Archive for the 'Ethics' Category

Why not only positives?

Teacher A: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have to use any aversive procedures. Punishment is such a drag.

Teacher B: Yes! I agree. Positive reinforcement is sooo powerful—shaping, schedules, maintenance, and all that. You can do just about everything with it.

Teacher A: Really. I mean, we should make our classes totally positive this year. No negatives. None!

As strongly as I advocate the use of positive strategies in classroom management (“Catch ’em being good!”), I have to acknowlege that there are at least three reasons it is impossible to create behavior management systems that exclusively employ positive reinforcement. Here’s why reasonable folks should resist the superficial appeal of the all-positive or positives-only Chimera.

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No spanking


Look under ‘posters & stickers’

I am pleased to call readers’ (both of you) attention to NoSpank.net. Although much of the advocacy presented there promotes parenting and teaching practices that have limited scientific bases, the organizing feature is a rejection of the use of physical violence as a disciplinary method. I support that effort.

There are at least 40-11 better alternatives, starting with teaching the child or youth what to do. More specifically and technically, here is a list of alternative methods for reducing the chances that a behavior will occur in the future:
Continue reading ‘No spanking’

US Congress hearings follow-up notes

Representatives of Democrats on the US House Education and Labor Committee provided me with a list of resources covering the hearing held 19 May 2009. These hearings were about the use and misuse of seclusion and restraint in managing students’ behavior. Here’re items from that list:

Links to some earlier posts on this topic: “Seclusion and restraint: US hearings coverage” (19 May 2009), “US House to review seclusion and restraint” (here 13 May 2009) and “Seclusion and restraint: NDRN report” (15 January 2009 on Teach Effectively)




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