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B.F. Skinner: Operant Conditioning in The Classroom

A brief overview of Skinner's theories and how they apply to teaching in your classroom.
by Charlie Denues on 16 September 2012

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Transcript of B.F. Skinner: Operant Conditioning in The Classroom

B.F. Skinner's Approach to Teaching Operant Conditioning In The Classroom An American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher he is responsible for the theory of Operant Conditioning. Also Skinner discovered and advanced the rate of response as a dependent variable in psychological research. He invented the cumulative recorder to measure rate of responding as part of his highly influential work on schedules of reinforcement. In a June 2002 survey, Skinner was listed as the most influential psychologist of the 20th century. He was a prolific author who published 21 books and 180 articles Burrhus Frederic Skinner What Skinner looked at was not the cause for why an animal originally did something, but rather what could be done following that action, in order to make it either repeat the action, or prevent its repetition. Putting his many theories into Perspective This term was created by Skinner to describe the process of how to change an animal's (or a person's) behavior through the use of reinforcement. Operant Conditioning Operants can be positive, negative, or neutral.
Positive: can be seen as an addition of a positive, (aka reward) or removal of a negative (aka relief),both of which strengthen the action's repeatability.
Punishment: Or the introduction of negative, or substitution of a negative for a positive, weakens the likely hood of repetition.
Neutral: responses that neither reinforce or weaken a behavior's repeatability. So what can we learn from Skinner's Pigeons? From Pigeons to the Classroom Positive reinforcement works!
And according to Skinner, more effectively Punishment Skinner believed that
positive reinforcement is more effective at changing and establishing behavior than punishment because the main thing people learn from being punished is how to avoid punishment. Skinner in the Classroom He endeavored to bring students’ behavior under the control of the environment by reinforcing it only when particular stimuli were present. Because he believed that human behavior could be affected by small consequences, something as simple as “the opportunity to move forward after completing one stage of an activity” could prove reinforcing. Skinner associated punishment with avoidance. For example, he thought a child may be forced to practice playing his instrument as a form of seemingly productive discipline. This child would then associate practicing with punishment and thus learn to hate and avoid practicing the instrument. Additionally, teachers who use educational activities to punish children could cause inclinations towards rebellious behavior such as vandalism and opposition to education.
So this means if we are to use Skinner's classroom management techniques in our classrooms:We must distances ourselves from the use of punishment as the only reinforcement method of classroom policies, we must find ways in which to positively reinforce the actions of our students that we approve of, and we must teach our students "actively", where the student is allowed, and given feedback(aka reinforcement) on a regular schedule.
Skinner in the Classroom Cont. McLeod, S. A. (2007). B.F. Skinner | Operant Conditioning. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/operant-conditioning.html
Vargas, Julie S. (2005) A Brief Biography of B.F. Skinner, http://www.bfskinner.org/BFSkinner/AboutSkinner.html ©2012 B.F. Skinner Foundation
B. F. Skinner. (2012, September 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:32, September 16, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=B._F._Skinner&oldid=512021274
(a b Holland, J. (1992). B.F Skinner. Pittsburgh: American Psychologist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._F._Skinner#cite_note-Holland-19)
The Technology of Teaching, 1968. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts Library of Congress Card Number 68-12340 E 81290 References Operant Conditioning IN practice
(Just for Fun) Note: What Sheldon calls "negative reinforcement" is actually punishment. Punishment weakens a behavior, while negative reinforcement encourages it.
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