Posts Tagged behaviorism

Tom Sawyer does what behaviorism, such as PBIS, can never accomplish

Tom Sawyer was a better psychologist than any behaviorist. Behaviorism relies on external approaches to control. In contrast, Tom inspired others to whitewash Aunt Polly’s nine feet high, 30 yards long fence. Here is how he did it—using an approach that behaviorism NEVER considers.

On the Saturday morning Tom was engaged in the project, Ben was on his way to the swimming pool and commented to Tom, “What a shame you have to work on Saturday.”

Tom replied, “This is not work. Work is something you are obliged to do.

Besides, I don’t think there may be one, maybe two in a thousand who can do the work the way Aunt Polly wants it done. She’s not too particular about … >>>


PBIS Another Educational Folly

Behavior Modification or behaviorism in the form of PBIS is widely used in schools and homes.

In fact, this approach of catching kids dong what the teacher wants and then giving rewards to reinforce the behavior is still mandated by state school administrators around the country.

Ask any teacher who has implemented this external approach in the form of PBIS (Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports) to promote responsible behavior and you will hear that, after using this approach for any length of time, it becomes counterproductive. PBIS fails in a number of ways for promoting expected appropriate behavior:

• PBIS is unfair because it is IMPOSSIBLE to reward every student for everything the adult desires.

• Adults are not consistent … >>>


An Exercise of Positivity

Here is a very effective approach for helping in discipline problems and in other situations.

Do this exercise: Smile for 60 seconds straight.

Just sit there and smile. Don’t do anything else.

Do you immediately sense a positive physical feeling inside you the very second you start to smile? Another thing you may notice is that you start thinking of fun times and enjoyable experience you have had. 

It is impossible to feel “down” when you are smiling. If you are still doubting it, just try to get into a sour mood with a big grin on your face. You can’t do it.

The physiology of this is quite extraordinary. It is wired into us. In fact, if you thought … >>>


Problems with Behaviorism

People sometimes ask me if I’m a behaviorist. I’m not.

Behaviorism usually refers to approaches of Pavlov (classical conditioning of stimulus/response) and Skinner (behavior modification by reinforcing behavior AFTER an act occurs).

Behavior modification is popular in schools, especially with special education specialists. Unfortunately, MANY RESEARCH STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THE APPROACH TO BE INEFFECTIVE. However, its staying power is attested to by an increasing number of states mandating that schools use “positive behavior support” that is based on a behavior modification model.

The essence of behavior modification is to REWARD DESIRED BEHAVIOR AND IGNORE UNDESIRED BEHAVIOR. The fact that inappropriate behavior is ignored can send the message that nothing is wrong with the behavior, and so there may be little … >>>


Tom Sawyer vs. Skinner

Tom Sawyer was a much better psychologist than any behaviorist. Why? Because he inspired others to whitewash Aunt Polly’s front fence. He prompted them to feel good about doing the chore, because he showed them how much fun they could be having. He triggered the internal motivation that prompted them to want to whitewash the fence.

Behaviorists believe that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. They rely on external sources to actuate change. They completely neglect the internal, which is a prime reason that neuroscientists do not rely on these approaches for humans.

Unfortunately, a carrot and stick approach—used to train rodents, birds, and animals—is employed in much of education and parenting. Although behaviorism is touted for special education … >>>


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 … >>>


Classical vs Operant Conditioning

Classical conditioning is identified with Pavlov’s dog. It begins with the observation that some things produce natural responses. “Lucky” smells meat and salivates. By pairing an artificial stimulus with a natural one—such as ringing a bell when the steak appears—the dog associates the two. Ring the bell; the dog salivates.

(Pavlov was smart enough not to use a cat; cats, like humans, are too independent.)

Operant conditioning, in contrast to classical conditioning, is concerned with how an action may be controlled by a stimulus that comes AFTER it, rather than before it. When a reward follows a behavior, then that behavior is likely to be repeated. Today, we refer to this psychology as “behaviorism.”

Burros Frederic Skinner (1904-1990), … >>>


PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) Is Doomed to Failure

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) was established by the Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education. The approach is behaviorally based in that it is a classic use of B.F. Skinner’s positive reinforcement of operant conditioning. The program was developed as an alternative to aversive interventions that were used with students with severe disabilities who engaged in extreme forms of self-injury and aggression. The approach rests on the idea that these students need something tangible to change behavior.

PBIS treats the acquisition and use of social-behavioral skills in much the same way we would academic skills. However, academic skills deal with the cognitive domain, whereas behavior has to do with the affective domain—those factors which … >>>