Operant Behaviorism (Research Paper Sample)
Formulate a research problem in the field of education to which you will apply a B. F. Skinner's Operant Behaviorism Theory.
State the Purpose of the Study
State the overarching (central) research question to mirror your purpose statement
Formulate specific research questions using theory constructs
Provide a brief overview of Network theory. The overview must have the following information in logical order:
Philosophical, ideological, socioeconomic, or political context that gave rise to the theory
Proponent(s) of theory
logical evolution of the theory (if applicable)
main tenets or constructs of the theory
arguments used by scholars in support of opposition of theory
how the theory has been used as a framework in the literature (review 2 studies not older than 6 years)
how the theory is suitable as a framework for your study
Background to the Research Problem
Cases of indiscipline and negative behavioral tendencies are common in the education spectrum. In the history of the US and UK education systems, justifiable punishment was considered the most appropriate way to counter a student’s character weakness. However, this purpose of punishing students was countered and subsequently rejected while formulating the legal framework allowing students’ punishment. Punishment was only justifiable if it would help discourage actions that would have otherwise led to criminal or civil liabilities if they were left to continue. Even then, the punishment was supposed to be moderate and reasonable. This did not matter whether it was corporal punishment or punishment by detention. In that case, it was assumed that any parent who took their child to school had allowed the school authority to discipline them within the confines of the law.
An extensive body of research exists to show that cases of indiscipline among students in the US are increasing. Students are alleged to have involved themselves in drugs, criminal activities, and other vices. Due to the increasing cases of indiscipline, learning institutions’ safety is becoming a major concern today. Education administrators have tried to identify the different ways to enhance discipline without making students defiant. In their quest for these solutions, they established that some of the measures proposed in corporal punishment are not as effective as thought to be in reducing indiscipline in schools. Towards this end, corporal punishment is deemed appropriate only if it does not violate the students’ rights and does not culminate in corporal punishment’s known negative effects. That notwithstanding, teachers need to understand and embrace alternative behavioral modification techniques.
The importance of discipline in the life and development of an individual cannot be underscored. It is agreeable that children of pre-school age also make mistakes. However, it can be argued that their deviance is superficial and may not ordinarily attract punishment. However, parents and teachers of these children are responsible for ensuring that noted cases of indiscipline are sufficiently addressed. They should particularly explore various disciplining approaches to minimize the chances of deviance from the children. In the US, cases of indiscipline are not uncommon. How parents and teachers dealt with these instances, particularly the use of rewards and punishments to promote positive behavior, is the main focus of this study. Therefore, the current study examines the effectiveness of rewards and punishment in reinforcing positive behavior among pre-school learners in the US.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to establish how effective rewards and punishment are at reinforcing positive behavior and discipline among pre-school learners in the US.
The following specific objectives will guide the study; -
1 To determine the impact of rewards on students’ class attendance
2 To ascertain the extent that punishment influences the students’ respect for school property
3 To determine whether rewards contribute to students’ compliance with school rules
4 To establish the extent that punishment helped correct deviant behaviors among pre-school learners.
The study will be guided by the four research questions listed below.
1 What is the impact of rewards on pre-school learner’s class attendance?
2 How does punishment influence the students’ respect for school property?
3 Do rewards contribute to students’ compliance with school rules?
4 What is the impact of punishment in correcting the deviant behavior of pre-school learners?
The study is anchored on BF Skinner’s operant conditioning theory. Behaviorism and psychology are part of cognitive science. As Skinner was going about with his experiments on behaviorism’s philosophical nature, he deviated to human language. In his work on verbal behavior, Skinner argues that language is a set of behavior that is also capable of being acquired through conditioning. Ideologically, Skinner was interested in developing a dependable and understandable theory. In this respect, his work was about behaviorism, explaining why people behave the way they do. Socioeconomically, Skinner sought to get answers for various behaviors in society. For instance, why do some people become criminals yet others do not. The political foundation of the theory deals with how those in authority behave. In particular, how do they treat the governed? Skinner was interested to know what motivates people to seek political leadership. He discovered that the associated authority and influence were motivating factors for why people seek elective posts. Skinner’s operant theory is also referred to as instrumental conditioning. According to Omomia and Omomia (2014), operant conditioning is a learning approach reinforced through rewards and punishments. Based on his experiments, Skinner concluded that there was a relationship between behaviors and their consequences. He also argued that behavior could not be explained in terms of thoughts and behaviors. Instead, only the observable characteristics of human behavior should be checked. Towards this end, operant behavior can be described as the active behavior that culminates i9n various consequences in a given environment.
Components of Operant Conditioning
One of the components of operant conditioning is a reinforcer. Rafi et al. (2020) describe it as something that strengthens a particular behavior. Towards this end, reinforcers can be positive or negative. Positive reinforcers are the good consequences that are attributed to certain behavior. Usually, something such as a reward or praise must be added to encourage positive behavior. On the other hand, negative reinforcers entail encouraging the student to do something that helps them stop behaviors after being associated with a particular behavior. In this case, the unpleasant thing is removed to encourage the affected person to cease the unfavorable outcome. Therefore, whether it is a positive or negative reinforcer increases the behavior in question. Punishment, the other component of operant conditioning, entails discouraging an individual from continuing with a certain behavior due to its un
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