According to Albert Einstein, no problem can be solved on the same level of consciousness that a person had when created it (Dam & Siang, 2017). According to this theory, to resolve issues in classroom management, it is necessary to change a general approach to them. One of the fresh ideas was the theory by Burrhus Frederic Skinner that created a new perspective on the question of human behavior. It can be helpful in the process of classroom management since Skinner considered that it is possible to control human behavior by creating specific environmental conditions.
The works by Skinner prove that the impact of the environment forms the behavior of a person. Unlike other psychologists, he stated that behavior is directly caused by surrounding factors. He considered that in order to explain it (and in this way to understand an individual implicitly), one only needs to analyze functional relations between a visual action and its visual consequences (Zav, 2016). The works by Skinner are fundamental for the behavioral study that can help to resolve the problem of class management.
Unlike most of the psychologists, Skinner did not pay attention to the impact of physiological or genetic factors on the behavior of a person. The reason is the opinion that it is not possible to investigate the impact of these conditions on behavior in an experimental way (Zav, 2016). Skinner explained that even sometimes it is possible to show that some aspects of behavior depend on the time of birth, body, or genetic constitution. This fact may have only limited application. It helps to forecast behavior but it is not crucial for an experimental analysis or practical application because this condition cannot be changed after a person has been conceived. Thus, Skinner did not deny the validity of biological and genetic elements of behavior. In fact, he ignored them, as they cannot be changed via a controlled impact. This approach completely corresponds to Einstein’s theory regarding the change of consciousness necessary to resolve a problem (Dam & Siang, 2017). Skinner proved the fact that the behavior of a child at school does not depend on genetics, as it had been considered before (Allday, 2017). In his opinion, it is possible to impact the behavior of a student by changing environmental conditions that will be favorable for the educational process.
Skinner considered that behavior could be determined, forecast and controlled by conditions of the environment. The theorist stated that a person cannot show any freedom of will, since people are complex mechanisms impacted by environmental factors (Zav, 2016). Even though Skinner was not the first scientist who suggested the mechanical approach towards the behavioral study, he was the first to find the logical ending of the idea. According to him, the science of human behavior does not differ from any other science based on facts (Zav, 2016). Behaviorism has the same aim to forecast and control the notion in the study (in this case, the behavior of an individual). Teachers in schools can successfully use the behaviorist approach. Its implementation helps them to forecast the reaction of students towards specific actions, such as punishment, promotion, educative work, and others. The approach is useful when planning the classroom activity as it provides a teacher with the understanding of results of his/her work.
One of the spheres where the behavioral theory can be used is classroom management. When a child gets involved in a new school environment, it is necessary for teachers to create factors that will impact the behavior of children. For example, in the case of a child’s hysterics, them may provide a student with particular attention, reduce educational requirements, and put higher marks than deserved. However, to overcome such behavior, it is possible to create conditions for help and support when a child is still obliged to follow the educational program and receive the objective evaluation of efforts. When the hysterical behavior is ignored and the positive one is supported, the child takes the correct model of behavior and follows it in the future. One more example of correcting behavior is to carry out tests and exams on a regular basis. It provides a student with an understanding of the need for education during the entire semester, but not only when the final exams come. In this case, the one knows that the next test may take place soon, so it is necessary not to make pauses in education.
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To improve classroom behavior, it is not recommended to apply negative factors. According to Skinner, punishment is not an efficient way of behavior control (Zav, 2016). The reason is that due to the hazardous nature, the strategy of punishment may cause negative emotional and social side effects. Fear, anxiety, antisocial actions, and the loss of self-evaluation are only a few of the possible negative outcomes connected with the implementation of this approach. The threat caused by aggressive control may also push students to models of behavior that are even more negative than those for which they have been punished (Wilbertz, Slooten, & Sterzer, 2014). For example, in the case of a teacher who applies punishment towards a student who does not succeed in education, the latter may later behave in a more negative way and even may not to attend classes that will worsen his/her social behavior. Thus, it is clear that the punishment will not bring positive results in the creation of the correct behavior of a child. As it may temporarily suppress negative actions, Skinner states that the behavior followed by the punishment will take place again in the absence of a person, who can carry out the punishment process (Zav, 2016). Punishing a child for insulting other students in school will cause the one to insult people at other place. Instead of punishment, Skinner recommends a positive impact as it does not create side effects and is more suitable for the education of a person (Zav, 2016). Only, in this case, it is possible to have a positive effect on the classroom behavior.
Skinner’s theory supports my approach to classroom management. In my opinion, this theory is beneficial for the latter as it helps to avoid fear in the educative process. In this case, a student is not afraid of bad marks and does not have the feeling of guilt and anxiety when being unable to cope with the educational program. This approach helps to transform the control of the teacher into the self-control of a student (Wilbertz et al., 2014). For the former, it is necessary to create an educative program and a description of actions of each student that need to take place within the process of education and forms of control of results of the study. The educative material in this case should be divided into smaller parts to avoid possible problems with its perception. The level of complexity of each part should be low enough to provide the correctness of the majority of answers. Skinner states that for the organization of a successful educational process, the ratio of mistakes in answers should not be higher than 5% (Allday, 2017). When an answer is incorrect, students should receive adequate assistance. Also, each of them should follow the personal rhythm in perceiving new information. I support Skinner’s idea that punishment cannot be used in the educational process due to numerous side effects that can be caused by it. It is most likely to lead to negative outcomes for classroom management as a student in this case may feel anxiety and may even not attend classes to prevent further punishments.
In conclusion, in Skinner’s theory of behaviorism, the researcher states that it is possible to impact the behavior of a person by creating specific environmental conditions. To improve student’s behavior, the theorist does not recommend to implement punishment. Skinner states that negative behavior patterns will take place again when the threat of punishment disappears. In his opinion, the best way to affect the behavior of people is the promotion of positive behavior that does not have negative side effects. I consider that Skinner’s theory is useful in the educational process as it helps to create an educational program that is convenient for each student. An individual in this case will obtain an opportunity to perceive new information by small parts and receive explanations regarding questions that are more complex for perception. Skinner’s theory supports my approach towards education as it divides the process into simple steps that help students feel more confident in the class and to transform teacher’s control into students’ self-control.