My students think I am bribing them when I say.” If the class gets all their work done by Thursday, they can go down to the computer lab on Friday”. If I told them I was using negative reinforcement from behavior theory they would laugh at me and say “what ever”. To them they know from experience that if they get all their work finished by the end of Thursday, they won’t have any to do on Friday. Taking away the fifth day of boring class room activities and allowing them to work on the computers with geometry sketch pad and other math related activities is a use of negative reinforcement. When educators say that behaviorism is out dated and doesn’t have a place in the classroom, I have to disagree. After twenty years of teaching I have seen my behaviorism practices diminish, I have eliminated all severe punishment, but positive and negative reinforcements play an important part of my classroom management. “Using behaviorist theory in the classroom can be rewarding for both students and teachers” (Standridge, 2002).
Reinforcing effort through technology sounds like a great idea that I can implement at our school. Our administrators are always looking for ways to promote outstanding efforts made by our students. We have examples of the our student’s national recognized art works on the web page but there isn’t anything about the hard work some of the students have done to turn their lives around. I know one young man that had no goals or vision his freshman and sophomore years. At the end of tenth grade he had one credit and was about to drop out of school when a mentor changed his attitude. In two years he has earned his Eagle Award for the Boy Scouts, caught up on his credits so he can graduate with his class this year, and he has passed all his tests so he can enlist in the US Navy. He is a model for other students, parents and community members to see how with the right help it is never too late to change your life around and be successful. Getting this type of story out to the public on the school web page is a great use of technology reinforcing efforts of our students.
Standridge,M.. (2002). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved March 8, 2010, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/