Posts Tagged Marshall vs. Skinner

Skinner and Behaviorism vs. Marshall

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

Although behavior modification is popular in schools, the practice is counterproductive for promoting responsibility. The reason is that responsibility requires initiative that emanates from within a person, rather than from some external stimulus.

The essence of behavior modification is to reward desired behavior and ignore undesired behavior. The fact that inappropriate behavior is ignored sends the message that nothing is wrong with inappropriate behavior, and so there is no incentive to stop doing it. Therefore, a major problem with the approach is that when undesired behavior is not addressed, such behavior becomes “reinforced.”

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