Where this is going April 2, 2014

There’s a lot to like about retirement.  Every day seems like Saturday, not that there isn’t plenty I need to be doing.  If I don’t get something done, however, there is always tomorrow because the deadlines are usually my own.  To do lists are also a lot less intimidating.  They’re not as long and more of the items are in the “looking forward to it” category.

For me, any kind of writing falls in this category.  There is little I enjoy more than the act of writing, and it doesn’t matter whether it is professional or recreational.  In anticipating retirement, for instance, I really looked forward to writing a book for ABA practitioners on radical behaviorism.  It took a bit longer than I’d planned – thanks to lots of other tempting things to do every day – but working on it was a real delight.  After all, after spending the last 40 years teaching this stuff, I’d gradually figured out what I wanted to get across and how to express it.

Now that Radical behaviorism for ABA practitioners has been published, a new challenge has emerged.  How do I learn about reader’s reactions?  How do I discover what I got wrong or failed to express clearly or convincingly?  How do I share new ideas and arguments?  How do I prepare for a second edition?

I’m used to answering these questions in the classroom.  No longer having this opportunity is one of the few regrets of retirement.  Sure, I sometimes got tired of preparing to teach the same material year after year, but I never tired of the material itself.  And I certainly never tired of helping students become behavior analysts.

Every college teacher will acknowledge that it is through teaching that you grow professionally.  Most of what I had to offer in the radical behaviorism book came from what I learned by helping students to share my excitement for these arguments.  It’s a little intimidating to realize I no longer have this opportunity to continue developing my understanding of this material and how to teach it.

Of course, the almighty internet now offers ways of reproducing at least part of the face-to-face classroom experience.  I don’t want to go so far as to teach on line courses, but I need to be able to get feedback from readers, to share my reactions, and to try out new material.  This will give me the opportunity to clarify confusions, correct misunderstandings, supplement the present edition, and prepare for the next edition.

So here is the game.  I invite you to send me any comments, questions, or requests stemming from this book.  Some I may be able to respond to with a brief personal email.  Some may lead to a blog post for all to share.  Some may even prompt me to post material that supplements the present volumes.  All will guide my consideration of future editions of this book.  This is new venture for me, and I’m sure I will figure out how to make the most of it as we go along together.  I will certainly welcome your ideas about how to make it work for you.


Where this is going

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Jim Johnston

Dr. Johnston received his doctorate from the University of Florida in 1970 and held faculty positions at Georgia State University, the University of Florida, and Auburn University. He has published both laboratory and field research with both human and non-human species on a variety of topics. He has longstanding interests in the area of developmental disabilities and founded the Master’s Program in Applied Behavior Analysis in Developmental Disabilities at Auburn University. He has served as editor of The Behavior Analyst and on the editorial boards of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, among others. He has served as president of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, as well as for the Florida, Alabama, and Southeastern behavior analysis organizations, and was the first president of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board and the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts.

Where this is going April 2, 2014