For example feedback may be used to congratulate

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Unformatted text preview: vides students with knowledge about the results of their behaviors that may not be naturally present in the academic task itself. For example, feedback may be used to congratulate students on a job well done, and to tell them what they did well. An activity reinforcer is a privilege or behavior that has value to a learner, such as extra free time, additional access to the computer, and time to talk with friends. The use of activity reinforcers is based on the Premack Principle (Premack, 1959, 1965). In general, the Premack principle states that people will engage in a less favored activity if it allows them access to a more favored activity. Perhaps you use this in your studying. You might tell yourself that if you read ten more pages, then you can watch a television show. This is how Marion Bellamy uses this with her junior high students. “My junior high kids love to socialize. I tell them that if we work hard and have a good week, we will play games like social studies Jeopardy on Friday, or I may even give them some time to chat. It seems to help keep them on task during the week.” 17 A tangible reinforcer is a valued object that a student can earn. Stickers, toys, school supplies, certificates and ribbons are all potentially examples of tangibles. A tangible reinforcer might be thought of as a prize that students receive for their beha A token is a symbolic reinforcer that can be exchanged for tangibles, activities, and other reinforcers that students value (Cruz & Cullinan, 2001; Higgins, Williams, & McLaughlin, 2001; Martin & Pear, 1996). Classroom point systems provide an example of the use of tokens, because students can exchange the points they earn for free time, toys, or whatever back-up reinforcers are available. We will have more to say about the use of tokens in Chapter 10. Table 2.1 (Appears at the end of the chapter) provides a summary of the different types of reinforcers we have just described. Positive reinforcement strategies have been found by teachers to be useful for a increasing the likelihood of a number of behaviors including on-task behaviors, completion of academic tasks such as homework, and students’ positive social involvement with peers (Moroz & Jones, 2002; Neef, Shade, & Miller, 1994; Sutherland, Wehby, & Copeland, 2000). However, the effective use of positive reinforcement requires consideration of the following guidelines (Chance, 1992; Child, 1997; Lewis & Doorlag, 1987). • Reinforcement should typically occur as soon as possible after the response has occurred. 18 • When feasible, natural reinforcers and social reinforcers should be used in preference to more contrived reinforcers such as tangibles and tokens. From a practical perspective, social and natural reinforcers do not require additional resources or planning to use. Also, under some circumstances, they may be less likely to adversely affect students’ natural interest in learning than are tangibles (Cameron, 2001; Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 2001a). • When a behavior is re...
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