Human Behavior in Today's World

By Waris Ishaq | Go to book overview

14
Positive Reinforcement in Education

Murray Sidman

When used effectively, positive reinforcement is the most powerful teaching tool we have. Many teachers know this, even though they barely heard it mentioned during their training. Unaware that a wealth of confirmatory laboratory, classroom, and tutorial data backs them up, those who use positive reinforcement do so just because they have discovered that it works. But they have been left to find that out for themselves. Rarely does their training equip future teachers with any proficiency in the use of positive reinforcement.

The general principle is for the teacher, first, to get the student to do something new, and then to give positive reinforcement as quickly as possible. When Johnny spells his words correctly, compliment him, give him points toward a special prize, write an enthusiastic note for him to bring to his parents; when Jane adds and subtracts correctly, praise her for being so good at arithmetic, call another teacher in so Jane can show off her talent, put some plusses into the bag that, when filled, will bring her a special treat.

Eventually, the teacher has to eliminate all those external supports, and establish learning as its own reward. There is only one way to do this: Give students opportunities to use their new learning. Learning becomes reinforcing in its own right when it leads to other reinforcers.

Reprinted from Murray Sidman, Coercion and Its Fallout. Boston: Authors Cooperative, 1989. Reprinted by permission of the author and Authors Cooperative, Inc.

-171-

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Human Behavior in Today's World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction: Behavior Analysis in a Sociopolitical Context 1
  • References 15
  • Part I - The World is Falling Apart 17
  • 1 - Why We Are Not Acting to Save the World 19
  • 2 - The Sky is Falling 31
  • References 37
  • 3 - Behavior Analysis and Global Survival 39
  • References 49
  • 4 - Beware of Coercion 51
  • References 69
  • Part II - The Science of Behavior Change 71
  • 5 - The Source and Control of Behavior 73
  • References 85
  • 6 - Free Operant Behavior Research Methods 87
  • References 96
  • 7 - Verbal Behavior: A Four-Term Contingency Relation 99
  • References 108
  • 8 - Stimulus Equivalence: Implications for Teaching 109
  • References 119
  • 9 - Everyday Stimulus Equivalences for the Brain-Injured 123
  • References 131
  • 10 - Schedules of Reinforcement 133
  • References 138
  • 11 - Behaviorology: Its Paradigm 139
  • References 147
  • Part III - Education: Problems and Solutions 149
  • 12 - Contingencies in Day Care Licensing Standards 151
  • References 161
  • 13 - A Rational Technology of Education 163
  • References 170
  • 14 - Positive Reinforcement in Education 171
  • 15 - Behavior Analysis With the Mildly Handicapped 175
  • References 183
  • Part IV - Stimulus Control In Etiology and Treatment 189
  • 16 - Stimulus Control: Principles and Procedures 191
  • 17 - Applocation: Substance Abuse and Dependency 205
  • References 214
  • 18 - Application: Smoking 217
  • References 227
  • Part V - Applications In the Practice of Psychology 231
  • 19 - Clinical Behavior Analysis 233
  • References 244
  • Part VI - Culture and Behavior 247
  • 20 - Walden Two in Real Life: Behavior Analysis in the Design of a Culture 249
  • References 255
  • 21 - Behavior Analysis Across Cultures 257
  • References 277
  • Part VII - In the World of Work 279
  • 22 - Behavior Analysis in Organizations 281
  • References 290
  • Part VIII - Epilogue 293
  • 23 - Wrap-Up: Behavior Analysis is Doing Good Well 295
  • Index 301
  • About the Editor and Contributors 309
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