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new skill. “When I am teaching new reading skills, I like to work with small
groups of children. That way, they get a lot of opportunities to respond
and I can give feedback for each response. While I am doing this, the
other students are practicing previously learned skills. My aid walks
around and helps them as needed.”
Here are some additional ideas to consider when deciding how to use schedules of
reinforcement in your classroom.
• Be careful about accidentally placing misbehavior on an intermittent
reinforcement schedule. Try to be consistent in your use of
reinforcements and punishments. For example, if you laugh
occasionally at misbehavior rather than ignoring it, you may be
placing that behavior on an intermittent schedule. If so, that behavior
will be more resistant to extinction. • If a student works with more than one teacher, make sure to coordinate
your efforts. All teachers should be using the same schedule, and you 30 want to be sure that one teacher is not reinforcing or accepting
behaviors others are not.
Extinction is an important concept for both classical and operant
conditioning. Although there are some differences in how extinction is defined in
classical and operant conditioning, both definitions seem to be connected by a
single principle. That is, if the environmental support for learning is removed, the
learned behavior tends to be eliminated.
In the case of classical conditioning, the connection between the
conditioned and unconditioned stimuli is supporting the learning. Consequently, if
this bond is weakened, then the conditioned response can be extinguished.
Extinction is accomplished, therefore, by presenting the conditioned stimulus
without the unconditioned stimulus (Pavlov, 1927). For example, if the
metronome or bell is sounded without the meat powder, eventually the dog should
stop salivating to the sound of the metronome or bell. In the case of students who
develop discomfort or anxiety about school, we would help them disassociate
school from stimuli that elicit those feelings. This is how Gregory Pantera does
this in high school biology. “I find a lot of my high school students have developed some level of
test anxiety. I try to reduce this by doing reviews, and by allowing
students to be re-assessed if they have trouble. I also use common, 31 every-day examples from their lives on my tests. It’s funny, but some
of these students actually tell me they like my tests.”
In the case of operant conditioning, the environmental support for the
behavior is the reinforcing stimulus. If that reinforcing stimulus is removed from
the environment, then the behavior should extinguish. For example, if a teacher’s
attention to a behavior is the reinforcer for a behavior, then removing the
teacher’s attention should cause the behavior to extinguish.
Extinction procedures have been used successfully for a variety of
behaviors including swearing, tantrums, disruptive classroom behavior, obsessivecompulsive behavior,, and off-task behavior (Carr & Newsom, 1985; Hall,...
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This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014 for the course EPS 324 at N. Arizona.
- Spring '08