Step 3: Count and Teach

Exactly what one counts obviously depends upon the task. There are two general possibilities. If the output channel involves saying or performing, then the teacher may simply watch the student and count instances of correct and incorrect movements as they occur. If the output channel involves a task with physical properties that are difficult to quantify, such as the act of writing a correctly spelled word, then the teacher might count some critical outcome of that movement at the end of the assessment period (e.g., the frequency of correct and incorrect word spellings written on paper by the student).

The instructional component of Precision Teaching considers four factors: (1) what to do before a movement occurs (materials and teacher's assistance), (2) what to do after a correct movement occurs (pleasant consequence), (3) what to do after incorrect movement occurs (ignore or unpleasant consequence), and (4) how the teacher practices the task with the child (McGreevy, 1983; White & Haring, 1980). Expanding on these teaching strategies is beyond the scope of this module. Technically, these procedures involve (1) stimulus control, prompting, and fading, (2) reinforcement, and (3) extinction and punishment. An excellent introduction to these procedures and factors influencing their effectiveness is provided by Martin & Pear (1998).