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Range of behaviours in the classroom as per scenario displayed by this age group

Discuss anout the Human Beings for Theory, Value, and Progress.

The human psychology involves studies on behavioural, cultural, developmental, neuropsychological, evolutionary, cognitive and other fields that explore the understanding of the mind connecting body. As per academic discipline, psychological studies involve understanding individual or group with the implementation of general principles and evidence-based research. Without the effective research, observation and evaluation it is not possible to generate effective psychological findings because psychology completely depends on observations and evaluation irrespective of experimentation like other science fields (Staddon, 2014). Behavioural psychology or behaviourism is one such ideal field of psychology that purely depends on the observation and evaluation of human behaviour to determine their mind psychology (Benson, 2014).

With this understanding, the present study is a scenario-based research where behavioural analysis is performed for provided case scenario of classroom-based research where interventions are developed for detected behavioural issues. In this research paper, these strategies are evaluated and justified using Operant conditioning theory principle to determine their effectiveness. Further, Operant conditioning theory are evaluated by comparing it to other behaviourism theories further determining the sustainability of this Operant conditioning approach for resolving the issues in provided scenario.

“The research focuses on evaluation of provided scenario to determine the behavioural issues and propose possible interventions using Operant conditioning further determining the sustainability of Operant conditioning as an effective approach for behavioural changes in provided scenario”

In the provided case scenario, Jane being the teacher of primary 5 students observed that her class is not at all participative and interested in her class. The identified problems that percept behavioural issues are students do not participate in classroom discussion, students do not provide any response in class as well as they don’t even complete their assignments and homework. Jane finds it difficult to manage such class that is non-cooperative showing lack of interest.

According to Martin, Sass & Schmitt (2012) studies the profile of student having a lack of motivation in class. A most possible behaviour indicating the lack of motivation are student remaining off-task, lack of attention, response and interest. As per this study, the most common cause of this behaviour is the lack of classroom learning activities and instructions. This lack of classroom instruction increases the power of external stimulus. Therefore, as per this study, lack of motivation in classroom activities and learning can be considered as a reason for this improper behaviour of the student in provided case scenario.

Strategies to manage this behaviour (operant conditioning techniques)

Kelm & McIntosh (2012) studied that behaviour is a communication form for small age student that they apply to obtain something (more time, attention, desired learning, sensory stimulation) or avoid something (difficult task boring class, anger, frustration, demand) in class. Student show “classroom incivilities” to show their escape/avoid something communication in class. These classroom incivilities involve cheating, lateness, lacking attention, no participation, side conversation etc. therefore, classroom incivilities like lack of participation and attention are observed in the students of present scenario.

Remington, Osmanski & Wang (2012) studied about the different types challenging behaviour in the school context that involves aggressive behaviour, disruptive behaviour, destructive behaviour, withdrawal behaviour, stereotypical behaviour and self-injurious behaviour. Out of this list of challenging behaviour the student in present case scenario shows withdrawal behaviour that describes a refusal of response such as selective mutism by students. In present case scenario, student shows selective mutism behaviour because they refuse to answer the question of teacher and do not participate in class discussion. This indicates that student in present case scenario shows challenging behaviour that requires management.

The provided case scenario indicates issues like lack of motivation, effective classroom instruction, issues in reinforcing the power of academic activities and lacking classroom engagement. These errors are detected as per the student’s behavioural analysis performed in this paper. To amend these issues and get expected student behaviourism the teacher needs to implement certain specific interventions or strategies that are developed as per operant conditioning theory. According to O’Neill & Stephenson (2012), Operant conditioning is a learning process where any behaviour strength is modified as per the reinforcement or punishment for that particular behaviour. The strategy category that is either reinforcement (increase behaviour) or punishment (decrease behaviour) is adopted as per the requirement in behavioural modification.

The strategies developed using Operant conditioning theory and principles as the most suitable approach are described below in details:

Some of the most effective classroom engagement strategies for primary student studied by Martin, Sass & Schmitt (2012) involves bell ringer activities, quick pace instructions, cooperative learning activities and opportunity of choice. O’Neill & Stephenson (2012) indicated that bell ringer activities involving reading, discussions etc. are meant to grab attentiveness of small age children because naive mind responds to stimulations like bells. Further, quick pace classroom instructions help the teacher to avoid the off-task difficulty in classroom engagement by capturing and holding the attention of students. The cooperative learning activities help to develop group engagement that can induce a healthy classroom discussion. Lastly, reinforcing activity like the opportunity of choice help to develop motivation and interest related to any classroom activity. For example – Out of 2 assignments, if the student is provided with the choice to select one assignment or student are provided choice to sit where they want or select a peer to check their homework etc. These opportunities work as feed to grow classroom interest and motivation.

Increasing motivation by implementing classroom reinforcing activities and instructions

These reinforcing activities and instructions are perfectly suitable for implementing the behavioural defects detected in present case scenario. The bell ringer activity will work to reinforce attentiveness and eliminate withdrawal behaviour of children. Further, quick pace instructions will help in classroom engagement and off-task behaviour of the student. The cooperative learning will induce group engagement that will help children participate in classroom discussion and opportunity of choice will help in getting homework and assignments done on time. Kelm & McIntosh (2012) studied that Operant conditioning implements behavioural control as per two phenomena that is ‘punishment’ and ‘reinforcement’. The reinforcement phenomenon works on two form that is positive (stimulus present) and negative (stimulus absent). The positive reinforcement works to correct certain behaviour whereas negative reinforcement is done to avoid the behaviour. The present reinforcement strategies are part of positive reinforcement as per operant conditioning because these strategies are based on putting a stimulus to develop behaviours that are missing in student perception in provided case scenario. Therefore, classroom reinforcing activities and instructions work as positive reinforcement strategies of operant conditioning.

Crahay, Marbaise & Issaieva (2014) indicated that good discipline works as fuel to establish student motivation, interest and engagement behaviour with the elimination of classroom incivilities and external environment disruptions. Some of the good discipline strategies that are likely to work in present case scenario are:

Strict rules and regulations in class

Establish a class monitor

Make student understand the importance of these rules

Develop and show individual interest in each student

Explain the consequences of student act

These are some good discipline activities that will work to manage issues in present case scenario like not completing homework and not paying interest in class lessons. This strategy is a negative reinforcement strategy of operant conditioning that works to establish reinforcement without implementing a stimulus.

There are certain detected behaviours in present case study student that can only be modified by using punishment option of Operant conditioning. This behaviour is not completing homework or assignment given to students. As this behaviour is outside the classroom zone it requires punishment in form of punishments like documenting behaviour to parents, redoing the task or elimination from classroom sessions. Such punishments will work to decrease this behaviour in present case study students. This is a negative punishment strategy as per Operant conditioning because the stimulus is been removed or ignored to decrease a specific behaviour (Staddon, 2014).

Establishing good discipline format in classroom

The operant conditioning theory provided by B. F. Skinner is a type of child development theory that works to explain the organism’s response to and operation on its environment gaining the term operant conditioning. As per this theory, learning occurs by the change in behaviour where change can only occur by organism’s response to its stimuli that is an environmental factor. This learning helps in the overall development of the child. This theory basically explains the development occurring as per learning process (Staddon, 2014). However, there are various other theories that also link to childhood development process but the operant conditioning theory holds a critical importance especially as well as exceptional limitations when compared to other theories. This section describes the strength and weaknesses of this theory compared to other developmental theories.

Arntzen et al. (2010) indicated that operant conditioning theory holds very important characteristics and the phenomenon that are very much workable in field of education. This included learning language, practical advantages and various other areas of education. This theory persists power to mould behaviour with rewards and punishments rather than only studying the behaviour like Piaget theory, which is related only to the study of development at different stages of life. Further, Hostetler (2010) explained that no other theory except the operant conditioning is useful for scientific research and experimentation with student behaviour. All other theories like Erikson, bandura, Vygotsky etc. are based on observational studies and hold no importance in experimentation. According to Crahay, Marbaise & Issaieva (2014) the Bandura social learning theory is only restricted to learning at social scenario whereas operant conditioning provides an understanding of overall learning process of children as well as provides a control of children behaviour.

However, Arntzen et al. (2010) studied the limitations or weaknesses of conditioning theory where it is clearly indicated that animal research remains a limitation of this theory. Skinner performed more research on animals rather than humans like in Piaget’s theory. Further, theory lacks concentration on cognition. Skinner was not able to determine the consequences of punishments and rewards. Lastly, this theory is not applicable to everyone because cognitive factors are not considered as part of theory formation.

However, Raiola (2014) indicated that Operant conditioning approach works as a useful application for school-based learning being easy for implementation and understanding of students and teachers. As operant conditioning is a scientific approach based on objective strategies and measurable outcomes it is best suited to establish learning techniques at the educational level. Therefore, this operant conditioning theory is perfectly sustainable for present case scenario. By adopting the reinforcement and punishment strategies as per operant conditioning principle it is possible to implement desired behavioural changes in the present scenario.

Comparing operant conditioning theory with other behaviourism theories


The research paper focuses on provided case scenario where the detected behaviour problems with students are the lack of motivation, interest and engagement in classroom activities. There is classroom incivilities and withdrawal behaviour performed by the student’s in this scenario as identified in this research. For these identified behavioural issues some of the most appropriate intervention strategies are suggested based on Operant conditioning approach. As per operant conditioning theory, behavioural psychology is always based in conditioning leads to the formation of behaviour. This conditioning develops by interaction with the environment. As per behaviourism conditioning in form of our response to environment shape our behaviour. Therefore, developed strategies work as conditioning (environment) to resolve the on-going issues in classroom management.

These interventions involve reinforcement strategies that are increasing motivation by bell ringer, quick pace instructions, cooperative learning, good discipline and much more to increase desired behaviour. Further, the punishment strategies are the letter to parents, classroom elimination and redoing task to avoid unexpected behaviour. The Operant conditioning theory is considered most appropriate for research on provided case scenario compared to other developmental theories because it is a workable approach for education research and learning process. With the help of operant reinforcing and punishment strategies the detected behavioural issues can be easily managed for effective classroom performance.


Benson, N. (2014). Introducing Psychology: a graphic guide. Icon Books Ltd.

Staddon, J. (2014). The new behaviorism. Psychology Press.

Arntzen, E., Lokke, J., Lokke, G., & Eilertsen, D. E. (2010). On misconceptions about behavior analysis among university students and teachers. The Psychological Record, 60(2), 325.

Crahay, M., Marbaise, C., & Issaieva, E. (2014). What is teachers’ belief in the virtues of student retention founded on?. ITALIAN JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, (11), 75-94.

Hostetler, K. (2010). (Mis) Understanding human beings: theory, value, and progress in education research. Educational Studies, 46(4), 400-415.

Kelm, J. L., & McIntosh, K. (2012). Effects of school?wide positive behavior support on teacher self?efficacy. Psychology in the Schools, 49(2), 137-147.

Martin, N. K., Sass, D. A., & Schmitt, T. A. (2012). Teacher efficacy in student engagement, instructional management, student stressors, and burnout: a theoretical model using in-class variables to predict teachers' intent-to-leave. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(4), 546-559.

O’Neill, S., & Stephenson, J. (2012). Does classroom management coursework influence pre-service teachers’ perceived preparedness or confidence?. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(8), 1131-1143.

Raiola, G. (2014). Motor control and learning skills according to cognitive and ecological dynamic approach in a vision on behaviorism, cognitive, Gestalt and phenomenology theories. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(15), 504.

Remington, E. D., Osmanski, M. S., & Wang, X. (2012). An operant conditioning method for studying auditory behaviors in marmoset monkeys. PLoS One, 7(10), e47895.

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