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Operant Conditioning

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❶She took a box of candy from her drawer and asked the class if they were interested in eating the candy.

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For instance teachers usually try to reinforce the practice of hard work in studies; with the explanation that it will provide opportunities in later life, but this does not motivate many students to study hard. Real life application of operant conditioning. In testing the effectiveness of the operant conditioning theory, I decided to visit the local kindergarten with the aim of finding out how practical the theory is.

The kindergarten program of activities runs between 8am and 1pm, with a one hour break between 10am and 11am. I had spoken to the head teacher and class teacher about my intended visit and they had no objections about the visit. The only condition I was given was that I should not interrupt the class. I arrived early that morning and sat at the back of the class.

Once the students arrived, I was introduced as a visitor, and the about twenty children were excited. However, the lessons began as normal and the subject of the day was spelling. Initially, the students did not want to answer the questions, either due to lack of concentration or the fact that they were shy due to my presence.

Only two children participated in the class activities. The teacher soon realized that the students were not motivated to participate in class. She took a box of candy from her drawer and asked the class if they were interested in eating the candy. The students soon became very excited and all agreed that they wanted the candy. The teacher promised to give one candy to any student who correctly spells a word.

I suddenly became alert as I recognized this to be a form of operant conditioning. The teacher was using positive reinforcement in a bid to encourage the desired behavior. The positive reinforcement in this case was the candy while the desired outcome was participation in class.

The situation also possessed another characteristic of operant conditioning. This was the fact that behavior is voluntarily chosen by the subjects. The children had the choice of not answering the question if they did not want to, and their choice was solely motivated by the desire to get the candy. In light of these observations, I waited to see the outcome of the strategy.

It did not take long, since soon, the children started fully participating in the class activities. I counted fifteen hands which were raised in an attempt to participate in class. They were literally fighting to answer the questions.

Initially, the children were eager to spell the words, but most of them would end up making mistakes in spelling. However, the teacher still gave them candy and announced that she would give anyone who undertook a piece of candy. Soon all twenty students participated in class and the situation remained the same throughout the lesson.

In subsequent lessons, the children were still enthusiastic about participating in class since the same teacher taught the other lessons. This experienced proved the theory to be practical, and the candy was seen to achieve the desired behavior by students. The teacher used positive reinforcement in a bid to encourage the desired behavior. This resulted in achieving the desired behavior since all students eventually participated in class activities.

It is also important to note that they participated voluntarily and were not forced by anyone to do so. This small experiment proves that the operant conditioning theory works. It is however subject to debate if the theory works just as well in schools for children with special needs. This will be the objective in my future experiment. Hour Activity Hour 1: I analyze their class participation. Only two students participate in class.

Introduction of candy as stimulus. Increase in student participation to 15 students. I discuss my observations with the teacher. I write short notes on the observations. Teacher now gives candy for participation in class. All twenty students now actively participate in class.

Students break for the day. Hour Reinforcement Positive behavior Hour 1: Increase in student participation to 15 students, from previously two. Rise in class participation to twenty students, from previously fifteen. Students actively participate over the entire duration until they break for the day. The dynamics of operant conditioning. Encyclopedia of School Psychology. An Introduction to Theories of Human Development.

The Elements of International English Style: Accessed September 15, Classical conditioning forms associations between stimuli and involves respondent behavior, or the automatic responses to a stimulus. In operant conditioning, organisms associate their own actions with consequences. Action followed by reinforcers increase and those followed by punishers decrease.

It uses operant behavior, or behavior that operates on the environment to produce rewarding or punishing stimuli. Operant conditioning involves operant behavior that actively operates on the environment to produce stimuli. By rewarding responses that are ever closer to the final desired behavior, and ignoring all other responses, researchers can gradually shape complex behaviors. A reinforcer is any event that increases the frequency of a preceding response.

When the desired response is reinforced every time it occurs, continuous reinforcement is involved. More common are partial reinforcement schedules. Fixed-ratio schedules reinforce behavior after a set number of responses; variable-ratio schedules provide reinforcers after an unpredictable number of responses. Fixed-interval schedules feature an equal pause after each reinforcer, and variable-interval schedules reinforce the first response after varying time intervals.

Like reinforcement, punishment is most effective when strong, immediate, and consistent.


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- Classical and Operant Conditioning QUESTION ONE Classical conditioning is a technique of learning that occurs when an unconditional stimulus is paired with a conditional stimulus. The unconditional stimulus is biologically potent, the conditional stimulus is neutral (Kalat, ).

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B.F. Skinner was the first to describe operant conditioning and used the term operant to refer to active behavior that operates upon the environment to generate consequences (Coon & Mitterer, ). Operant Conditioning and Classical Conditioning Operant conditioning is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior.

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Classical and Operant Conditioning Essay Words | 4 Pages. world. Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are both basic forms of learning, they have the word conditioning in common. Conditioning is the acquisition of specific patterns of behavior in the presence of well-defined stimuli. Operant conditioning involves operant behavior that actively operates on the environment to produce stimuli. Skinner’s work elaborated a simple fact that Edward Thorndike called the law of effect: rewarded behavior is likely to recur.