Skinners Theory

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B.F. Skinner
B.F. Skinner, born Burrhus Frederic Skinner on March 20, 1904, was a popular psychologist in the 1950’s and 60’s that supported behavioral psychology. B.F. Skinner is an influential psychologist whose theories on child development have helped teachers and professional take a more effective approach in dealing with children to date.

Skinners theory was one that was conceived by the behavioral approach; traits are greatly influenced by individual’s experiences and also their environment. Skinner believed that adults can purposefully shape desired learning and behavior through positive reinforcement. In using positive reinforcement, children are more likely to repeat the desired behavior because when the behavior has been performed, the child is rewarded with praise or a tangible reward. For example, some adults use positive reinforcement in potty training toddlers. When the toddler performs the task of using the potty (assuming in the proper way), the child is rewarded with praise or a simple treat such as an M&M. By the same token, Skinner believed that mistaken behaviors (such as not using the potty) should be ignored.

Skinner has contributed to the field of early childhood education and psychology. Among some of these things are his five principles in teaching an age appropriate task: 1.) Give child immediate feedback 2.) Break task into steps 3) Verbally and physically repeat task as many times as possible 4) Work in a simple to complex manner and 5) Give positive reinforcement. Skinner is also responsible for the teaching machine. The teaching machine is a mechanical device that hosts a selection of question and answers. In the event that a question is answered correctly, the participant is rewarded (another form of positive reinforcement). Skinner is also credited for the process of operant conditioning. Operant conditioning a process of changing behavior by rewarding or punishing a subject each time an action is performed until the...
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