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Assignment 4.

James Holan

National University

August, 27, 2011

Introduction Destructive contingencies of reinforcement generally happen in most classrooms without the teacher even knowing it. Without even knowing it teachers and schools can contribute to the development of emotional and behavioral disorders. The three most common ways that this happens is when, one, teachers are providing positive reinforcement for inapropriate behaviors. Two, when they fail to provide students with positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior. Third, when educators give negative reinforcement for behavior that allows students to avoid their work. Many times the destrucive contingencies develop because the negative reinforcement may be misunderstood by the student, but in many cases teachers misunderstand how positive and negative reinforcement work hand in hand. Whether it is posisitive or negative, reinforcement is a consequence or a reward that is ment to make the desired behavior happen more often. Behavior seems to be motivated by two consequences at the same time. First, is something we get, and second, is something that we avoid. Everyday we all experience both positive and negative reinforcement and both types play an important role molding our behavior. The poor use of posistive and negative reinforcemnt can lead to two big mistakes.

Misidentification and Malcontingency Misidentification and Malcontingency are the bye factors of poor management of positive and negative reinforcement. The First one we will discuss is Misidentification. Sometimes a teacher may believe that scolding and criticism are negative reinforcers that students will work diligently to avoid. The reality of this is that many of the students may view those reactions as positive reinforcers. Many students will work hard to get reprimanded because they love the attention they receive from the teacher and their peers. Teachers may also struggle to see that academic assignments are negative reinforcers for a student who shows disruptive behavior, the additional academic work can even be the very reason he is being disruptive, to help himself out of the academic work. Whatever behavior allows the student to escape from doing the school work will become the dominate behavior. Essentially the student will misbehave because they know they can get out of the academic work by doing that. Malcontingency is similar, it basically says that the contingencies in a classroom are destructive when they result in either positive or negative reinforcement for undesirable behavior. In essence students learn that, I get a lot of attention when I misbehave, and I get outta my school work.

Hypothetical Situation For my example I am gonna use a 9th grade math class. In miss Millers math class there are many different types of students with diffferent goals. After lectures are completed in her class she generally hands out an in class work sheet that is worth a certain amout of points for that day in class. Miss Miller has made it very clear to the class that when they are finished with there independent work they need to begin on whatever homework they have for the class. It is also made clear that independent work time is silent work time and that there are not to be any distractions in the classroom. As the work session gets goin Rolando begins to talk to the student next to him in a loud and rude

manner that is distracting to the entire classroom. The first time Rolando just kinda laughs it off and begins to act like he is doing his work. Within another two minutes though Rolando is talking to another student that is in his proximity. Again he is warned to stopped talking and to continue his independent work so he may start on his homework afterwards. Again for a moment Rolando acts like he is working on his homework and then puts his headsets in his ears. When miss Miller notices that Rolando is listening to music around the other students she walks up to him and tells him to pack up his stuff and go to the hallway. Rolando packs his stuff up and happily leaves the classroom. In this situation miss Miller has made the situation worse because by excusing Rolando from the class she inadvertently rewarded him for that behavior. Rolando obviously was craving attention, but on top of that he had no interest in completing his independent studies because his reward for finishing that was that he got to do more school work. When miss Miller excuses him from the class now he doesnt have to worry about doing any of the work anymore. Rolando is also rewarded because now that he is not in the classroom anymore he is free to listen to his headsets and goof off.