SHAPING MODEL 1: TEACHING A NEW SKILL/BEHAVIOR
[Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 147-148)]
This model applies to circumstances where the terminal behavior is not in the individual's repertoire. Circumstances such as learning to swim the crawl stroke, hit a backhand in tennis, and to do a somersault are examples of new activities. Developing non-skilled behaviors (e.g., assertive behaviors, attending to instructions) are also appropriate for this model. The steps required for an adequate shaping strategy are listed below:
An example of applying this model to developing a general behavior is described below.
A desirable terminal behavior in swimming could be described as a maximum effort in a race. Many new swimmers do not exhibit this behavior. It may be deemed desirable to develop behaviors of this type. Shaping could be used to develop assertive behaviors such as competitive effort so that they are highly probable within the environment.
A most difficult problem would be to develop the terminal behavior of an extreme competitive effort from a behavior which nowhere resembles it. In this situation the main problem would be the development of the sequence of steps and the provision of reinforcement. A suitable behavior must be selected as a starting point and reinforced. Such a response might be swimming and keeping up with someone who is a better performer than the individual undergoing the shaping procedure. This is a very mild assertive response and if it is reinforced immediately it will increase in its probability of occurrence. The swimmer should progress through a series of developmental steps which require an increasing amount of work output. For example, the next step may be to finish the training unit before the other swimmer. This then may lead to always finishing before the other swimmer, making more competitive responses in races, etc. By building on the starting behavior and making the criteria for reinforcement more strict with the attainment of each step, the terminal behavior can be approached. By using a shaping strategy, the individual can be led into competitive situations where assertive responses requiring more effort can be made. As the intensity of effort increases, it will eventually approximate the desired level of competitive effort. Once the terminal behavior is exhibited, the appropriate schedule of reinforcement is introduced to produce a consistent emission rate. At the completion of this shaping procedure the individual should exhibit behaviors which could be described as good competitive efforts. The possibility exists for a teacher or coach to set about shaping a number of general behaviors in individuals to the extent of even changing characteristic patterns of behavior.
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