Errorless Learning

Pre-Correction is a strategy in which the teacher verbally, gesturally, or physically prompts a student to respond with the correct response to a question or event (i.e., a stimulus). Pre-Correction is typically used when first introducing a new skill or behavior. When implementing Pre-Correction, the teacher first identifies a challenging task or behavior and explicitly teaches the student the correct response (e.g., raising hand in response to needing help, correctly decoding a consistently misread word). Then, using their knowledge of a student's academic and behavioral patterns, a teacher identifies when the target response should occur and prompts the student to use the previously taught skill before the student can make an error. Using Pre-Correction ensures that the student practices only the correct response; this positive reinforcement decreases the student's frustration level when attempting challenging tasks and increases the likelihood of permanently learning the new skill.

Implementation Tips

Identify the Function of the Behavior
Identifying the root cause can help determine the most appropriate prompting strategy. The type of prompt and replacement behavior is much different for the student who walks around class because of boredom versus a student who needs sensory stimulation versus one who needs academic help. Determining why an incorrect response is occurring will help the teacher create a more effective Pre-Correction plan.
Modify the Context/Environment
Consider modifying the context in which the incorrect response occurs to better support the use of correct response. Changes should be made before a student has a chance to respond and not as the target behavior is occurring. Depending on the situation, this could entail modifying the instructions to a task, a student’s schedule, seating arrangements, or a specific activity.
Replacement Behaviors
Explicitly teach students how and when to use replacement behaviors. Provide opportunities for the student to practice new skills through role playing and other activities.
Prompts and Cues
Use the least intrusive prompt necessary to ensure the student's success. Prompts from most to least intrusive, are as follows:
--Full Physical (i.e., hand-over-hand)
--Partial Physical (i.e., light touch or tap)
--Modeling (i.e., teacher demonstrates the behavior)
--Direct Verbal (i.e., telling the student exactly what to do)
--Indirect Verbal (i.e., providing the student with hints or clues)
--Gestural (i.e., pointing or looking to elicit a response).
When to Prompt
Ensure prompts are timely; if a teacher prompts the student too soon, the student may miss the cue. If the teacher prompts the student too late, the student will make an error. It is best to prompt the student immediately after the question or event has occurred to ensure a correct response from the student.
Prompt Fading
Make a plan to have students engage in the correct response independently. The teacher should take data on which types of prompts are used and begin to fade the prompts, first by using a less intrusive prompt, then by increasing the time between the stimulus and the prompt until the student is able to respond correctly and independently.
Pre-determine highly motivating reinforcers for the student and provide them as an encouragement to use replacement behaviors. The reinforcers can be faded over time as the student develops skills and becomes more independent.
Data Collection
Take data during Pre-Correction to ensure the intervention is effective. Data collection does not have to be long and detailed. For example, a teacher can tape a piece of masking tape to his arm; each time a specific pre-correction prompt is given, draw a tally mark on the tape. At the end of the day, he can record the total on a data sheet, which can be reviewed at intervals to monitor the student’s progress.
Student-Teacher Conferences
Use Student-Teacher Conferences to discuss expectations and teach replacement behaviors. During this time, the teacher and student can plan reinforcers and cues, and the student can be given time to practice new skills.
Shared Progress Monitoring
Share the responsibility of progress monitoring with students when working on whole-class goals. After identifying the target behavior, discuss acceptable behaviors with the class and develop goals. Track data together as a group using data walls or online behavior management tools such as [[|ClassDojo]]. Reflect on progress made toward goals together and celebrate successes.


Building Class Routines
Use Pre-Correction to build classroom routines and procedures at the beginning of the year. If students often have difficulty transitioning to class and starting work after recess/lunch, the teacher can begin to have students line up outside of door before allowing them to enter the room. As the students line up, the teacher can prompt the class in a calming activity (e.g., deep breathing, stretching, etc.). Then, the teacher can remind students of expectations (e.g., Enter the room quietly; Sit in your assigned seat; Read the directions on the board and begin the assignment) and of the pre-determined reinforcers. After students enter the classroom, the teacher can walk around the room gesturing to directions on the board and prompting students as needed. The class can track the number of days they are able to successfully follow the routine and celebrate at the end of the week.
Academic Instruction
Pre-Correction can be used when teaching a new academic skill. For example, when teaching sight words, a teacher might hold up a word card and ask the class, "What does this word say?" Before students respond, the teacher models the correct response. After repeated exposure to Pre-Correction, the teacher can begin fading the modeled prompt by only saying the beginning letter sound and continue to pare down the prompts until the students are completely independent. By using Pre-Correction, students have more opportunities for practicing the correct response to concrete academic skills, increasing the likelihood of transferring the knowledge into long-term memory.
Emotional Regulation
A teacher can use Pre-Correction as a proactive strategy to help students regulate their emotions. For example, a teacher has observed a student who shows signs of test anxiety (e.g., fidgeting nervously, head down on desk). Prior to any test, the teacher can model self-regulation strategies (e.g., deep breathing, counting to ten, positive self-coaching).
Teaching Communication Skills
Pre-Correction can be used to address disruptive behaviors displayed by individual students while also improving the learning environment for all. For example, a teacher determines that a student frequently interrupts others during a class discussion due to anxiety that their ideas will not be heard. The teacher can verbally prompt the student to use a replacement behavior (e.g., raising hand before speaking) when the student shows signs that they want to speak. Alternatively, the teacher can prompt the student to write down their comment on a piece of paper. When the student does so, the teacher immediately reinforces the behavior by asking the student to share their thought with the class. By doing so, the student is learning a non-disruptive strategy that meets the same needs as the disruptive behavior.

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