Behaviour Management

Topics: Reinforcement, Operant conditioning, Reward system Pages: 2 (657 words) Published: April 8, 2013
Behaviour management methods based in behaviourism advocate rewarding pupils when they conform to school expectations and punishing them when they do not. The external environment is heavily emphasised in behaviourism, with positive reinforcement provided by teachers to encourage favourable behaviour (Skinner 1985, 293). Rewards such as stickers, extra play time, praise, or being designated teacher's helper are examples of positive rein forcers. Negative reinforcement is similarly used by teachers to discourage inappropriate behaviour (Skinner 1985, 293). Punishments such as withholding recess, writing students' names on the board, or requiring extra work act as negative rein forcers. Most teachers learn behaviourist methods in their pre-service training. For example, many teachers are instructed by their professors to ignore some inappropriate behaviours (Obenchain and Taylor 205, 9). The theoretical reason behind this response is that if the student is not rewarded by teacher attention, he or she will eventually stop the behaviour. This planned ignoring is called the principal of extinction by behavioural theorists. The principal of extinction states that if in a given situation a person exhibits a certain behaviour and that behaviour is not reinforced, the behaviour will lessen when that given situation is again presented (Obenchain and Taylor 205, 9). However, negative reinforcement can also work against good classroom management. For example, teachers are often directed to remove particularly unruly students from the classroom. If the student in fact wishes to be removed from the classroom, the teacher is playing into the principle of escape conditioning. The principle of escape conditioning states that in a given situation, removal of an unpleasant stimulus will increase the likelihood of the behaviour occurring again in that situation (Obenchain and Taylor 205, 9). Whilst these are typically used in an individual approach, with each child earning his or...
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