Reinforcement Theory Or Changing and Keeping Desired Behaviors By: Nita Hoelscher In a perfect world, our students could *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. Choices: (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……. and (2) To be able to apply the concept of positive reinforcement……. (We will explore the other options later.) 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 behavior. First, let’s look at concrete reinforcers. • 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 reinforcers? Type II: Social Reinfocers Important to remember: * 90% more effective than concrete reinforcers *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 students? Student Traits Poor skills for grade Low socio-economic Unmotivated Level 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- candy. *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 (combo) And for you skeptics…. At the end of the movie, when a student asked….”What will we get if we do this unit?” 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 reinforcement………. 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 used? What would be the best handling of the Dennis situation? What is positive reinforcement? 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 does. • 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 enough. 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 reinforcement 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 changed. REMEMBER: A one time reinforcer will not change the behavior…reinforcement must be consistent! Closure on positive reinforcement……… 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………. CAN YOU THINK OF A STUDENT YOU TEACH WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT? AFTER THIS POWERPOINT, WILL YOU CHANGE YOUR METHODS OF POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT? So, as you reflect upon this information, remember Dennis……… Knowing him, what is the best way to handle him……? Closure on positive reinforment….. • 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……..???
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