I have come to pick your brains (and there's plenty to pick). I am doing behaviour mod this semester and have to do an actual intervention. I spoke to a local school principal who is keen to assist with my proposed intervention which is to actually TEACH what attention is and encourage greater autonomous redirection of attention once the child has gained greater understanding and experience (using approximations).
My choice was based on the observation that 'redirection of attention' elicits the actual behaviour that is meant to be the problem .... ie, the 'problem' is the childs attention SHIFTS too often .... this is responded to by responding to a shift of attention off task with having the child once again shift their attention back to the task - thus, what is being practised (from a cognitive perspective) is MORE shifting of attention.
Little wonder that very often the child doesnt improve over time.
My first proposed approximation is to pay attention to what they DO pay attention to and encourage them to consciously attend (ie; note details etc instead of just staring off into space) ..... and reward (perhaps token economy).
Attention is something we expect, often demand .... and yet, it has occurred to me that we rarely ever TEACH child what that actually means.
Add to that the number of children who are actually chastised for 'not paying attention' when paying attention to something other than that which someone else thinks they ought to be and it makes sense there would be more than a few confused kids out there.
That may just explain the tendency for some to make like a soldier when their attention is demanded - not because they are being smart but because thats what they understand - they can SEE that in their minds, soliders standing rigidly when their attention is demanded.
Once they have learned what paying attention is, they will then be rewarded for redirecting their own attention (probably to something else of natural interest) in order to learn what redirecting their attention feels like as a behaviour (to better enable them to deliberately redirect it)
Increased sustained conscious attention and redirection the next step then finally redirecting their own attention back to required tasks.
Now I figured just kinda figured that would be in the domain of common sense and I would be able to just jump on a data base and download as many behavioural mod articles on the subject as I like ..... but, I cant find ANYTHING at all - neither for or against that approach which is VERY frustrating indeed.
So I was wondering if anyone here had had a similar approach suggested or recommended by anyone or knows of an reference materials or articles along those lines. I do know it CAN work ..... (and can be great when repeatedly going offtask is a generalised coping strategy that is masking a specific area of difficulty - like my grandson whose attention span is excellent .... less so when reading and totally turns to custard when he tries to write ) but without any referencing I will need to get REALLY creative in justfying my use of that as an approach.
I've just had a look back on my behaviour mod assignment and I did something relatively similar. Except instead of focussing on attention, I focussed on building persistence!! Very similar!!
I have just heard of building attention gradually, starting with maybe 30 seconds and gradually building that period of time up - although of course it will vary depending upon age group and ability. I based my assignment on my daughter whom I was homeschooling and when I looked into antecedents and consequences it made huge sense why she was the way she was! I also used a token system. Just reading back on my assignment it is amazing how far my daughter has come in the 2 years since I worked on that!!
I was wondering if you happen to still have a copy of that and whether you would mind sharing it with me .... not for the course but rather, I have a wee chappie here who smacks himself around the head or protests he is too tired etc when something is perceived as somewhat difficult for him so, if you are ok with me doing so, I might borrow from that myself.
Or perhaps if I cant find anything else, I could reference it as an 'unpublished work' to justify using a very similar approach (why did I think of that? Oh yeah, I just did LOL)