Educational Psychology: What are some of the Behaviour Modification Techniques in Classroom Management



10 b iv). Analyze some Behaviour Modification Techniques

Behavior Modification Techniques

There are several methods the teacher could use in classroom management and which could go along way to minimize cases of indiscipline while at the same time they will help to maximize the occurrence of a desirable behavior. These methods are derived from the theories of behavior modification. They follow the principles of learning that we are quite familiar with. They are the following

  1. From classical conditioning eliciting and extinction principles
  2. From operant conditioning; reinforcement
  3. Behavior contracting from Premark’s principle.

1. Classical conditioning

a. Eliciting

Eliciting is the act of expecting and calling upon the pupil to display the desirable behavior. The teacher could call the students by name and ask him to answer a question or to do a certain assignment or pick something on the floor. The most important concept here is giving the pupil the opportunity to do something desirable. When the pupil has displayed the desirable behavior he should be given recognition. He should be told “thank you”, good, well done. The positive response from the teacher will enhance the chances of recurrence of the behavior.

b. Extinction

This refers to the elimination of a response through the withdrawal of reinforcement. The teacher could ignore a behavior that is undesirable sometimes. For example, some attention-seeking pupil who comes to class late so that he can be asked why he is late could be ignored.

    • A student who does things to make the class laugh could be discouraged if the teacher instructs the class not to laugh.
    • Extinction works very well if the teacher accompanies it with the reinforcement of alternative behavior. For example in the above cases, the first pupil is reinforced for showing up for class on time. In the case of the second pupil reinforcing him everytime, he displays seriousness in the classroom interactions.

2. Reinforcement

Reinforcement is the key concept derived from operant conditioning theory. Reinforcement refers to the use of rewards as incentives to induce and strengthen desirable behavior.

        • The teacher should always remember that rewards are useful when they are seen, as potential sources of need satisfaction.
        • Therefore, certain pupils will work for certain rewards. For this reason the teacher should know his pupils well, in order to know what rewards a learner will work for.
        • Secondly rewards must be attainable. If a pupil is attracted to a certain reward but he knows that he has little chance of attaining it he will not work for it.
        • Thirdly the reward-punishment ratio should be right. A pupil must receive more rewards than punishment to the ratio of 5:1. If the ratio falls to 2:1 the pupil can develop neurotic symptoms of inferiority, inadequacy and generalized fear of failure.
        • When the ratio drops further to 1:1 the pupil is likely to develop delinquent behaviors.


Token economy

Tokens are concrete forms of reinforces. They can be in the form of points or poker chips.

        • If a pupil performs a desirable task, he is given tokens. For example, punctuality can earn a pupil two tokens,
        • Turning incomplete homework 5 tokens,
        • Presenting neat work 2 tokens.
        • At the end of the mont, the tokens may be exchanged for something concrete e.g. the pupil can be given permission to do something interesting or something desirable.
        • Tokens can also be taken away if the pupil misbehaves.


3. Behavior contracting

Behavior contracting involves two people: The teacher and the student. These people identify the undesirable behavior as well as the desirability to change it. The behavior to be changed could be,

        • Lateness,
        • Poor grooming,
        • Untidy work,
        • Non-completion of homework,
        • Rudeness or any other undesirable behavior. The teacher and the pupil enter into a contract.
        • The contract details what will happen when the undesirable behavior is changed. That is, what the pupil will stand to gain on one hand and what he stands to suffer or lose if the desirable behavior is not observed.
        • The strength of this method lies in the fact that the pupil is an involved party in the contract. He is cognitively involved in his own behavior change and consequently, when behavior change occurs it becomes durable.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s