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Last is First in Backward Chaining By Danette Schott, M.A. Appeared on

Feb 13, 2013 -- 8:14 am
Typically when teaching a child a skill we start at the beginning, move through the sequence of steps, and conclude with the final step. This is called forward chaining. The reverse to this is backward chaining. Backward chaining involves teaching the last step first, moving backwards through the sequence of steps, and concluding with the first step.
Forward Chaining
In forward chaining, a child repeats the beginning steps over and over and becomes very proficient with them. She performs the first steps that she is comfortable completing, but then must move onto a brand new step that she was just taught. Often in forward chaining, a child forgets the sequence of steps. She may want to quit because the feeling of success takes too long to attain.

Benefits to Backward Chaining
Backward chaining allows a child to experience instant success. As more steps are added, a child completes the newly taught step immediately, followed by the steps she has already mastered. This can minimize anxiety and provide a child with a sense of accomplishment. This feeling of success will increase her confidence and keep her motivated to learn and complete the entire sequence of steps. In essence, completion of the steps operates as a natural reinforcer for a child.
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