What is it?
Allowing students to make choices can be a powerful motivator. In a "task sequence" strategy, students make choices, either verbally or visually, about the order of tasks they need to complete. The tasks to be completed normally include one that the student has yet to master. Giving the student some control and choice over the sequence of activities and then a preferred reinforcement for doing the less preferred task can help to increase engagement.
This strategy can be used with the whole class.
How do I use it?
- Choose a small number of tasks to complete in a set time frame e.g. between recess and lunch.
Use photos, pictures, hand drawn sketches or simply words to depict each task. These visual representations will help the student see which tasks they have already done and which tasks are coming up. Select reinforcers. See the Reinforcement factsheet.
- Typically this will be no more than three activities.
- One of these activities will normally be a task that is less preferred by the student.
Show the student/s the visual supports, explain the tasks, model with guided practice and instruct the student to choose what order they would like to undertake the tasksProvide the student with prompts (see the Prompting factsheet) if they need them while they are working. Reinforce the student when they attempt the more challenging task and when all the activities are finished.
- Choose how you will reinforce the student for engaging in the tasks e.g. stickers, high fives, or a silent "thumbs up" as they work.
It is important that the tasks chosen are in the student's ability range. Other strategies, such as social narratives, video modelling and visual supports can be helpful in combination with task sequencing.
The strategy is appropriate across age groups. The way it is explained to students, and the level of support they need, will need to be adjusted for different age and ability groups.
|Preschool||Yes - adjust instructions and tasks according to student needs|
|P-2||Yes - adjust instructions and tasks according to student needs|
|3-6||Yes - adjust instructions and tasks according to student needs|
|High school||Yes - adjust instructions and tasks according to student needs|
Where can I learn more?
- Intervention Name: Choice of Task Sequence (PDF, 73KB)
- Choice of Task Sequence to Reduce Problem Behaviors
Kern, L., Mantegna, M. E., Vorndran, C. M., Bailin, D., & Hilt, A. (2001). Choice of task sequence to reduce problem behaviors. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 3 (1), 3.