The learning site observed is a co-ed second grade class. The students are smart and energetic kids, with a few quiet ones thrown in. They come mostly from middle-class families and are of mixed ethnicities. They are still learning the core of education; spelling, writing, reading comprehension, basic geography, and fractions. Their teacher is male and a fresh university graduate; thus, he is younger than most of the faculty members. His youth presents itself in his interaction and communication style.
The teacher is approachable and authoritative at the same time. He is kind, friendlier, and less stiff than other teachers. He also has a more laidback demeanor that is evident in his non-verbal gestures, such as giving high-fives and thumbs up to his students as a way of affirming their answers. His students perceive him as likable and are also more relaxed with him. By their standards, he is seen as more of big brother type rather than a scary teacher. The respect he receives is different, but in no way less than what other teachers get.
At times when the students get too noisy or when kids fight, the teacher lets out his more commanding side to discipline the students. The teacher aims to improve and influence his students’ behavior, such as building up their self-discipline to keep them from chatting with seatmates and increase the attention that they pay to the lessons. To fulfill these, he makes use of some reinforcing and motivating consequences for the children’s actions. According to Skinner, using reinforcements is effective in helping shape or condition one’s reactions to stimuli.
Thus, stimuli are called behavior influencers (Barker, Kreider, Peissig, Sokoloff & Stansfield, 2008) Positive reinforcement increases the desired stimulus while a negative reinforcement removes a negative stimulus. Both encourage one to continue whichever action will lead to one’s benefit and increased comfort (Feist & Feist, 2007). In the case of the second grade class, the most important stimulus is their grades. Having good grades leads to positive stimuli such as teacher’s praises, feelings of pride, and rewards from their parents.
On the other hand, low grades bring about negative stimuli like dissatisfaction with oneself and disappointment from teachers and parents. The second-grade teacher uses public praises as positive reinforcements for kids who do well. By announcing how high one student’s grade is or by putting up the best artwork on the classroom corkboard, he highlights the student’s admirable behavior and quality of schoolwork, thus heartening the student to continue his or her hard work. The teacher uses mostly intangible reward to cheer his students on, as he hopes to motivate his students intrinsically rather than by bribes or physical rewards.
Internal motivation will lead to a continued and better performance. He makes a special exception though for the case of a student with ADHD. He gives external rewards such as bowling games vouchers to this particular student to persuade him to continue his good performance and classroom behavior and continue his improvements. The teacher does not practice much punishment and extinction in the classroom. The harshest punishment he does is calling out a student’s name to get his or her attention back to the lessons. He was allowed to give them detention, especially when the kids get very naughty.
His strength as an instructor and behavior model for the kids lay in the fact that he never had to give detentions because he is able to subdue a conflict before it even starts. He also understands the kids’ need to let go of pent-up energy and allows them to have some energy-releasing activities. The students receive punishment and extinction at home, mostly in the form of added chores for the former and revoked TV and video game privileges for the latter. The second graders are under the teacher’s excellent classroom management. The teacher’s policies are effectively and followed soundly.
The teacher showed a perceptive understanding of when he should be friendly and when he should be authoritative with his students. Further, the behavior and discipline conditioning is enhanced by the good, trusting relationships between the teacher and his students. References Barker, B. , J Kreider, J Peissig, G Sokoloff, & M Stansfield. (2008). Glossary of terms for the experimental analysis of behavior. The University of Iowa. Retrieved February 9, 2009 from http://www. psychology. uiowa. edu/Faculty/Wasserman/Glossary/stimuli. html Feist, J. & Feist, G. J. (2007). Theories of Personality (6th ed). N