Kwame Bonsu is a 9 year-old boy in Ghana. He is always late to catch school bus at 6am. His parents are worried about his preparations to school. Each morning Kwame takes his shower, eats and dresses up for school. He also packs his books into his bag. It seems these activities are too much for Kwame.
How can you use shaping to help Kwame Bonsu to catch the bus?
Use the five key ingredients for shaping:
1. Clearly specify the behavior you want. This is your final goal.
I want Kwame Bonsu to board his school bus by 6am
2. Specify small step with an initial portion of the behavior
I will ask Kwame Bonsu to pack his books and cloths the night before going to school
3. Choose the consequences or rewards or reinforcer you will use. It can be praise or points.
When he is able to do the packing, I will enthusiastically praise him.
4. Now praise or reward the instances of the small occurrence. This should be immediate.
Anytime Kwame Bonsu is successful in packing his books and selecting his dresses the night before, I will say Great Kwame, you pack your things tonight, then a hug.
5. When the behavior occurs consistently for some period of time, increase the demand slightly, a little bit.
When the behavior on packing books and dresses becomes a habit, I will incrementally add the following
A. Sleep early
B. Wake up early
C. Fast and effective shower
D. Eat on time etc
Kindly separately implement these, don’t combine.
When all these become a habit, you can drop the shaping program.
Why Shaping fails?
First, don’t set the bar too high, start small.
Second, do together. Avoid sleepily slope thinking and help the child if needed. Don’t say, if I have to help now, I will always have to help.
Third, help the child a little bit and he will take over.
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