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Behaviour Training with Children


Entry requirements

Master’s students in Psychology with specialisation Child and Adolescent Psychology.


This course introduces behaviour therapy for the benefit of children. Lectures, workgroups, and self study prepare the student for the central assignment of the course, which is to teach two children, between 4 and 8 years old, different useful skills. The first is a self-help skill, which is often easy to teach. It serves as a warming-up for the second skill, which concerns social behaviour, academic content (language, reading, math, writing), or task-related behaviour. The second skill is often more difficult to teach. The student searches for a school, and chooses the children in consultation with teachers in Groups 1-4 (kindergarten, first or second grade). The student visits the school 3 times per week, for a period lasting 8 to 10 weeks.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, the student can:

  • See basic forms of learning in stories about children's behaviour; and

  • Design and carry out a program for treating a simple behaviour problem in a child.

These two objectives are essential for child behaviour therapy, which is practised worldwide.


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in: Psychology timetables

Lectures Work group sessions



Students need to enrol for lectures and work group sessions. Master’s course registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

7 2-hour lectures discussing the concepts, principles and procedures of behaviour training with children.
7 2-hour work group sessions facilitating the central assignment of the course

Each lecture arranges practice in interpreting children's behaviour (Objective 1, above). Each workgroup session arranges practice in constructing treatment program elements (Objective 2).

The total workload of the course is:

  • 14 hours lectures

  • 14 hours workgroup sessions

  • 61 hours self study

  • 50 hours central assignment

  • 1 hour of individual consultation with workgroup facilitator

Assessment method

Students' learning is assessed on the basis of (1) study questions answered during the course and (2) written reports of central assignments. The study questions address interpretations of children's behaviour (Objective 1) and the construction of treatment program elements (Objective 2). The report of the central assignment has four sections devoted to treatment program elements (Objective 2); three of these describe interpretations of children's behaviour (Objective 1).

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

Martin, G., & Pear, J. (2017). Behavior modification: What it is and how to do it. (10th ed., International Student Edition); ISBN 9781138090972

Contact information

Dr. Harrie Boelens