Theories of Behaviour Management

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1 Theories of Behaviour Management Behaviourism Behaviourists believe that what goes on in the mind is essentially a 'black box' - unmeasurable and therefore unknowable. Therefore, Behaviourists focus exclusively on observable s and the causes that trigger these s, the consequence being that by changing causes you can change effects. The two main ways that can be modified are by the uses of classical and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning involves the pairing of stimuli to affect unconscious by reinforcing that is associated with a particular stimulus. The standard example of this is Pavlov's Dog, in which the psychologist Ivan Pavlov conditioned his dog to salivate at the sound of a bell (the bell having been associated with the meat which usually caused this response). Operant conditioning involves the use of reinforcement to modify, and therefore can be differentiated from classical conditioning in that it focuses on conscious rather than unconscious and consequences rather than effects. An example of this might be using reward and punishment to train a dog to sit and stay. As you can appreciate, the uses of operant conditining are far more varied and relavent than classical conditioning in a classroom setting. There are four types of reinforcement that can be used to modify : Positive Reinforcement - something rewarding happens after the Negative Reinforcement - something unpleasant is removed after the Positive Punishment - introduction of a negative stimulus following Negative Punishment - removal of a favourable stimulus following Therefore the role of teachers is to use a mixture of reinforcement and reward to elicit the kinds of s that are more conducive to learning. Positive reinforcement Increases likelihood of Examples: Praise, merit marks, sweets for good contributions to class discussion.

2 Negative reinforcement Increases likelihood of Examples: Removal of threat of detention if a pupil produces past homework. Punishment - produce something unpleasant Decreases likelihood of Examples: Keep a child back during breaktime or give them a detention. Punishment - remove something pleasant Decreases likelihood of Examples: Prevent child from joining in a game at the end of the lesson. Constructivism Constructivism views each learner as a unique learner with unique needs. This complexity is not a vice, but an integral part of the learning process for each person. Teachers are viewed as facilitators, with the learner having primary responsibility for their own learning. This does not mean that teachers have no role in the classroom, but more that students should have an active, rather than a passive, role in learning. Rather than the teacher standing at the front of the classroom imparting their knowledge to students, teachers should be encouraging students to construct their own understanding. Social constructivism encourages the learner to arrive at his or her own version of the truth, influenced by his or her background, culture or embedded worldview. Historical developments and symbol systems, such as language, logic, and mathematical systems, are inherited by the learner as a member of a particular culture and these are learned throughout the learner's life. All of this seems quite individualised, and arguably quite difficult to apply in a classroom environment. However, in constructivism the social nature of learning is also emphasised. Students do not just learn from their teachers, they learn from each other. Also, teachers occupy a unique position in the classroom due to their status and authority. Without the social interaction with other more knowledgeable people, it is impossible for learners to acquire social meaning of important symbol systems and learn how to utilize them. Therefore the emphasis on managing for constructivists is on

3 encouraging motivation. Students who are unmotivated will not learn and can therefore be a disruptive influence in the classroom. This in turn disrrupts the learning environment as a whole and affects the learning of all other students. Motivation comes from within and is linked to feelings of mastery over a subject and the challenge of extending that mastery. This is the feeling that teachers have to try and encourage or create in their pupils. Social constructivist scholars view learning as an active process where learners should learn to discover principles, concepts and facts for themselves. In fact, for the social constructivist, reality is not something that we can discover because it does not pre-exist prior to our social invention of it. Some would argue that reality is constructed by our own activities and that people, together as members of a society, invent the properties of the world. Other Theories A review of theories of learning as applied to the classroom claims that the most successful theoretical perspective is a mixture of affective, social and cognitive theories. Affective theories focus on the learner's relationship with themselves; social on the learner's relationships with other (both teachers and fellow students); and cognitive on the learner's relationship with the curriculum. Therefore the most important indicators of good for learning are engagement (affective), participation (social) and access (cognitive). Affective theories focus on the role of the individual in their own learning. Like the constructivist theory outlined above, motivation is key. Motivation can be improved by making the outcomes of learning meaningful and accesible to pupils. Some 'learning to learn' s are identifiable and can be taught, such as goal-setting. Teachers should focus less on acheivement than on the process that leads to the acheivement, as too much of a focus on performance can be demotivating, particularly to students of lower ability. Problem s that is, disaffection and disruption are explained by reference to positive learning s (i.e. motivation, engagement and participation). In other words, bad is due to the absence of positive learning. Social theories emphasise the interaction between students and teachers and students with themselves and the role that this has on and learning. The interaction between pupils is particularly important for lower-acheiving pupils as they are able to engage with and learn from higher-acheiving pupils. Disruptive behaviuour is seen to stem from the classroom environment being too competetive and performance oriented. Children are competing for the attention of the teacher and for praise. Some pupils are given attention due to bad, some are given attention due to exceptional performance, but the majority miss out. Also, disruptive pupils tend to be (but are not always)

4 lower-attaining students, who have become frustrating with a performanceoriented learning environment which does not reward their effort but is only interested in results. This does not mean that the learning environment should be homogenised; in fact the best reults are achevied by having groups of students of different abilities work together. Cognitive theories emphasise the construction by the learner of their own internal abilities related to particular outcomes. In other words, if the student doesn't believe that they are able to do a piece of work, or behave in a certain way, then they will not do so. Therefore, the role of the teacher is to facilitate a belief in their students that success (however defined) is possible. The teacher is also responsible for ensuring that the work set is of a sufficiently high standard to challenge pupils, but not so high that it seems impossible. The term for this belief in success is 'self-efficacy'. Students with high levels of self-eficacy will be motivated, self-regulating and well-behaved. However, it is important that the work still be challenging, as otherwise the oppostite effect to the one desired may take place - students find the work so easy that they put little or no effort into it and question the validity of the learning process as a whole. Important issues to note with all three theories: Behaviour manifestations do not occur in isolation but are the product of interactive processes between internal and external factors. Behaviour in relation to social interactions can be better understood given a greater knowledge of social, affective and al theories. All learning is rooted in relationships and positive relationships facilitate learning.

5 Schools Matter found that effective teachers typically: created a work-centred environment and moderated pupils noise and movement; often engaged and interacted with the whole class; organised pupils activities throughout the day; had a clear focus on an area of the curriculum for sessions; provided stimulating learning activities that were challenging, with high expectations; used higher-order questioning of pupils; consistently praised pupils for their achievements. THE 4 Rs RIGHTS RULES RESPONSIBILITIES ROUTINES Most pupils are responsive to the 4 Rs of management in terms of: understanding the rights of others to learn; seeing the need for rules; accepting and conforming to class routines; exercising appropriate responsibility for their. Sanctions Provides a framework for success; Builds confidence; Both supportive and corrective; Reduces conflict and tension; Fair and reasonable.

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