What is The Pyramid Approach to Education®?
The Pyramid Approach to Education is a comprehensive framework for establishing and supporting effective learning environments. Designed by Andy Bondy, PhD, and based on the principles of functional applied behavior analysis (ABA), The Pyramid Approach offers a solid foundation for those who teach in education, work, home or community settings. This unique model benefits individuals with developmental differences, autism, communication challenges and/or other learning complications across all ages.
Maximizing learner outcomes requires not only information about what and how to teach – it requires a plan to put all the pieces together. The Pyramid Approach provides a clear guide for everyone on the team to determine what elements to address in a specific order. Just as building a pyramid begins with establishing a firm foundation before constructing the body of the building, the Pyramid Approach begins with a strong foundation, relying on a science-based approach to teaching.
The Pyramid Approach involves a distinction between structural and instructional components.
- Functional Activities
- Powerful Reinforcement Systems
- Functional Communication and Social Skills
- Addressing Contextually Inappropriate Behaviors (CIBs)
The instructional elements form the top of the Pyramid and include information relevant to the creation of effective lessons. The top elements include:
- Lesson Formats
- Teaching/Prompting Strategies
- Error Correction (uniquely developed and suited to specific prompting strategies)
All elements involve data-based decision making, requiring both systematic data collection and analysis. When all of the elements are combined, the approach results in success for staff, parents and students. By implementing the Pyramid Approach to Education you will build an effective learning environment that will result in progress and increased independence.
The Pyramid Approach emphasizes the “why” of learning and “how” to teach rather than simply “what” to teach, allowing each learner’s program to be individually tailored to meet their learning goals.
The “what” of teaching
The “why” of teaching
A set of principles or rules of behavior change that we can use to teach successfully
The “how" of teaching
Powerful Reinforcement Systems
Contextually Inappropriate Behaviors
Long terms goals are planned before the start of teaching begins, addressing both stimulus and response features.
Identifies and distinguishes between lesson types including discrete versus sequential lessons, as well as teacher- versus learner-led lessons