Theories of Personality
24 November 2012
Behaviorism, particularly operant conditioning, emphasizes the role of the environment in shaping personality growth and development. Using what you know about Skinnerian theory, answer the following questions: 1. A teacher wanted to stop some children from losing control of themselves in the classroom. She decided to give them a check-mark every time they lost control. If they went three days with no check-marks, they received a plastic toy car. After a week she gave up because the approach did not seem to be working. Evaluate the teacher's effort, assess why it did not work, and suggest an alternative behavior modification procedure.
The teacher’s idea was on the right track, but she failed to realize certain aspects of Skinnerian theory. Changes in behavior are the result of an individual's response to events (stimuli) that occur in the environment, not necessarily the entire classroom/group of students. Furthermore, checkmarks are a symbol of derogatory or negative behavior. Checkmarks represent positive feedback and/or behavior. Lastly, the teacher waited to long to provide the children with positive reinforcement (reward) in the form of a toy car. The teacher should have made a response for each setting with the children and provided immediate feedback/praise. One alternative behavior modification procedure the teacher could have utilized is: 1. Discuss with the children why its important not to loose control and provide immediate and positive feedback for their answers. Additionally the teacher can spin a child’s answer into what she wants the children to learn and take away. Thus always making the child’s answer correct and reinforcing the positive feedback. 2. Next reinforce the children’s good behavior daily through verbal praise, and hint at the aspect of receiving a prize if the good behavior continues. Here is where the “checkmarks” could have a positive and beneficial...
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