PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) Ethical Consequences


Positive Behavioral and Interventions and Supports(PBIS) is the discipline approach that is being mandated by many states. Do you have any thoughts on this approach?

This antiquated and backwards approach is based on the ideas of Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, and B.F. Skinner. Without going into detail explaining the differences, they are “behaviorist” and have the following in common:

1. Behaviorism is naturalistic. This means that the material world is the ultimate reality, and everything can be explained in terms of natural laws. Man has no soul and no mind, only a brain that responds to external stimuli.

2. Behaviorism teaches that man is nothing more than a machine that responds to conditioning. The central tenet of behaviorism is that thoughts, feelings, and intentions (internal processes all), do not determine what we do. Our behavior is the product of our conditioning. We are biological machines and do not consciously act; rather, we react to stimuli.

3. Behaviorism teaches that we are not responsible for our actions. If we are mere machines, without minds or souls, reacting to stimuli and operating on our environment to attain certain ends, then we have no control or choice over ourselves.

4. Behaviorism is manipulative. It seeks not merely to understand human behavior, but to predict and control it. Skinner developed the idea of shaping behavior by using rewards. His approach was also to ignore behavior that he did not want “reinforced.” Therefore, inappropriate behavior was overlooked. Of course in the real world if an inappropriate behavior is ignored, such behavior is naturally reinforced. Simply by the fact of ignoring such behavior, the inference is that the behavior is acceptable.

In summary, the ethical consequences of behaviorism are immensely damaging. Humans are stripped of responsibility, freedom, and dignity. We are reduced to purely biological beings to be “shaped” by those who are able to use the tools of manipulative behaviorism effectively.