk time and some of those.  This is learning channel remediation, which was the original idea behind learning ..., but we just can't really seem to get it going. And I urge people in the room to do what they can about it. It's very effective.


Here's a learning channel from Steven.  The teacher is Linda Haines.  David Keller was this person, hands-on kind of teaching aide at the Spaulding Youth Center in New Hampshire, and the research was directed by Wells Hively and Ann [Dell] Duncan. That's what I mean about sharing credit.  And Steven is not a made-up first name. Steven is his first name. To call him Subject 3, District 42 is to rob reinforcement from the people who made the discovery and did the work.  And I refuse to do it, ethics comittees to the contrary. 


So, here's Steven, spatial relationships, over, under, in, hear-do. 

Directions: He puts his hands over the object, over, beside, under. 

And the green dots are his number corrects per day learning spatial relationships with hear-do.


Insert Steven's Chart about here


(Now, many people may think Precision Teaching only works for math; that it doesn't work for concepts, it doesn't work for Piaget, it doesn't work for love. 


It works for anything that you do more than once, that has a "how often?"! 


Technically, it should be like three. You shouldn't play around with something that happens less than three or four times, or you become a prophet instead of a scientist, reporting the one time you heard the voice.  If you get it up to seven or eight a week, okay, sounds good!)

Now, here's Steven:  'See the flashcard, point to the picture of the relation.'  See 'over,' point to a spoon over a cup.  See 'in,' point to a spoon in a cup.  And which is the best channel?  He's learning the most rapidly on the see-do. He has about a x2 [celeration] per week on a hear-do and probably about a x3 [celeration] per week with a see-do.

Now, we look at the other side of the learning picture.  What about the incorrects? For the hear-do he is not improving his errors.  And for the see-do we have a nice jaws crossover, maximum learning picture.  This is what our teachers should be doing. If you are teaching handicapped children in only one channel, you are an egocentric theorist! 


I'll repeat again: This is not my idea.  I'm just a parrot up here reporting to you things that Linda Haines and David Keller did.

(Now, the problem is, this research is no longer going on at Spaulding, because it got moved on over to a grant.  The grant went. And so they dropped it.  That's against the law to do to deer in Montana.  I mean, you can't stop feeding them from your

back door because from then on when you don't feed them they die.  Now, you've got to be very careful if you are a young Precision Teacher, not to get your umbilicus with a shut-off from Washington, or Washington will shut if off and stop the new stuff.  Sometimes, I thin the way of stopping progress is federal funding: Pour in the money, get all the new stuff onto it,

and cut off the grant, and SRA continues as the curriculum of choice.  I'm very serious about that. The same thing works with reinforcement research in the laboratory.)


So that's learning channels. And we should try two and three channels at once, not just trying to work with one channel.


End excerpt


Lindsley, O.R. (1981). Current issues facing standard celeration

charting. Invited Address presented at the Winter Precision Teaching

Conference, Orlando, Florida, February.



References from the Data-Sharing Newsletter


Data-Sharing newsletter #31, jan 1981.

"Precision Teaching Conference

The Presision Teaching Winter Conference will take place in Orlando, Florida, on

February 5-7 under the auspices of Precision Teachers of Orange County. This will be a major

get-together of PT folks from around the continent. Skip Berquam, Project Administrator of the

Orange County Precision Teaching Project, informs me that late registration will be accepted..."

Data-sharing Newsletter, #33, March 1981

"A Few Facts

Og Lindsley shared some information at the Orlando PT conference in February that

should make a few waves. On the basis of samples of both published and unpublished sets of

classroom learning information, he determined the median celerations per week under various

conditions. (For the uninitiated, that is the average factor by which students multiply their

performance rates per week). The second column of numbers indicates the total learning,

expressed as multiplicative factor of starting frequencies, that these learning rates would produce

over a 36-week school year:

Situation / Conditions Learning per Week Performance Multiplied per Year
Public Schools withoout Charting x 1.007 x 1.29
Behavior Modification Classrooms
without Standard Charting
x 1.11 x 42.80
Teachers use Standard Chart x 1.25 x 3,081.49
Children Participate in Decisions using
Learning Pictures on Chart
x 1.50 x 2.184,168.5
Learning Pictures and Leap-ups in the curriculum (i.e., start with very high error frequencies and teach to errors) x 2.0 x 68,719,000,000.0

Skip [Eugene] Berquam, organizer of the conference, shared some other information that should be of interest to David Stockman and Ronald Reagan.

a. 6 million students are held back each year because of reading problems (and what

about those who aren’t held back?).

b. A year of public school costs, on the average $2, 070.

c. Thus, $12.42 billion is the minimum cost of our failure to teach reading proficiency.

And there is very little question that precision teachers can teach reading proficiency.

(How about 1st grader reading 200 words per minute with high comprehension?)






  1. Walter E. Fernald (1859-1924): A Biographical Sketch. The Journal of Special Education, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1-2 (1972) http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/002246697200600101

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