An investigation into the use of specific training in transferable skills and the application of beahviour modification techniques to improve the learning of a group of nursery pupils.
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This study considered the effects of poor listening skills on the learning of a target group of eighteen nursery pupils. Ten of these had not developed their listening skills to a level which would allow them to cope adequately in the classroom and eight had developed the necessary skills but lacked the motivation to use them fully. The following procedures were adopted after baseline testing, the children in the first group were given a series of lessons to enhance their listening skills to the required levels; the children in the second group took part in a structured behaviour modification programme designed to improve the use of the skills they already possessed. Consequently, literature regarding listening skills, behaviour management, and, in particular, behaviour modification was reviewed. Whenever possible, the links between the research and its application to improving listening skills or classroom behaviour were explored. Issues relating to research design and methodology were considered in some detail. A range of methods used for collecting data, including questionnaires, classroom observation and tests of listening was examined, and attention was paid to the concepts of reliability and validity. The main findings of the research were staff perceived lack of adequate listening skills to be a major barrier to learning; time spent on specific training in listening skills and the use of behaviour modification techniques significantly improved classroom performance; as new skills were lost quite quickly when training ceased, listening skills training / behaviour modification programmes should become an integral and ongoing feature of classroom procedure. The recommendations include advice regarding the efficiency of the research procedures and their suitability for use elsewhere.
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