Applications of Operant Conditioning at School - Essay Example

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Applications of Operant Conditioning at School

Operant conditioning can be defined as a type of learning in which voluntary (controllable; non-reflexive) behavior is strengthened if it is reinforced and weakened if it is punished (or not reinforced) 1 . It states that environmental contingencies or the environment's 'reaction' to an individual's behaviour controls that individual's behaviour.
As an Undergraduate he was an English major, then decided to study Psychology in graduate school. Early in his career he believed much of behavior could be studied in a single, controlled environment (created Skinner box - address later). Instead of observing behavior in the natural world, he attempted to study behavior in a closed, controlled unit. This prevents any factors not under study from interfering with the study - as a result, Skinner could truly study behavior and specific factors that influence behavior. During the "cognitive revolution" that swept Psychology (discussed later), Skinner stuck to the position that behavior was not guided by inner force or cognition. This made him a "radical behaviorist". As his theories of Operant Conditioning developed, Skinner became passionate about social issues, such as free will, how they developed, why they developed, how they were propagated, etc. 1
Skinner state that actions that are followed by reinforcing consequences are more likely ...Show more


There is much evidence for the value of "operant conditioning". Many see this approach as balancing the need to teach and achieve academic skills with the need to acquire personal and life skills. Furthermore "operant conditioning" has been found to be effective in including children with disabilities in mainstream classrooms.
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Applications of Operant Conditioning at School essay example
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