Tag Archive for 'punishment'

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:
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Physical punishment repudiated

Over on 60-Second Science Blog, the news source of Scientific American, Karen Schrock reported that a task force of the American Psychological Association (APA) released a report recommending that caregivers eschew physical punishment. Ms. Schrock noted that at least one member of the task force disagreed with the recommendations, but that most members endorsed it.

Corporal punishment has long been a hotly debated subject, with conflicting study results and opposing ideologies feeding the fire. Now the results of a five-year effort to review the scientific literature are in: a task force appointed by the American Psychological Association concludes that “parents and caregivers should reduce and potentially eliminate their use of any physical punishment as a disciplinary measure.”
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End corporal punishment

In a story headlined “AC/OV spankings on the decline,” Carleta Weyrich of the The People’s Defender (OH, US) reported that spankings were used in two of the seven Ohio Valley School local education agency (LEA). The 11 spankings reported in the past two years represents a decline from previous time periods, according to school officials.

Adams County/Ohio Valley School district held its annual public corporal punishment meeting on Aug. 25 to discuss the use of spanking in its schools. AC/OVSD is one of 17 districts in the state of Ohio to permit its staff to spank students.
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