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Skinner's behaviourist theory

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Skinner's behaviourist theory

Post by caffeine needed on Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:20 pm

Behaviourism
BF Skinner (1904- 1994)
Psychologist
Much of his work was with animals

Main Concepts (ideas)
Skinner and his followers believe that we are all shaped by our environment.Desired behaviour can be produced by applying the correct stimulus.

Individuals repeat enjoyable experiences and avoid unpleasant ones
Positive Reinforcement
Examples:

The use of praise
The use of rewards (stickers etc)
Achievable tasks
Interesting tasks

Behaviourists like B.F. Skinner argued that children could be taught to produce the desired behaviour by the careful use of rewards and sanctions

"Behaviourists believe that organisms need reinforcements to keep them interested and that the use of stimuli can be very effective in controlling behaviour. For the behaviourist, environment directly shapes behaviour, and complex learning requires a series of small, progressive steps."

Much of the current software in the primary school uses this approach - children gain rewards, points, applause etc. for correct answers. It is also the basis of the use of reward systems such as stickers for good work or behaviour. Problems seem to arise because children over time lose interest in the rewards and can even be embarrassed to receive them as peer pressure mounts in upper primary.
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