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Chapter Seven Discussion

Chapter 7
Angie Salatinas
Jennifer Wigoda

(p. 219-223)Most of this chapter discusses methods and issues concerning how students learn to behave and interact with others within the classroom. Much of the chapter's focus is on the response and feedback teachers get from their students, some ideas about what methods work and which ones don't. One major issue, we, as future teachers need to be concerned with is how we will arrange learning activities within our classrooms in order to get desired responses from our students (basically making sure our teaching methods are effective). This is where operant conditioning comes in, because each of us must develop our own system of positive and negative reinforcement for our classrooms. Operant conditioning is a method that is often used to elicit a certain desired response from students. It is important that we teach our students through discipline. This may help them to keep on task and develop some of their own self-discipline in the future. Operant conditioning teaches them to operate in order to obtain or avoid a certain consequence. Some methods of eliminating certain behaviors include punishment, time-out, and extinction. However, there are advantages and disadvantages that, as a future teachers, we must take into consideration such as ethical issues, parent input, and most importantly how each method will affect our students. Some students may misbehave intentionally when they catch on to certain methods, whereas some may just not be motivated by the method, or others may even look at your method as just an immediate reinforcer. This could cause many problems later when there is perhaps no one there to give reinforcement to a student(s). (p226-231)Pay special attention to page 231 "Should You Use Behavior Modification?". I found it particularly interesting that they used the example of teachers who shape their students to be quiet and obedient because it makes their job easier, even though these conditions may not always make for the most optimal learning environment. In turn, students may be scared to speak up about an answer, etc. HOW WILL YOU SHAPE YOUR CLASSROOM? WHAT WILL BE YOUR METHOD OF DISCIPLINE FOR YOUR STUDENTS? HOW WILL YOU REWARD THEM? WHAT METHODS DO YOU THINK WOULD BE MOST EFFICIENT AND WHY? (p. 224-225)Improving classroom learning is the major issue in this chapter as well. The chapter mentions "Computer-Assisted Instruction", or (CAI), and how it is incorporated into the classroom and some statistics on its effectiveness (see pg. 225). WHAT CAI MATERIAL MIGHT YOU INCORPORATE INTO YOUR CLASSROOM? (p. 247)Software programs to explore are listed here. (p.234)The ability to motivate is probably one of the most key components of being a good teacher, especially at the secondary grade levels. Motivating your students to learn and be good people is what teaching is all about. As teachers, we need to find ways to keep our students interested in learning. I can remember quite a few teachers throughout my education, thus far, who have made learning feel more like a chore than a joy or interest. Many of my grade school teachers were very motivating, but I can't say the same for too many of my high school teachers. As future teachers, we must find ways to continuously motivate our students. HOW WILL YOU MOTIVATE YOUR STUDENTS? WHAT TYPES OF REINFORCEMENT MIGHT YOU USE IN YOUR CLASSROOM? FOR SECONDARY ED MAJORS---HOW MIGHT YOU USE METHODS OF MOTIVATION IN YOUR SUBJECT AREAS IN PARTICULAR? Just an opinion question here, but WHY DO YOU THINK THERE IS SUCH A DECREASE IN THE "WANT" TO LEARN FROM ELEMENTARY TO HIGH SCHOOL? (p. 234)HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE A STUDENT'S SELF-EFFICACY IN A SUBJECT WHERE HE/SHE STRUGGLES?Suggestion: take a look at the bottom of p. 237 about Applying Behavioral Learning Theory and Social Learning Theory in the Classroom.Write me back!!---Let me know how you feel about some of these issues!Angie SalatinAs

Angie wrote, this chapter is about behavior theories and social learning. The chapter begins with a section on operant conditioning. This theory plays on voluntary responses that are weakened (through desirable consequences) or weakened (through undesirable consequences or being ignored). It is called operant conditioning because the subject is conditioned to operate in response the the environment in order to gain or avoid a consequence. The major experiments in the theory have been done be BF Skinner, in what is called a Skinner Box (there's a picture on 218). When a hungry rat is placed in the box, it will eventually press a bar (the behavior), which gives gives it a pellet of food (the consequence, in this case desirable). The rat will push the bar more frequently, because it knows it will get the pellet. They also experiment with the pellet being replaced with a shock (undesirable consequence), or the rat only getting food for every fifth time the bar is pushed (fixed ratio schedule), and other variations of learning theories.A really important, and sometimes confusing, aspect of this is positive and negative reinforcement. It is important to know that the positive and negative and not indicative of whether the stimulus is 'good' or 'bad'. An example given in the book is grades. The key is that there is a behavior, and then something is added, making it positive reinforcement. In negative reinforcement something is taken away, whether it be taking away something good (recess, desert) or something bad (a lecture, annoying sound). After a while the subject will show o not show the behavior because they know the reinforcement is the follow (ie: Negative Reinforcement: The students knew that if they talked too much in class Mrs. Johnson would take away their recess, so by the third week of school everyone was quite in class. Positive Reinforcement: The students in Mrs Johnson class knew that she would let them out a little early for recess if they were quite in class, so by the third week of school everyone tried to be quite during class.). What reinforcement have worked best in your experiences?Keep in mind the difference between negative reinforcement and punishment. Negative reinforcement increases the behavior, while punishment decreases the behavior. In negative reinforcement a negative stimulus is taken away because the subject has shown the behavior. For example, two students have finished playing, and don't pick up their toys. The teacher bugs them (stimuli) to pick up the toys (behavior). They do, to stop her bugging. Next time they pick up the toys to avoid being bugged; the target behavior of cleaning up the toys have been strengthened.In punishment, two students don't pick up their toys, so the teacher makes them clean up the toys of the rest of the children in addition to their own. Next time, they pick up their toys to avoid having to pick up the other kids' too; the target behavior of not cleaning has been reduced in frequency.Another important aspect is the application of these ideas in our classrooms (page 223). It is really important to keep these ideas in mind. For example we have all had one of those teachers who takes forever to pass back homework. If a paper is assigned and not passed back quickly enough, how can students improve on the next one? This is something that we really need to keep in mind. Students need our timely feedback. How do you plan on applying these principles in your class? Jennifer Wigoda