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Tootling is a classroom-based intervention used to increase peer prosocial behaviors, particularly offering and receiving help, while decreasing negative and disruptive peer interactions. [1] Tootling is like tattling but refers to the reporting of only positive, rather than inappropriate, social behaviors. [2] The idea behind this concept is if young children can learn to tattle on inappropriate behavior, then they are capable of monitoring and reporting prosocial behavior. [2] The objective of tootling is to get students to engage in more prosocial behaviors and to be aware and appreciative of these behaviors in others. [2] Tootling is also helpful for teachers to foster awareness of positive behaviors and increase praise while downplaying a focus on negative behaviors and punishment. [2] The word "tootling" is a combination of "tattling" (monitoring and reporting classmates antisocial behavior [3] ) and the expression "tooting your own horn". [1] Tootling differs from "tattling" because students report incidental instances of prosocial behavior, rather than negative. [3] Tootling meets key criteria for classroom-based positive behavior support (PBS) [4] and can be used in general and special education settings. In addition, tootling was considered a best practice strategy for special education instructors for providing an inclusive classroom. [5]

Prosocial behavior, or intent to benefit others, is a social behavior that "benefit[s] other people or society as a whole", "such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering". Obeying the rules and conforming to socially accepted behaviors are also regarded as prosocial behaviors. These actions may be motivated by empathy and by concern about the welfare and rights of others, as well as for egoistic or practical concerns, such as one's social status or reputation, hope for direct or indirect reciprocity, or adherence to one's perceived system of fairness. It may also be motivated by altruism, though the existence of pure altruism is somewhat disputed, and some have argued that this falls into philosophical rather than psychological realm of debate. Evidence suggests that pro sociality is central to the well-being of social groups across a range of scales, including schools. Prosocial behavior in the classroom can have a significant impact on a student's motivation for learning and contributions to the classroom and larger community. Empathy is a strong motive in eliciting prosocial behavior, and has deep evolutionary roots.

Positive behavior support (PBS) is a behavior management system used to understand what maintains an individual's challenging behavior. People's inappropriate behaviors are difficult to change because they are functional; they serve a purpose for them. These behaviors are supported by reinforcement in the environment. In the case of students and children, often adults in a child’s environment will reinforce his or her undesired behaviors because the child will receive objects and/or attention because of his behavior. Functional behavior assessments (FBAs) clearly describe behaviors, identify the contexts that predict when behavior will and will not occur, and identify consequences that maintain the behavior. They also summarize and create a hypothesis about the behavior, directly observe the behavior and take data to get a baseline. The positive behavior support process involves goal identification, information gathering, hypothesis development, support plan design, implementation and monitoring.

Special education is the practice of educating students in a way that addresses their individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, and accessible settings. These interventions are designed to help individuals with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and in their community which may not be available if the student were only given access to a typical classroom education.

Tootling Process [2]

  1. The tootling process begins with a group training session to teach students how to appropriately report positive peer behaviors. Students are not allowed to report on their own behaviors. They are given clear examples of tootling and then asked to give their own examples. At this point, the teacher or trainer offers feedback and/or reinforcement. Students are then given index cards that will be taped to their desks and used to record tootles. A correct "tootle" states a) the name of the "helper" b) the name of the "helpee" c) a description of the observed prosocial behavior. A group feedback chart is created, to count the cumulative number of tootles, and a group reward or reinforcer (typically an activity) is chosen.
  2. At the beginning of each school day, the students are given an index card that is then taped to the desk. Students quietly record any observations of peers helping peers seen throughout the day. If a student fills an entire card, he/she can turn it in for a new card. At the end of the day, students hand in their cards. The teacher then counts the tootles, only counting helping behaviors, and fills in the feedback chart. If the same instance is recorded multiple times, they all count. The next day, the teacher announces the number of tootles recorded and may read some examples aloud and offer praise. Once the set number of tootles is reached, the class earns the group reward.
  3. After the goal is met, this process can be repeated. Some alterations may be to make the tootle criteria more difficult or stringent or to choose a new group reward. It is encouraged to get suggestions from students for group rewards and to choose them randomly to ensure reinforcement for as many students as possible.

See also

Community psychology studies the individuals' contexts within communities and the wider society, and the relationships of the individual to communities and society. Community psychologists seek to understand the quality of life of individuals within groups, organizations and institutions, communities, and society. Their aim is to enhance quality of life through collaborative research and action.

Developmental psychology scientific study of changes that occur in human beings over the course of their lives

Developmental psychology is the scientific study of how and why human beings change over the course of their life. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to include adolescence, adult development, aging, and the entire lifespan. Developmental psychologists aim to explain how thinking, feeling, and behaviors change throughout life. This field examines change across three major dimensions: physical development, cognitive development, and socioemotional development. Within these three dimensions are a broad range of topics including motor skills, executive functions, moral understanding, language acquisition, social change, personality, emotional development, self-concept, and identity formation.

School psychology is a field that applies principles of educational psychology, developmental psychology, clinical psychology, community psychology, and applied behavior analysis to meet children's and adolescents' behavioral health and learning needs in a collaborative manner with educators and parents. School psychologists are educated in psychology, child and adolescent development, child and adolescent psychopathology, education, family and parenting practices, learning theories, and personality theories. They are knowledgeable about effective instruction and effective schools. They are trained to carry out psychological testing and psychoeducational assessment, counseling, and consultation, and in the ethical, legal and administrative codes of their profession.

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