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Operant Conditioning: Effective implementation for teachers
Transcript of Operant Conditioning: Effective implementation for teachers
Ideas, Strategies & Techniques for teaching
Operant Conditioning: Effective Implementation for Teachers
What is Operant Conditioning?
"Learning in which voluntary behaviour is strengthened or weakened by consequences or antecedents"
First described by B.F. Skinner in 1953 .
Operant behaviours can be altered by changes in the antecedents, consequences or both .
Classification of Operant Conditioning
The ideas of negative reinforcement and punishment are exhibited in the study by Blackwood (1970) 
This study demonstrates both some advantagous and disadvantageous strategies of Operant Conditioning that can be used in classroom management.
Operant Conditioning from a practicing teachers Point of View
Alana is a secondary science teacher with a major in Biology.
She has been teaching for three years
In this interview, you will hear the opinions that Alana holds concerning Operant Conditioning behaviours and the use of these in her own teaching.
Operant conditioning methods are very useful in effective classroom management as a teacher.
However, caution must be taken to ensure these methods are delivered correctly and are based on the assertion that it is the behaviour being dealt with, and not the actual student exhibiting the behaviour.
Behaviour management strategies will be different for all students, depending on each individal's circumstances, so take the time as a teacher to ensure the strategies of behaviour managment that are used are respectful and specific to the child.
Antecedents are events that occur before a behaviour 
Consequences are events that follow a behaviour 
Consequences that specifically strengthen behaviour are termed ‘reinforcers’ 
View this link: http://www.fotobabble.com/m/MUJEbUhQMlpQc3c9
What implications does operant conditioning have on classroom management?
Students studied in a normal classroom setting
Subjects frequently misbehaved and when interviewed, could not fluently verbalize the consequences of their misbehavior.
Students copied, paraphrased, and orally recited essays which discussed their misbehavior, consequences, target behaviour and reasons for the target behaviour as punishment.
Negative reinforcement ---> students could avoid aversive consequence if they behaved appropriately.
Control subjects were given essays not discussing anything to do with the misbehaviour. 
Observations taken from the teacher of each student and a visiting observer to increase reliability.
Frequency of target behavior in five of the six children decreased to zero.
Behaviour remained at zero throughout the 15-day post-treatment observation period.
The sixth subject continued to misbehave, but less frequently (0.6 vs. 4.9 responses per day).
The responses of all but one child decreased, but only one child’s misbehavior was completely eliminated. 
Previous studies where reinforcement verbalized by the teacher reduced misbehavior but did not eliminate it.
"The results of this study suggested that traditional operant behavior modification methods can be improved by adding mediation training which is more effective than mere punishment"
Experimental design included a common observer of all subject’s behaviour ---> decreased teacher bias ---> increased reliability of results.
Experiment designed to consistently apply the negative reinforcement/punishment straight after the behaviour.
There were no replications or multiple trials done in the study. 
Implementing the findings into my own teaching
Punishment – produces aggression, negative emotional reactions and depression of enthusiasm. 
Punishment in and of itself does not lead to any positive behaviour. 
Past researchers argue that behaviouristic methods are a mere basis for exercising power of children to control them still stands 
Any punishment used should be directly related to the students misbehavior 
E.g. Picking up rubbish after class has no relation to the student’s specific misbehavior. 
Implementing the findings into my own teaching
Use the model: Behaviour -> Consequence -> Effect 
Consequences (positive or negative reinforcement) should be applied consistently and immediately after the behaviour is exhibited 
Consequence should not be used to control or obtain power over the student, but to guide the student towards understanding why their behaviour is inappropriate, how to behave correctly, and why it is important 
This will be different for every student.
Other Advantages & Disadvantages of using operant conditioning in classroom management...
Teachers must deal with the particular students behaviour, and not the student themselves
Internal and External Reinforcement
Form of positive reinforcement - reinforces good behaviour 
Act as an indirect consequence to students who are misbehaving, 
Internal reinforcement is internal to the activity. E.g., the self-satisfaction one receives from solving a problem, performing a task correctly, being able to explain something, obeying a rule, discovering a new idea, and doing what one likes  
External reinforcement is logically external to a particular activity, E.g., house points, planning a practical, smiling, and other forms of approval.  
Use of antecedents
Effective instructional delivery: Clear, concise, specific, eye contact and delivery that is close in proximity to students  
Cueing: A gesture, organizational feature, visual or verbal stimulus for a behaviour before the behaviour occurs 
Prompting: To provide an additional cue or reminder 
Why use Internal and External reinforcement in teaching?
Positive and appropriate for the establishment of certain habits where repetition of the activity is needed, 
Used to get students involved in an activity or improve a student's performance by providing the student with feelings of positivity and reward for their efforts, 
Provide students with an incentive to learn.
Why use Antecedents in teaching?
Deliberate use by teachers provides students with the ability to respond to antecedents without fully realizing it is influencing their behaviour. 
Positive strategy 
Prevents the need for using consequences such as positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and punishment 
Decrease an individual's perceptions of competence and self-determination thereby decreasing that student’s intrinsic motivation to perform the task 
Decrease the students creativity. 
In many school settings, reports of poor maintenance of the learned behaviour after using operant conditioning techniques .
Studies have suggested that this is a criticism due to the fact that such behaviour modification techniques are not implemented effectively. 
Any detrimental effects from the use of external reinforcement could be easily avoided with the use of certain guidelines: 
Rewards should not be presented for mere participation in a task without a reward for completion or quality,
Rewards should not be presented on a single occasion
Rewards should be presented repeatedly with appropriate reduction of reward schedules when behavior change has occurred.
Include: verbal praise, token economies and methods such as group contingency contracts, which follow the above guidelines.
No need for use of ‘treats’ or lollies.
Use of antecedents:
Effective instructional delivery, cues, prompts. 
People learn behaviours if they are reinforced for every correct response, which is referred to as a continuous reinforcement schedule. 
When the new behaviour is mastered, it will be maintained best if it is reinforced intermittently rather than every time, called an intermittent reinforcement schedule. 
Please refer to USB for interview
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 Akin-Little, K.A., Eckert, T.L., Lovett, B.J., Little, S.G. (2004). Extrinsic Reinforcement in the Classroom: Bribery or Best Practice. School Psychology Review. 33(3), 344-362.
 Altman, K.I., & Linton, T.E. (1971). Operant conditioning in the classroom setting: A review of the research. The Journal of Educational Research. 64(6), 277-286.
 Blackwood, R.O. (1970). The operant conditioning of verbally mediated self-control in the classroom. Journal of School Psychology. 8(4), 251-258.
 Kazepides, A.C. (1976). Operant Conditioning in Education . Canadian Journal of Education. 1(4), 53-68.
 O'Connell, B. (2012). Aspects of Learning (RLE Edu O). Retrieved from http://www.uwa.eblib.com.au.ezproxy.library.uwa.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=981716
 Roberts, D.S., Tingstrom, D.H., Olmi, D.J., & Bellipanni, K.D. (2008). Positive Antecedent and Consequent Components in Child Compliance Training. Journal of Behaviour Modification. 32(1), 21-28.
 Russell, E.W. (1974).The power of behaviour control: A critique of behaviour modification methods. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 30(2), 111-136.
 Tegano, D.W., Moran, D.J., & Sawyers, J.K. (1991). Creativity In early childhood classrooms. Washington, DC: National Education Association.
 Woolfolk, A., & Margetts, K. (2013). Educational Psychology (3rd edn). PearsonEducation: Australia.
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