LoginDiscussion Boards | Comments Stream
Login to use bookmarks

Is Skinner Out of the Box and in the Classroom?

Browse recordings: livestream.com/educon14

Session One: Saturday 10:00am–11:30am
Room 313
M. Meghan Raisch
Affiliation: Temple University
Conversation Description:

With student behavior problems on the rise, educators are resorting to the practices of the late B.F. Skinner. The question is: are we admittedly using his techniques? As the achievement gap widens, regular education curricular initiatives are reverting to Corrective Reading and Math Programs premised upon task simplification, signal cues, point systems, choral reading, and the rote memorization of facts. Despite the critics claim that these are archaic unsuccessful means, students once struggling with phonics and computation are finally learning. Across special education settings, behavior management plans are written and based upon the rules of operant conditioning. From token economies to time-outs, and whether we support it or not, Skinners reinforcement and punishment are addressing the behavior needs of this population. Likewise, administrators are seeking alternatives to their reactive discipline policies and looking towards school wide positive behavior supports. These plans use incentives and consequences, merely Skinnerian concepts disguised with much safer words. And like pigeons to a pellet, students are buying into these systems. In other words, one can find Skinnerian practices at large despite our reluctance to use his terminology.

Conversational Practice:
We will discuss why the hesitation to embrace Skinners theory remains. We will attempt to demonstrate how current classroom practices mirror his principles of learning through examples of academic and behavioral Skinner-ian based techniques.


No comments have been posted yet.