Yaren D Obando
Introduction to Psychology I
The field of behaviorism has always lacked agreement and will always be a debatable subject. Nonetheless, we find ourselves in the middle of one. Whether is bad or not to praise, or frequently use positive reinforcement in our children, and its consequences of doing so or not doing so is the issue at stake here. Both perspectives, both positions, and both sides have been well represented by the authors of each article. The fact that positive reinforcement indeed strengthens all behaviors wanted will never be proved wrong, but what I intent to do in this integrative analysis is to prove the fact that praising children, and the misuse of positive reinforcement could bring negative outcomes in them. I will do so starting with a detailed summary of each one of these articles that are being looked at, followed by a complete analysis of the evidence found in each of these arguments. Lastly a complex conclusion that will recap the main points argued in this paper, as well as how they tie in and support the final argument. Stop Saying “Good Job!”
In this article, the author Kohn mainly emphasizes the importance of supporting and encouraging children and he shows us ways to do it without praising them or without using positive reinforcement. He goes on to explain with evidence, direct quote, or even with personal experiences why praising children is bad, and gives us five main reasons to support his argument. Kohn explains that we as adults that praising is a way of doing something to children to get them to comply with our wishes, and that we exploit children’s dependence for our own convenience. The author gives us the alternative to have a conversation with children that we have done or failed to do instead of praising, making children become more thoughtful people. Kohn also suggests that praise may increase kids’ dependence on us, and that the more we praise them the more they rely in our evaluations, our decisions about what’s good or bad, rather than using their own judgment which can affect their life as they grow older. He also argues that by praising kids we are indirectly telling them how to feel. Instead of letting them take delight in their own accomplishments, to feel pride in what they have learned how to do. Kohn compares the praising to a goody, and explain that children behave well just because they are trying to get the goody, and not for the fact that and acting might be good in itself alone. Praising increases pressure in children, to keep up the good work that has gotten them the goody so far. All of this gets in the way the actual kids perform. Finally, Kohn ends his arguments with some advice, and a solid conclusion stating the fact that encouraging our children is great, we just have to watch the way or the motives for which we do it, and that maybe positive reinforcement isn’t so positive after all. A Bad Job with “Good Job” (A Response to Kohn)
In this second article the authors, write a clearly response that disagrees with Kohns’ argument and point out all of its weaknesses. They go on to refute in the same format every single idea that Kohn presents within his articles. Rather than purposely manipulating children for adults’ convenience, praise does nothing more than encourage social graces, fine motor skills or valuable skills chosen by them in their own children. The authors go on to argue that such alternative of having a conversation with children could serve to reinforce the behavior, cause misunderstanding in the effects of certain behaviors, and also to independently generate alternative behaviors. In short, making this offered intervention alternative of minimal applicability. The authors try to refuse by mentioning the massive evidence and research done to prove that Kohns’ idea of that the more we praise, the more the kids seem to need it, so we do it more is wrong. They go on to explain that too...