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Scenario Analysis

Discuss about the Foundational psychology Learning Methods.

The following essay is going to analyze a given scenario and understand the issue presented in it. The main concern of the following essay would be to evaluate the entire scenario considering the form of operant conditioning, which is considered as one of the most convenient learning methods for modifying strength of an individual’s behavior. The goal of the present paper would be therefore to propose most possible interventions for the scenario and at the same time determine whether the intervention method of operant conditioning would be suitable for the scenario or not.

The thesis statement of the following essay would be to establish that for the given scenario, operant conditioning as an approach for behavioral change would be most convenient for the given scenario.

The scenario is indicative of the fact that a primary teacher is suffering from indifferent behavior and lack of response from her students. From the case, it has been understood that the teacher cannot accomplish her teaching goals as the students are not attentive and focused on the class. It can be said that such an atmosphere would possibly lead to worse learning outcome and bad reputation for Jane.   

Prior to analyze the strength and weakness of the proposed approach, it is essential to identify the range of behaviors in the class room presented in the given scenario and therefore a brief analysis of the scenario is found to be necessary. According to the given case study, a primary teacher – Jane is finding it hard to engage her students into the classroom activities. The scenario refers that almost each of Jane’s primary students who belongs to the age group of 10-12 years is indifferent towards the classroom activity and does not care to participate in any of the classroom discussions. It has been understood that one of the most persistent as well as typical behaviors displayed by the students of Jane in the case scenario is the boycotting or withdrawing attitude. The case scenario indicates that the student always keep quiet and never participate in any of the classroom activities. On the other hand, it has been understood that there is a slight tendency of having general pervasive mood of unhappiness.

Beside, the aforementioned attitude of the students, which is inattentiveness, it has been also found that another typical behavior of the students is their tendency of staring at their teacher, when they are asked to answer any question. The particular attitude of the students is indicative of the fact that they have the disruptive behavior of refusing to follow the instructions of the educator (Martin & Pear, 2015). Furthermore, it is to say that through the tendency of not answering any question is a sign of disrespect towards the teacher too. On the other hand, the case of Jane is indicative of the fact that students do not complete their homework and show unwillingness to do the class assignments. Therefore, it can be said that in the behaviors displayed by the students in the case scenario, there is the hint that the students are possibly have inability to build as well as maintain any kind of satisfactory interpersonal relationship with the teachers (Chicas-Mosier & Abramson, 2015). It can be also perceived that there is probably a slight inability among the students to learn properly in the classroom or response to the instruction of the teacher.

Behavioral Patterns of Primary Students


After considering the behaviors of the students listed in the given scenario, it is understandable that the teacher is in immediate need of a list of effective teaching and learning techniques. Specifically for the considered case, it can be said that the teaching and learning techniques of operant conditioning may prove efficient. Operant conditioning is considered to be a procedure of learning that involves the technique of giving rewards or punishment for modifying behaviors of the students (Bouton, 2014). According to Edward Thorndike’s study and his developed percept of “law of effect” and voluntary behavior, punishment and reward are two key aspects, which determine behavioral change in a human individual (McSweeney & Murphy, 2014). The percept of voluntary behavior has been further expanded by B.F Skinner, who has given a name to the classical conditioning and indicated that learning is a kind of function of transformation in overt behavior (Ruan & Wu, 2013). The current scenario that has been considered for the present paper is indicative of the fact that there is a need to change the behavior pattern of the students of Jane, so that acquires positive attitude towards the class.

Therefore, it can be said that there is the need for reinforcement apparently. If the teacher would not get the expected behavior then following the theoretical framework of operant conditioning, the aspect of punishment would be required. With the help of reinforcement, the teacher – Jane can positively strengthen the behavior of the students towards learning as it has been pointed out above the students are probably suffering from an inability to make satisfactory interpersonal relationship with the teacher. The recognized behavior pattern is indicative of the fact that both positive and negative reinforcement would be required. The positive reinforcement technique would help the teacher to increase the level of participation in the classroom activities (Huston et al., 2013). With the help of positive reinforcement the students will be given anything pleasant after an appropriate or expected behavior. On the other hand, the positive reinforcement would also provide the chance of continuing the expected behavior (Loovis, 2016).

Besides, positive reinforcement, there is the requirement for the technique of negative reinforcement too. The predominant concept of negative reinforcement says that in order to take anything unpleasant or to remove any inappropriate content from a behavior, there is the need for a strong action (Gentile et al., 2014). The concept further indicates that the process of taking away an unpleasant content from the behavior is for the reason to acquire the acceptable or required behavior. The particular technique of operant conditioning is convenient in increasing positive behavior and satisfaction (Kelder et al., 2015).  In order to accomplish the aforementioned techniques, three particular methods should be applied, which are shaping, extinction and generalization. The application of “shaping” would help both Jane and her students in teaching and learning new styles of expected behavior though the method of applying reinforcement of behavior. After each application of reinforcing behavioral trend, the complexity or difficulty level of the tasks to acquire proper behavior gets change (van Slooten et al., 2013).

Theoretical Framework of Operant Conditioning


On the other hand, though the procedure of extinction, the teacher – Jane can prohibit repetition of any kind of undesired behavior. Through this method of reinforcement, Jane can proactively stop any aspect that would cause the repetition of any kind of wrong behavior or can completely diminish it. If the aforementioned concepts of operant conditioning and the procedures would be considered by the teacher of the case scenario, then there would be requirement of another process, which is generalization. In the process of generalization, the students will properly learn when and in which contexts the learned behaviors should be applied (van Slooten et al., 2013). The process of generalization proves most helpful in continuing the expected behavior of the students, so that they can accurately meet the learning outcomes of their individual class.

However, in this context, it can be also suggested that the technique of positive and negative punishment should be also applied on the student, if Jane would find it difficult to acquire the expected behavioral outcome after the application of reinforcement. It can be expected that both the negative and positive punishment techniques would help in removing any unpleasant behavior if the procedure of generalization would not work as per the expectation (Bosworth & Judkins, 2014). Nevertheless, the teacher should keep in mind the fact that in several cases, it has been found out that student prefer to avoid teacher who gives them punishment instead of the improvising their flawed behavior (Debeer et al., 2014). Therefore, the techniques of positive and negative punishment should be applied only when the abovementioned technique of generalization would fail to accomplish Jane’s aim of improving her students’ behavior.

Nonetheless, in this respect, it is significant to identify and evaluate the strengths and weakness of the considered and suggested procedures of operant conditioning. The fundamental principle of operant conditioning is to control behavior with the help of a list of consequences. The predominant principle of operant conditioning is dependent upon four key concepts, which are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. The advantage of applying varied techniques of operant conditioning is modification or desired improvement of the behavior is pursued in a systematic way (Bosworth & Judkins, 2014). With the help of positive and negative reinforcement, a teacher can easily establish pleasant behavior among the students and at the same time can maintain it by taking away the negative behaviors. On the other hand, through positive or negative punishment, teachers can maintain the modified behavior and can stop intervention of any unpleasant behavior by the fear of having punishment (Debeer et al., 2014).

Effective Teaching and Learning Techniques of Operant Conditioning


However, several disadvantages are also there, which can prohibit the accomplishment of the fundamental goal of operant conditioning. The disadvantages are mainly related to the application of positive and negative punishment. With the application of positive or negative punishment, the students can start ignoring the teachers rather than modifying their behavior. Moreover, several times it has been understood that the students start lying in order to avoid punishment. Further, the application of punishment may create anxiety or undesirable attitude among the students. In this respect, if the theory of Kohlberg would be considered then it can be said that morality is the aspect that should be taught to the students initially. Kohlberg says that in order to grow proper behavior in a child there is the need to consider three levels, which are pre-conventional morality, conventional morality and post conventional morality (Peters, 2015). In level one with the help of obedience and punishment behavior and individual interest are grown and in the second level, interpersonal behavior is built (Brabeck, 2016). Finally, in level three, behaviors are drawn by the use of social contract and universal ethics. Therefore, it seems that in operant conditioning there is no such definite way to drive the behaviors of the students in a way that would increase the internal moral principles. However, it should also considered that through applying reinforcement style along with the punishment techniques, level 1 and 2 of Kohlberg’s theoretical framework can be accomplished.

On the other hand, if Bandura’s social learning theory can be considered in this context, then it can be said that the conceptual frameworks of operant conditioning has not given much priority about the significance of observational learning. Bandura’s theory suggest that in order to establish proper behavior, there is the need for observational learning through which students can learn about an expected behavior through imitation as well as modeling (Renkl, 2014). The theory underpins that an expected behavior is determined by the integration of cognitive and physical and environmental factors (Kelly, 2015). Therefore, it can be said that one of the major disadvantages of operant conditioning is it does not consider one significant aspects of human behavior that is the cognitive development. Nevertheless, considering the given case study it is to say that the scenario has not given any hint about the fact that the students are suffering from moral development. On the other hand, in the positive and negative reinforcement techniques, there is the scope for applying observational learning. In positive reinforcement, the teacher can help the students in imitating her attitudes to achieve behavioral goals. Henceforth, it is to contemplate that the evaluated methods of operant conditioning would not be completely fruitless for the given scenario.   

Methods of Reinforcement: Shaping, Extinction, and Generalization


It should also be considered that with the application of the theoretical techniques of operant conditioning would bring a huge behavior change in the classroom of Jane, which can be both positive and negative. Finally, it is to recommend that initially, Jane should start with applying the reinforcement techniques and should give priority to both positive as well as negative reinforcement. If the teacher finds that the theoretical practice of generalization is not working as per the anticipated result, then Jane should adopt both the negative and positive punishment strategies. In order to avoid the probable adverse impact of punishment, the teacher should consider discussing about the application of punishment strategies with the students and with their parents. It would help Jane in effectively applying the techniques with the consent of the parents. It is to further recommend that if the primary need of the

In the conclusion, it can be said that from the above discourse, it has been understood that the students of the given scenario are mainly having the typical behavioral disorders like lack of attention, trend of withdrawal, indifferent and inability to make interpersonal bonds. According to the essay’s analysis about the given case scenario, the teacher desires to change the typical attitude of the students and increase their encouragement level so that they can become more participative. The above essay is indicative of the fact that the condition of Jane can be changed if she will apply the methods of operant conditioning. However, the essay has also indicated that adverse outcome may also take place with the application of punishment technique of operant conditioning. However, the paper has also indicated that the application of the punishment technique should be applied only when one of the techniques – generalization would fail. The essay has argued about the fact that the punishment technique of the operant conditioning does not prove fruitful all the time and has also argued that operant conditioning does not properly prioritize the observational learning.

The essay has finally suggested that operant conditioning techniques would be convenient for Jane though she would have to analyze whether there is need for applying the techniques of punishment or not. 

References

Bosworth, K., & Judkins, M. (2014). Tapping into the power of school climate to prevent bullying: One application of schoolwide positive behavior interventions and supports. Theory Into Practice, 53(4), 300-307.

Bouton, M. E. (2014). Conditioning and Learning.

Brabeck, M. (2016). Moral Judgment: Theory and Research on. An Ethic of Care: Feminist and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 33.

Chicas-Mosier, A. M., & Abramson, C. I. (2015). A new instrumental/operant conditioning technique suitable for inquiry-based activities in courses on experimental psychology, learning, and comparative psychology using planaria (Dugesia dorotocephala and Dugesia tigrina). Comprehensive Psychology, 4, 09-IT.

Debeer, E., Raes, F., Williams, J. M. G., Craeynest, M., & Hermans, D. (2014). Operant conditioning of autobiographical memory retrieval. Memory, 22(3), 171-183.

Gentile, D. A., Groves, C. L., & Gentile, J. R. (2014). The general learning model: Unveiling the teaching potential of video games. Learning by playing: Video gaming in education, 121-142.

Huston, J. P., de Souza Silva, M. A., Topic, B., & Müller, C. P. (2013). What's conditioned in conditioned place preference?. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 34(3), 162-166.

Kelder, S. H., Hoelscher, D., & Perry, C. L. (2015). How individuals, environments, and health behaviors interact. Health behavior: Theory, research, and practice, 159.

Kelly, J. (2015). Using Structured Positive And Negative Reinforcements To Modify Student Behavior In An Educational Setting In Order To Achieve Student Academic Success. In EDULEARN15 Proceedings (pp. 1039-1041). IATED.

Loovis, E. M. (2016). Behavior management. Adapted Physical Education and Sport, 6E, 101.

Martin, G., & Pear, J. J. (2015). Behavior modification: What it is and how to do it. Psychology Press.

McSweeney, F. K., & Murphy, E. S. (2014). The Wiley Blackwell handbook of operant and classical conditioning. John Wiley & Sons.

Peters, R. S. (2015). Moral Development and Moral Education (Routledge Revivals). Routledge.

Renkl, A. (2014). Toward an instructionally oriented theory of example?based learning. Cognitive science, 38(1), 1-37. 

Ruan, X., & Wu, X. (2013). The skinner automaton: A psychological model formalizing the theory of operant conditioning. Science China Technological Sciences, 56(11), 2745-2761.

van Slooten, J., Wilbertz, G., & Sterzer, P. (2013). Does punishment influence conscious visual perception? A study of binocular rivalry using operant conditioning. Perception ECVP abstract, 42, 180-180.

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