PrAACtical Thinking Throwback Thursday: Say This, Not That for Vocabulary Learning

Published on November 14th, 2013 | by Robin Parker

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Throwback Thursday- Say This, Not That to Reinforce Vocabulary Learning

Vocabulary Reinforcement- Worth Repeating (originally published 11/15/12)

Part of TEACHING vocabulary to AAC users (or any learner) involves reinforcement. Reinforcement is more than just facilitating positive self esteem. It is also about providing feedback that will help increase the skill you are trying to teach. It’s more than learning specific new words but also about strategies to attack learning  new words outside of the therapy or classroom environment. Below are some examples of ways to make the most of your reinforcement and some ways to NOT.

Throwback Thursday  Say This, Not That to Reinforce Vocabulary Learning (click for some great written reinforcement examples).

 Throwback Thursday  Say This, Not That to Reinforce Vocabulary Learning SAY THIS…

General Principles of Reinforcement for Vocabulary:   Be specific to the goal. Use words that explain the skill you want to occur more often.  Use excited positive vocal inflection, Be impressed!

We are continuing with the example of teaching the word consumed from Carole’s post on Monday, What Makes A Good Vocabulary Teaching Activity.

‘Wow you discovered a NEW WAY of saying  take in, you used consumed’!
‘Awesome giving so many different examples of consumed’!
‘Great using such descriptive words, I can really SEE what you are saying’!
‘Super finding so many words that can MEAN the same thing’!
‘Good thinking about our new word in DIFFERENT WAYS!’
‘Great FINDING ALL of the concepts/words that can be consumed’’!
‘Wow, you understood that with such depth,  It’s like you are a 6th grader instead of a 5th grader’.
‘Love how you found all the opposite words, you really know what  consumed is different from, what it is not’!
‘Wow, you really figured that one out, you asked for help’!
‘Awesome, super awesome, you used the clue guide’!
Extra Bonuses- Give a written note of reinforcement for student to give to their teacher or parent, etc. with specific reinforcement-
Wow, you are learning so many words, you get a certificate for being a ‘word helper’ for your friends (classmates, teacher, parents, etc.),

Throwback Thursday  Say This, Not That to Reinforce Vocabulary Learning   NOT THAT…
Stay away from non-specific reinforcement. Stay away from reinforcing the activity. Stay away from reinforcing only correct vs incorrect responses. Remember to reinforce the learning process.
‘Good job’!
‘Great painting’! (unless there is an objective for painting)
‘Awesome’!
‘Wow, that is so good’!
‘Nice work’!
‘Nice turning the page’!
‘Super job’!
‘That’s right’!
‘Nice working hard’!
‘Good saying ______.’
Extra Not’s – ‘OK’, ‘Good’, ‘NO, that’s not right’, ‘Really’,

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About the Author

Robin Parker

Robin Parker Robin Parker is a professor of speech language pathology who has loved supporting the communication and language of children and adults with autism spectrum disorders for more than 20 years. One of her professional passions is spreading the word about PrAACtical AAC. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." Helen Keller



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