Signage as a Classroom Prompt: An Evidence-Based Practice?

Signage as a Classroom Prompt: An Evidence-Based Practice?

Ian J. Loverro (Central Washington University, USA), David J. Majsterek (Central Washington University, USA) and David N. Shorr (Central Washington University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-878-1.ch013
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No Child Left Behind emphasizes evidence-based practice (EBP) as a benchmark for educational interventions. Research summaries and meta-analyses have been forthcoming for teachers in content areas like reading and mathematics instruction. Less has been summarized about strategies for promoting targeted classroom behaviors. Visual prompts, in the form of signage, are explored as potentially effective strategies for facilitating a well run classroom. Single-subject design studies that provide initial support for signage in promoting target behaviors are described. Variables from these studies are considered as they may be related to an effective classroom environment.
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Teachers routinely “prompt” students to elicit a variety of behaviors. Examples include a bell or buzzer to promote a rapid line up for a fire drill, or posting a number line or a cursive-letter alphabet on a bulletin board to promote math and written expression, respectively. Prompts are described as “supplementary antecedent stimuli used to occasion a correct response in the presence of an SD [stimulus for a behavior] that will eventually control the behavior” (Cooper, Heron, & Heward. 2007, p. 401). In effect, “prompts are used to increase the probabilities of success in a task” (Walker, Shea, & Bauer, 2004, p. 113). Cooper and colleagues propose three kinds of prompts; verbal (e.g., “The animal that ‘oinks’ is?”); modeling (e.g., a P.E. teacher placing her toes behind the back line to illustrate from where to serve a volleyball); and physical guidance (e.g., physically positioning a student’s thumb on the “C” key of the piano to begin a C scale).

Alberto and Troutman (2009) add to this list, visual expressions. A multiplication/division matrix, periodic table, student photos over preschool cubbies, and signs for hand washing in the bathroom are examples seen in schools. Alberto and Troutman add several examples in which vocational skills are taught using a sequence of pictures to illustrate what an individual should do to assemble a product or complete a process (e.g., preparing a hamburger, wrapping a sandwich in a fast-food restaurant). They contend that posting such information in plain view can reduce instructional time and promote classroom order. Adults are familiar with a visual prompts in the form of a “post-it” note that serves as a reminder to perform a domestic task like picking up milk on the way home.

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