Positive And Negative Reinforcement

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					       Reinforcement Theory

               Changing and Keeping
                 Desired Behaviors

By: Nita Hoelscher
In a perfect world, our students
*Be on time to class

*Be prepared for class and know how to study

*Know how to behave

*Respect everyone in class with
  them…including the teacher…
 So, what is the alternative?
• We must provide some type of
  reinforcement for the behavior.
  (1) Positive Reinforcement
  (2) Punishment
  (3) Negative Reinforcement
  (4) Extinction
 Our objectives in this power
        point are to :
(1) Define and give examples of the
 types of reinforcement…….


(2) To be able to apply the concept of
  positive reinforcement…….
(We will explore the other options
  Types of Reinforcement
• Concrete-A tangible item given to
  the student or students after they
  have displayed a positive behavior.

• Social-Attention given to the
  student by peers, significant adults
  in the students’ lives, or heroes
  who support the student’s positive
  First, let’s look at concrete
• Types: candy (only types specified by the state),
  stickers, homework passes, movie passes, ice
  cream coupons, passes to an amusement park.
  Can you think of others?
• Important to remember
  (1) Social reinforcers are 90% more effective
  than concrete ones.
  (2) These are used to “jump start” the students.
  Continued use may create a “what am I going to
  get mentality.” However, they are effective to
  start the kids working. ****Reference: the
  movie, Dangerous Minds (Michelle Pheiffer)
   Dennis says it all……..
• “So, Dad, what will you give me if I
  leave Mr. Wilson alone?”
       Think about……….
• The types of concrete reinforcers you are
  using in your classroom.

• Are they effective?

• Are you using varying types?

• Are you moving away from concrete
 Type II: Social Reinfocers
Important to remember:
 * 90% more effective than concrete
 *Used after you have established a
  relationship with the student or
  after you have identified a
  significant adult the student
  respects and desires time with.
         Scenario …….
A kindergarten student has problems
 completing difficult tasks, although
 the teacher knows he is very
 capable of doing the work. He
 LOVES the male first grade teacher.
 Everytime he stays on task, he is
 allowed time at recess with the first
 grade teacher. A prime example of
 social reinforcement………
  What can we conclude?
• The student’s positive behavior is
  reinforced by being able to be
  around a respected adult figure.
You’re probably thinking….
That kid is not in my class…
 but do these look familiar?
Those were the kids the teacher in
Dangerous Minds had to deal with.
      Characteristics of those

                     Student Traits

                                      Poor skills for grade
Low socio-economic   Unmotivated
 The movie is a prime example of
  reinforcement progression…..
When the teacher began the semester, the
  students would not participate.
*She began with a concrete reinforcer-
*She then moved to a trip to the amusement
  park-together (combo-concrete and social)
*Next, the reward for a class contest was a
  trip to the nicest restaurant-with her
   And for you skeptics….
At the end of the movie, when a student
 asked….”What will we get if we do this

Her reply was, “The enjoyment of being
 able to read and enjoy poetry on your
 own…because now you can!”
      Key Learning…….
When the students refuse to work,
 you have to start somewhere to
 move them toward the learning…..
     What would you do to get
    Dennis to eat more carrots?
•   Promise of dessert?
•   Promise a trip to Mr. Wilson’s?
•   Promise he can stay up late?
•   Promise him a trip to his room if
    her doesn’t?

How well do you know Dennis the
 Menace? Would punishment help?
    As mentioned in the
objectives, there are choices:
• Positive reinforcement

• Punishment

• Negative reinforcement

• Extinction
  Most effective with Dennis?
Keep in mind:
  (1) He loves his parents *
  (2) He is very bright
  (3) He loves Mr. Wilson*
  (4) He has agreed to eat two carrots
      on his own

****Obvious social reinforcers
       Closure on types of
What are three types of concrete
 reinforcers? Under what conditions
 should they be used?
What are two types of social
 reinforcers? When should they be
What would be the best handling of
 the Dennis situation?
         What is positive
Scenario: Johnny is always late for
 class because his gorgeous girl
 friend’s class is at the other end of
 the hall and he has to see her. You
 mention to him that it is important
 to get to class on time. The next
 day he is on time to class. When he
 does this, you………………..
• Say to yourself, “Finally,” and do
  not acknowledge him because he is
  finally doing what everyone else
• Give him a pat on the back and say,
  “It’s good to see you here on time!”
• Embarrass him by saying,” Well,
  finally! Look who’s here!”
      If you use positive
 reinforcement, you would….
• Choose b. Pat him on the back and
  tell him you are glad to see him.

• Reasoning: You are asking him to
  give up something that is important
  to him……time with the girlfriend.
  If that positive encounter is not
  replaced by another, he will return
  to his previous behavior.
What are the chances he will
 continue being on time?
• It all depends on how good a
  positive reinforcer you are.
  However, if you only tell him once
  that you appreciate his presence,
  you can bet he’ll be tardy again.
     Key Learning………
• To change a behavior permanently,
  the positive reinforcement must
  continue until the behavior
  becomes natural.

This is why we often fail to help a
 student change a behavior…..we
 don’t reinforce the behavior long
      Scenario ………….
John is a “blurter.” Every time you
 ask a question, he yells out the
 answer. Dirty looks do not help.
 Finally, you keep him after class
 and discuss his immature behavior
 with him. The next day he
 frantically raises his hand when
 you ask a question. You………
  Scenario continued…..
(1) Ignore him because he is finally
 doing the “right” thing and others
 are finally getting to answer.
(2) Call on him at the end of class.
(3) Call on him immediately and tell
 him privately how much you
 appreciate his improved behavior.
      Think about this
student…what does he crave?
Could it be attention?
    Key learning on positive
Most students will change a behavior, but
  the reinforcement must be there.
Always remember you are asking them to
  give up something satisfying to conform
  to the rules.
They will only do this if a “substitute”
  reinforcer is given….until the behavior is
REMEMBER: A one time reinforcer will not
  change the behavior…reinforcement
  must be consistent!
      Closure on positive
It may seem simplistic to use
when considering children
whose behaviors need modifying
in your class. However, think about
what they have in common?
(1) Need for attention
(2) Bright
(3) Tendencies to test adults
 We’ll talk later about students who need
  punishment, negative reinforcers, of
       extinction…..but for now……
Which students would benefit from the use
 of positive reinforcers…..
REMEMBER: all students are
 different….our job is to choose the right
 reinforcer for the right student……….
     So, as you reflect upon this
information, remember Dennis………
Knowing him, what is the best way to
 handle him……?
        Closure on positive
• What is positive reinforcement?
• What type of students benefit best
  from positive reinforcement?
• Think about times you have not
  used positive reinforcement as long
  as you needed to………
What is the best way to work
   with Dennis……..???