What is Positive Reinforcement?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by cutNglue, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Nov 9, 2012

    Discuss.

    What is positive reinforcement? What does it mean to you? How do you implement it in your classroom? What methods work best for you?

    (No, I'm not a student. You know me!)
     
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  3. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Nov 9, 2012

    Reinforcement - a behavior is followed by a stimulus that increases the future likelihood of that behavior.

    Positive - a stimulus is added (not taken away).

    Positive Reinforcement - the addition of a stimulus after a behavior increases the future likelihood of the behavior.

    Positive reinforcement always works. If it doesn't work, the stimulus is probably not a reinforcer, or there are uncontrolled stimuli in the environment.

    I get really angry when I hear someone say, "Positive reinforcement doesn't work." Um, no, you're doing it wrong.

    Just because we THINK something should be a reinforcer (e.g. praise, sticker, candy), it can't be called a reinforcer until we know the future rate of the behavior.

    Short on time this morning, so I can't answer your other questions.

    (My Masters degree is in behavioral psych, btw :)).
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    In my class: For being on task on groups students earn group points. At the end of the week we count points. Groups with 20 or more points (most end with 40-50, so a very doable goal) may participate in free-time Friday.

    Individual behavior: Good behavior allows student to stay on green and at the end of the day they get a punch in their punch hole. If on green or higher, they may sit anywhere in class to work during working time (not listening time). If they move up to blue for SUPERB behavior, they get two punches. Once their card is all punched they redeem it for a prize.

    If the whole class ends the day on green or higher they get a marble in the marble jar.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree with ku.

    I'm exhausted after a very challenging couple of weeks and want for formulate something that makes sense. In short, though, I think that we often forget about the immense power of a simple, "You made a really good decision just now."
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 9, 2012

    PBIS is based on positive reinforcement and direct teaching of behavior. This is the philosophy we use in my school.

    We implement it in our school by handing out tickets for good behavior. We praise students for good behavior. And then we have rewards for good behavior (these are assemblies once a grading period, weekly and monthly drawings of prizes, and weekly classroom ticket winners who get a small trinket from the principal).
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm not knocking physical reinforcers but does anyone sometimes feel like some get wholly elaborate on those and forget the power of our words, our body language and even our tone? How we interact, talk to students, and give specific verbal praises can go a long way.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Still working on putting some coherent thoughts together, but I agree, cut. For some of our students, the "reward" at the end is just too far away to grasp. Our words and attention can provide immediate reinforcement.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Nov 9, 2012

    cut---very true!
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    It is quite possible that everything you list above are in fact reinforcers for our students.
     
  11. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I don't have any "program" of reinforcement in my classroom.

    My students display appropriate behavior for a lot of reasons: my expectations, their personal expectations, praise, attention, feedback, discussions, laughter, engagement ...
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Speaking of power of words. Words can be very powerful, and I forget about it often.

    These 2 weeks I'm in an alcohol / drug rehab school, with high school boys and girls. I do not understand why I hear so much profanity, from boys and from girls, I'm actually shocked. Those F words just fly out of these young ladies/men at any given moment, like they're nothing. As a person, and of course as an educator I'm very sensitive to that (as I say, I'm allergic), and every time I hear one, I flinch.
    I suspect it has a lot to do with staff expectation. Not necessarily teachers, but the counselors / staff are with student 24/7 and if they let them talk like that, teachers can make only co much impact in 6 hours.

    So 2 days ago when I heard it, I said to this young lady: "Oh my God, just look at that beautiful face!! and then look at those words coming out of it! That is just so shocking". she paused for a second, I'm sure she was surprised that someone called her beautiful. Then everyone looked at me for clarification (boys and girls) and explained to them that it is so strange fro me to hear those type of words coming from such beautiful and handsome students. Some of them actually asked me: you think we're beautiful?

    After that, every time a word would fly out, I would still say, 'again, that beautiful face! that just ruins it...". there was a significant decrease in these words, and every time there was one, now they would stop and think, especially the ladies.
    It wasn't as effective with the guys, but it still made a difference.
     
  13. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I once watched a classroom that used what I decided to term, "friend language." It was a lower elementary class. Then later I ran across an entire elementary school that adopted this language. (I was observing an ED program that was within the setting of a regular elementary school). Basically the idea was to create a sense of community through the power of words. "Carrie, can you help your friend Shane with..." "Hello friends, say hi to our friend Mrs. Crane (guest or professional). Our friend is here to observe all the nice things we do in class. Let's welcome our friend." "Did you hear our friend Greg? He made an excellent connection there! Greg, please repeat what you said so our friends can hear what you said." The adults even said it to parents. "Thank you for coming. If you will excuse me, I have a friend that needs my help."

    Those observations really got me thinking about the power of words in building classroom community and the power of words to reinforce what we want to see. While the redundancy of the terms may be a bit much in the older grades, I think the more positive we praise students and the more specific we are (not your generic overdone "good job"), the more they want to do those things again.

    Then recently I saw a classroom where there were all kinds of tangible reinforcers but the language was not there. I do not mean specifically friend language but general and specific praise. There were some differences.

    Are tangible reinforcers necessary? If so, when? When do you select these and why? Are they backed up with verbal reinforcers? If so when and how?

    (I've used both, but I'm just interested in discussing this on a more reflective level).
     
  14. Roobunny

    Roobunny Comrade

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    Nov 12, 2012

    I use "friends" ALL the time in my class.

    Although I use a ticket system, a clip chart (where students can move both down AND up), and "warm fuzzies" (pom-poms in a jar for a whole class reward) I use TONS of positive verbal language.

    During spelling word sorts I often tell students "good thinking" or "I am glad you noticed that these words have _____ in common and those words do not."

    If a student answers something correctly or uses good problem-solving skills I often tell him/her "kiss your brain!" I've also been known to tell my students to "pat themselves on the back for a job well done."

    I call attention to students doing something correctly. "Wow! I love how such-and-such is holding her scissors so safely while she walks to the trashcan" or "I think it is so responsible of so-and-so to clean up the mess he made!"

    If a student receives a 100% on an AR quiz, they are allowed to push my Staples "Easy" button. When I hear the recorded voice say, "that was easy" I burst into applause, smile, and say "great job! Congratulations!" I've noticed so many of the other students are now congratulating and applauding too when they hear that one of their peers received a 100%

    We recently did a storybook pumpkin project and I was totally blown away by many of the results. I told my students how "impressed" I was and that I could tell that they put a lot of time and effort into the assignment."

    If my students do something for me (organizing my classroom library for example) I thank them and tell them I appreciate their help.


    On another note, I am HUGE on respect. It's one of my three rules and I constantly drill it into my classes. I try to also be very aware of how I treat my students, and that I am treating THEM with respect. If a student volunteers to share his or her writing, I ask if I can sit in their chair while they share their piece at the front of the room. I never take anything out of their desk without asking. I ask if I can share something of theirs with the class before doing so...

    Just the other day, I left their homework I had been grading outside of the library while we were shopping at the Book Fair. On our way back to the classroom a student informed me what I had done. I felt awful! I am also always onto them about being responsible and what I had done was definitely not responsible...I asked the class what my punishment should be and after a few silly suggestions, one student said I should write an apology letter, which I did that evening and read it aloud to them the very next morning.

    Anyway...it makes me happy to know that I feel like in a given day, I say more positive things to my students than negative.
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I will say I think that positive reinforcement language looks different at the elementary level compared to the high school level. From a few other threads that are currently going, I also gather that some of it is not as recognized as the overly dramatic form of praise but is still effective and worth considering in our overall plan.
     
  16. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    We have PBIS at our school as well, however, I don't feel it is implemented correctly. One example is that we have "tiger bucks" that are given out for positive behaviors (be responsible, respectful, resourceful, safe) (often as bribes for "challenging" kids), and "tickets" that are given out kind of like traffic tickets (for running on the breezeway, talking in the cafeteria, etc.). As a 1st grade teacher, I am the "banker" for my kiddos' bucks. Unfortunately, this year, the "tiger store" has opened exactly once, and then the kids were limited to spending 5 bucks. If something like sock hops, movies, popcorn, etc., were offered in addition to the once-per-9-weeks "tiger store," it might be a reinforcer, but my kiddos forget about them! The bucks are meaningless, because they never have the opportunity to use them.
     
  17. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 13, 2012

    :yeahthat:
     

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