Changing and Keeping
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
(3) Negative Reinforcement
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
(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?”
• 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.
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
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
Poor skills for grade
Low socio-economic Unmotivated
The movie is a prime example of
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!”
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
How well do you know Dennis the
Menace? Would punishment help?
As mentioned in the
objectives, there are choices:
• Positive reinforcement
• Negative reinforcement
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.
• To change a behavior permanently,
the positive reinforcement must
continue until the behavior
This is why we often fail to help a
student change a behavior…..we
don’t reinforce the behavior long
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………
(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
(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……….
CAN YOU THINK OF A STUDENT YOU
TEACH WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT? AFTER
THIS POWERPOINT, WILL YOU CHANGE
YOUR METHODS OF POSITIVE
So, as you reflect upon this
information, remember Dennis………
Knowing him, what is the best way to
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