Posts Tagged Broken Window Theory

The Broken Window Theory and Levels of Development

James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling made the Broken Window Theory famous in their 1982 ATLANTIC MONTHLY article:

“The unchecked panhandler is, in effect, the first broken window. Muggers and robbers, whether opportunistic or professional, believe they reduce their chances of being caught or even identified if they operate on streets where potential victims are already intimidated by prevailing conditions. If the neighborhood cannot keep a bothersome panhandler from annoying a passerby, the thief may reason, it is even less likely to call the police to identify a potential mugger or to interfere if the mugging actually takes place.”

By the same reasoning, when a discipline problem is demonstrated in a classroom and if the teacher does not attend … >>>


Behaviorism and the Broken Window Theory

The behaviorist approach is to reinforce desired behavior and ignore undesired behavior on the theory that, because the desired behavior is reinforced, it will be repeated while the undesirable behavior will be extinguished.This may be true in training animals, but when inappropriate behavior is allowed to continue in the classroom and it is ignored, chances are that such behavior will continue. In fact the irresponsible behavior may even become worse because ignoring inappropriate behavior may encourage more of it.

Social scientists, in contrast to behaviorists, have a different approach. It originated form the so-called “broken windows” theory of urban decay. This approach holds that if a single window is left unrepaired in a building, in fairly short order, the … >>>