Official 53 Task 3

Chaining Behavior

Many everyday human behaviors are made up of a sequence of several simpler behaviors. In order to teach children to perform these complex behaviors, parents sometimes use a technique called chaining. First, parents identify each of the simpler component behaviors and determine the order in which these simpler behaviors are performed. Parents then start with the first task in the chain. When the child has mastered that element, parents then teach the second element together with the first and reinforce this effort. When these are performed satisfactorily, they move on to elements one two and three, and so on, adding one behavior at a time. The behaviors are not taught in isolation, hence the term “Chain”.

Narrator: Now listen to part of a lecture in a Psychology class.
Professor: I have a three-year-old daughter,
and last month I decided to help her learn how to wash her hands by herself.
Now we usually think of washing our hands is one action,
but when you think about it,
you can break hand washing down into a series of simpler steps.
Step one, you turn on the water.
Step two, you get your hands wet.
Step three, you add some soap.
Step four, you rinse your hands.
And step five, you turn off the water.
So I broke it down into these steps,
and then I helped my daughter learn them one step at a time.
I didn't present them all at once, because that would've been too complicated.
First, I showed her step one, turning on the water.
That's all we practiced for the next few days.
Then, when she started turning on the water by herself,
I added step two, getting her hands wet.
And for the next few days she practiced steps one and two,
turning on the water and getting her hands wet until she could do both steps on her own.
Then we added step three,
putting on the soap,
and she practiced steps one two and three for a while.
Then we added step four, rinsing her hands,
and eventually step five, turning off the water.
She practiced all five steps in sequence for a few days until she could wash her hands all by herself.
Using the example of washing hands, explain the concept of chaining behavior.