Grand Canyon University: SPE-522
May 08, 2013
Reinforcement is a consequence following a behavior that could increase the probability of the behavior (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). Reinforcement helps the behavior to be strong enough that it can occur naturally within its one’s environment or can be a part of an intervention plan that teaches new behaviors (Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayor, 1991). Reinforcement is an important concept in operant conditioning and an important part of learning process. B.F. Skinner accepted this technique to modify reinforcement and punishment as well as extinction reinforcement. It increases a negative behavior, or a positive behavior. In Operant Learning, there are two types of behaviors positive and negative. Reinforcement is something that is part of everyone’s life and rewards are given to enforce positive behaviors. Positive reinforcement is something that is done to increase a response from someone. Educators are often involved in positive reinforcement. It helps the students give the desired behavior that is desired by the teacher. Teachers can impact student’s life positively by dealing with their behavior and by using a reward system. Being an Educator, there must be stability to effectively manage a classroom of students. Sometimes being faced with challenges in managing a student’s behavior becomes overwhelming especially students with behavior problems. Students are often very hard to teach and to get them focused on the information that’s being given to them because of the disruptive behaviors, but having some type of intervention plan in place helps to deal with the behavior problems. Although, teachers like to think they can handle things on their own sometimes before going to an administrator for an discipline referral, but because of the problems behavior sometimes being so bad, the student has to get involved with the discipline principal. The behavior could cause suspension from school in-school or out-of-school for a period of time awaiting a hearing. However, positive reinforcement does work for some students in the classroom. In my classroom environment the students gets positive reinforcement by letting them go to the computer lab, watch an educational movie, library, free time, or play music while they work and giving small snacks. These are some of the things that we do for positive reinforcement in the classroom. If positive reinforcement worked for everyone it would be a good thing, but some students do not care to be rewarded for good behavior. However, every student should want to do the right thing and not depend on someone giving them something in order to do well. Negative reinforcement is also a theory of Operant Learning. According to B. F. Skinner’s( 1953) theory on “operant conditioning” Skinner says that to be rewarded has more effect if it does not happen. If one was rewarded constantly the effect would be greater than the rewards that are usually given. If a student doesn’t know when they are being rewarded, they will control and behave themselves more so than anyone who knows the time the rewards are given out. Negative reinforcement is when certain incentives or items are removed after a particular behavior is exhibited. Although it is very unlikely that the behavior may not ever happen again, it is decreased. The negative behavior is increased if a student is stopping, moving or avoiding a negative outcome. It should never be thought of as a punishment. Positive reinforcement is always adding something positive to increase the behavior, but negative reinforcement is taking something that is negative to increase a behavior. Negative reinforcement is also when you do something to keep from being punished for it. An example is if “I nagged my son about keeping his room clean and he cleans it to avoid me nagging him to clean it.” Reinforcement is something that happens all the time in everyone’s everyday life. Making a plan for a child that is in special education is very important. To set the goals and objectives, it has to be in written form. To write a plan for setting goals and objectives takes some thought. First of all one must know what an objective is. Since I have been working in the education field, I have had to learn many things. I learned while sitting in an IEP that the teacher must have goals and objectives for the student. The objective gives information of what you want to learn and to be able to show evidence of what you have learned. The objective is important and it must be well taught to help with the evaluating content of the goals. It leaves not enough room for reason. In writing an objective there are uniqueness that should be communicated and they are the accomplishment of an objective. This is a statement of what is anticipated of the learner. Circumstances are actually what the student can do or how the task can be performed. The standard of the objective tells how the student performed the assignment so that it will be acknowledged. Writing objectives should be about how much or how well of what someone will do and by when. For example; “Alicia will show respect for others, her peers and adults, her ideas, thoughts, opinion, personal space and property.” Alicia should do this independently 90% of the time. Since Alicia is having problems with respecting others, she has to sit away from the group until she apologizes to all of her teachers and peers. Once she does this, she can return back to the group. Alicia likes being with the group, so she finally decides to apologize to everyone. The data was collected by Informal Assessment and Data Collection. Another example would be Alicia needs to follow directions without arguing with the teacher 1 out of 4 times a day as measured by observation, weekly observation and charting the outcome. Everything we do have a consequence whether it’s positive or negative. However, to get a positive stimulus one must increase the behavior to something positive. To get a negative behavior, do something that is not acceptable. It is always wise to try and increase the student’s behavior by positive reinforcement and definitely not by punishment. Doing something that is positive to decrease the negative behavior is always the right thing to do. Reinforcements of both behaviors are something that is done on a daily basis of everyday life. Today because people operate by their environment, (Martin & Pear, 1999) we all look for reinforcement in our lives rather it’s at work, with our friends, or family. All behaviors eventually become a way of growth. As for reinforcement, it will be more successful if the intensity and the magnitude of enforcers is greater ( Mittenberger, 2008). So, the bottom line is that Positive Reinforcement should be used in the classroom to help those students that are experiencing behavior problems. Special Education Teachers should take into consideration of positive reinforcement to better help their students to be successful.
Cooper, J. O., T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd. Ed). Upper River, NJ: Merrill/ Prentice Hall
Kelly, M. (n.d.) Positive and Negative Reinforcement. Retrieved May 05, 2013 from http://www.netplaces.com
Martin, G., & Pear, J. ( 1999). Behavior modification. what it is and how to do it (6th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall Skinner, B. F. ( 1938). Science and Human behavior. New York: MacMillan Sulzer-Azaroff, B., & Mayer, R. G. (1991). Behavior analysis for lasting change. Fort Worth, Tx: Harcourt Brace Wheeler J., J. & Richey D., D. (2010). Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports. (2nd ed.) Merrill.