The damage to intrinsic motivation is more likely to

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Unformatted text preview: e the programs were implemented (Kazdin, 1982). However, transfer of learning has been a major problem for many different approaches to instruction, not just behavioral approaches (Detterman, 1990). The concern that reinforcement systems may damage intrinsic motivation continues to be debated today (Cameron, 2001; Cameron & Pierce, 1994; Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 2001a; Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 2001b; Kohn, 1996). The damage to intrinsic motivation is more likely to occur when reinforcement is offered for compliance or task completion, than when the rewards are more symbolic of students’ efforts and achievements (Cameron & Pierce, 1994; Chance, 1993). For example, it’s typically better to reward students for improving their math skills than for rewarding them just for completing a task like a worksheet. Also, the potential adverse effect on intrinsic motivation tends to be more likely when tangibles are used than when social and natural reinforcers are used appropriately (Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 2001a). The Debate Over Behavioral Instructional Techniques Generally, behavioral instructional methods have been criticized for taking a part-to-whole approach, and for focusing on teacher-directed approaches to instruction. Critics have suggested that that application of behavioral learning theory leads to drill-and-practice of isolated skills, and limited opportunities for 43 students to collaborate, explore, and discover knowledge (Kohn, 1993a). For example, young readers would spend considerable time practicing phonics in isolation with worksheets, rather than practicing these skills in context and with other readers. Although a complete focus on isolated skill learning may be problematic, it is also important to note that some practice of isolated skills is often useful for learners (Harris & Graham, 1996). For example, true discovery may require large amounts of practice with the skills and information necessary for those discoveries (Skinner, 1984). Also, complicated behaviors like problem solving can be taught through behavioral ideas such as cumulative practice and stimulus control (Mayfield & Chase, 2002). Consistent with a theme of this text, we take the perspective that behavioral approaches are useful for some teaching needs and not for others. In later chapters, we will discuss how you might decide when to use behavioral approaches in your classroom. Behavioral Learning Principles One of the themes of this book is that appropriate application of psychological theory improves the quality of teachers’ decisions. Behavioral learning theory provides a number of useful concepts for your classroom decision-making. To help you apply these concepts, we have summarized them in terms of three major learning principles. In later chapters, these principles will be 44 used to organize discussions about the decisions involved in planning lessons, determining how to teach and how to manage classroom behavior. Principle 2.1: Learning is Measurable and Observable. To a beh...
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