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Unformatted text preview: is followed by the removal of a
valued stimulus. For example, a teenager violates his curfew by coming in late,
and the parents take away the use of the car. As a result of losing car privileges,
the student stops coming in late. The loss of car privileges is working as a 23 removal punishment for the behavior of coming in late. In schools, attempts at
removal punishment usually involve taking away student privileges, such as free
time, recess, or the right to participate in extracurricular activities.
Guidelines for the use of punishment. Punishment needs to be used
sparingly and cautiously because of the problems that have been associated with
the use of punishment (Kazdin, 1994; Nuzzolo-Gomez, et al., 2002;
Papatheodorou, 2000; Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991). For example, punishment
can serve as a model of aggression for students, and students’ negative feelings
about punishment can generalize to the person administering the punishment.
Additionally, the effects of punishment tend not to maintain once the punishment
is discontinued, and the effects fail to transfer to other environments where the
same behaviors occur. Finally, punishment typically teaches students what not to
do, but fails to teach them what to do instead. To reduce the possibility of these
issues, follow these guidelines when you decide to use punishment (Walker &
• Provide clear classroom guidelines and rules. Make sure students
know what is expected of them. Clear guidelines help students know
how to behave to avoid punishment. • Be fair and consistent with your punishments. Don’t establish a pattern
of being more or less lenient with certain students. 24 • Administer punishments firmly, but in a calm and almost impersonal
manner. Remember that your goal is to change a behavior, not to
humiliate students. • Try to use techniques that encourage or teach appropriate behavior in
lieu of punishments. For example, if a student is inappropriately
seeking attention, teach the student more acceptable ways to seek
attention, and reinforce her or him for using those alternatives (Fisher
& Thompson, 2000). A Comparison of the Four Consequences
Figure 2.2 (Appears at the end of the chapter) compares the four
behavioral consequences on two key variables: the effect of the consequence on
behavior and the nature of the consequence. As you can see from Figure 2.2,
punishment and reinforcement differ in terms of their effect on behavior.
Reinforcement increases the likelihood that a behavior will continue, while
punishment decreases the likelihood that a behavior will continue. The two types
of reinforcement and the two types of punishment are different in terms of
whether a stimulus is added or removed from the environment as a consequence.
Effect versus Intent
Before leaving the topics of reinforcement and punishment, we want to
emphasize one final point. Very often, we have been programmed to believe that 25 stimuli like praise and extra recess are reinforcers, and that stimuli like
reprimands and loss of recess are punishm...
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- Spring '08