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Unformatted text preview: ows students to avoid a requirement or to
take a break from an unpleasant task (Boyajian, et al. 2001; Kitfield & Masalsky,
2000; McComas, Goddard, & Hoch, 2002). Consider these two examples (Rose,
• Any students who get an A on a test or have turned in a specific
number of homework papers get their name placed in a jar. Shortly 21 before a spelling test, a name is drawn. That person gets to skip the
• If students meet an important achievement goal such as significantly
improving their math test scores, they can get a “Skip Homework
Pass” that allows them to skip one daily practice assignment. The
passes are used sparingly and cannot be used for a major project. Of the two forms of reinforcement, negative reinforcement is the one that
is commonly misunderstood. To help complete your understanding, we have
provided a discussion of some of the more common misconceptions about
negative reinforcement in Enriching Your Understanding 2.2.
Presentation punishment. Presentation punishment is when a behavior
becomes less likely to occur because that behavior is followed by the presentation
of an aversive or unpleasant stimulus. For example, a child misbehaves in public,
and the parent reprimands the child. As a result of the reprimand, the child stops
acting-up. The reprimand is serving as a presentation punishment for the actingup behavior, because it is presented after the misbehavior and has the effect of
stopping the misbehavior. From a behavioral perspective the reprimand is
assumed to be aversive to the child because it decreased the likelihood of the
Teachers’ most frequent attempts at presentation punishment involve
verbal reprimands or scoldings. Reprimands are expressions of disappointment 22 (Harlan, 1996). They tend to more effective when they are administered in
conjunction with clear nonverbal signals that the student is in trouble, and when
they are administered in close physical proximity to the student (Alberto &
Troutman, 1999). Scolding a student from across the room makes the interaction
more public, and can increase the likelihood that students will continue to
misbehave because they don’t want to lose face.
When using reprimands, be careful of the criticism trap (Harlan, 1996).
When you reprimand a student, the misbehavior is likely to stop at least in the
short run. Because of this immediate effect on students’ behavior, your use of
reprimands may be positively reinforced. As a result, you may find yourself using
reprimands more frequently, and you may slip into a pattern of interacting
negatively with students.
Finally, remember that teachers are only one possible source of
presentation punishment in a classroom. Peers may also decrease the likelihood of
certain behaviors by the aversives that they employ. For example, if peers ridicule
students for participating in class, those students may stop participating.
Removal punishment. Removal punishment is when a behavior
becomes less likely to occur because the behavior...
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This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014 for the course EPS 324 at N. Arizona.
- Spring '08