Contemporary Debate - Conditioning Techniques on Children (Ethical, Social…
Contemporary Debate - Conditioning Techniques on Children
Techniques are Appropriate
Super nanny Jo Frost has used operant conditioning at home in order to correct inappropriate behavior from children
When a child is naughty, the parent may shout. despite this being unpleasant attention it is positively reinforcing the inappropriate behaviour.
Super nanny uses techniques such as the naughty step to resist any kind of reinforcement and then when the child behaves well then the parents make a fuss (positively reinforcing the appropriate behaviour)
Gill asked parents to encourage chore completion by the payment of pocket money (positive reinforcement) or the postponement of pocket money (punishment). lead to children performing 20% of the household chores.
Gold stars and merits are an example of operant conditioning by rewarding good behaviour (positively reinforcing).
McAllister found that increased use of 'teacher praise' and 'teacher disapproval' led to a decrease in inappropriate talking when compared to a control group where there was no difference.
Classical conditioning has also been used to improve students performance. If teacher maximise pleasant stimuli (attractive displays, nice smells and laughter) and minimise unpleasant stimuli (shouting and negative comments) the students will associate positively with the work environment and will want to perform better.
Vulnerable Groups of Children
applied behaviour analysis (ABA) has been developed to increase the frequency and quality of interactions for children with autistic spectrum disorder.
'Funhaler' - an inhaler for children which is fun to use for children with asthma which reinforces using it. after two weeks parents reported that children had fewer problems when medicating and had a more positive response to treatment.
Techniques are not Appropriate
Morris (2014) claims that the naughty step can have long term emotional effects on the child. children don't reflect on behaviour, also can't verbalise how they feel about the naughty step experience.Without empathy and help with their feelings, may have a negative effect on development.
Parents may lack consistency when applying such techniques as the naughty step, they may slip up and demonstrate frustration therefore the techniques are less likely to be as effective as promised.
Also by rewarding household chores with pocket money may be creating a generation who is only motivated by money.
Conditioning techniques may be harmful to a child's development and interfere with a child's internal drives to learn.
Nursery children where asked to draw nice pictures and when children were promised a reward they spent half as much time drawing than children who were not promised. This suggests that their own motivation had been destroyed by the expectation of extrinsic rewards.
'learned helplessness' - children who were praised for doing good work on a maths test did worse on a later, more difficult test than those who had been told they were lazy. the second group had learned task persistence whereas the praised group gave up easily.
in japan reward systems/praise rarely used yet children seemed to be internally motivated.
Vulnerable Groups of Children
research supporting the effectiveness ABA included many flaws with the method such as not using a random sample when it came to allocating participants into experimental and control groups.
as the funhaler only treats the symptoms of asthma, once the reinforcement is removed the undesirable behaviours may re-emerge.
Ethical, Social and Economical
Vulnerable children benefit from conditioning techniques as it may allow them to feel more accepted part of society and allow the to participate as fully as possible with rewarding employment.
However rewards may lead to a society only motivated by extrinsic factors.
programme in USA children were offered financial incentives to improve resulting in modest gains in performance. - benefits society as school leavers would be better educated.
incentive programmes may not always offer the best return in investment. Raises ethical concern whether it is right to pay or reward students for performance or is money better spent elsewhere.