I want to make sure that if my lecturer will not be happy then writer will have to make changes and I have attached my previous assignment as writer will get view before starting assignment. According to lecturer only 4th part of assignment literature review should be 2000 word and rest parts should be 500 words. no need to give more emphasis on project objectives and scope. There should be 25-30 references used in assignment and in reference list.
My topic is what are the impacts of reinforcements in schools and how reinforcements could be used successfully in schools of India to stop corporal punishment. It should include both positive and negative reinforcements.
Please feel free to ask if writer could not understand anything.
Impacts of Reinforcements in Schools: A Case for Negative and Positive Reinforcements in Place of Corporal Punishment
Schools are considered as institutions where students gain knowledge and acquire behavior and attitudes with the capacity to not only shape their relationship with society, but also transform the learners into resourceful societal members. According to Dewey (2017), schools play an integral role in impacting physical, emotional and mental well-being of children in addition to safeguarding their healthy future. However, in efforts to cultivate the moral virtues among children, some schools have adopted negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is a technique of teaching behavior that involves removal of negative or unpleasant experience that has a tendency to cause discomfort or harm in response to a specific behavior and also positive reinforcement such as gifts and appreciation to reward students. Notably, a number of countries where physical punishment has been outlawed such as Sweden, Japan, Australia, Canada among others currently embrace both positive and negative reinforcement to modify the behavior of the school going children. Early this year (January 23, 2018), the government of Punjab issued a notification to School Education Department of the province enforcing a complete ban on the physical punishment in all learning institutions. Notably, a similar notification had been issued in 2005. However, a majority of teachers still use corporal punishment in correcting learners in India.
Objectives of the study include:
- To uncover the effects of positive and negative reinforcements.
- To demonstrate that reinforcements work better and are more effective than corporal punishment.
- To establish the relationship between reinforcements and academic achievement.
- To establish the relationship between reinforcements and positive and/or negative behaviors.
- To identify gaps in pertinent literature and point out areas of interest for future research.
- To recommend strategies of implementing various forms of positive and negative reinforcements
The study is guided by the following questions:
- What are the impacts of negative and positive reinforcements in relation to academic performance, discipline, and safety within the school setting?
- To what extent can reinforcements be said to be more effective than corporal punishment?
- How can reinforcements best be implemented within the school setting to achieve optimal outcomes?
For most actors in public education, punitive measures such as corporal punishment are thought to be effective in promoting discipline and realizing better academic performance. However, research has shown that such measures have minimal or no effect in instilling discipline in learners (Carter & Pool, 2012). Many stakeholders are coming to this realization and reinforcements are increasingly being considered as better and more constructive ways of cultivating a culture of discipline, thus ultimately creating better and safer learning environments. This conversation has picked pace in India as in other parts of the world. There is need to investigate the impacts of positive and negative reinforcements and how such can work better in opposition to corporal punishment that has been the norm in many areas. Hence, justification of this study arises out of the fact that implementing reinforcements in schools first demands that contextual effects are comprehended. Besides adding to available literature, this study will in essence be seeking to argue the case for reinforcements over punitive measures like corporal punishment.
Traditional approaches to addressing student disobedience and behavioral disturbances are usually founded on different types of punishment such as corporal punishment, fines, ejection from the classroom, expulsions and suspensions (Garret, 2015). Largely, many schools the world over continue to employ the concept of obedience as the basis of their discipline policies, sometimes emphasizing zero-tolerance in the same regard (Goodman, 2006; Maag, 2012). Using such kind of approaches, for instance the removal of disruptive students, might give a false impression that the school setting is safe. Researchers such as Carter and Pool (2012) demonstrate that severe reprimands and punishment have very minimal impact as far as helping mold students to adopt socially acceptable behavior is concerned. According to Skiba (2014), it has come to the realization of federal, state, and local policy makers that disciplinary approaches based on zero-tolerance may not be so effective in creating healthier learning environments. The case has been to advocate for other approaches considered more constructive, examples being positive and negative reinforcements. The Indian case is only an example of what is happening across the globe.
The Tough and Strict Regime
Schools, as learning settings, have historically been expected to provide conducive environments for learners to acquire values that would be helpful in their journey to becoming productive members of the society (Pohl, 2013). Parsons (2015) points out that the employment of tough and strict approaches to instilling discipline has not only become the norm in most parts of the world, but it is now largely viewed as being part and parcel of the curriculum agenda. This has been prompted in part by the demands of an industrialized world economy whereby schools are expected to be training settings for prospective workers. The demands that factories have placed on learning institutions has led to the promotion of a tough and strict regime in schools. Unfortunately, adopting zero-tolerance policies in the same regard only increases the possibility of learners struggling in school whereby some actually drop out.
While punitive measures such as corporal punishment may enjoy wide social approval and acceptance, research shows that they more often than not fail to achieve the desired outcomes (Skiba & Losen, 2016). Many studies have also demonstrated that such punitive measures as corporal punishment have more negative impacts on learning and discipline, a fact that is not congruent with the notion that corporal punishment yields high discipline standards and a safer school environment (Shah & McNeil, 2013). Actually, it has been shown that schools that practice corporal punishment and other severe punitive measures like expulsions and suspensions have lower discipline standards and academic performances than those that employ other approaches (Skiba et al., 2014). It is also true that students who have experienced corporal punishment have a high probability of repeating their negative behaviors. Skiba and Losen (2016) inform that for these reasons many actors in public education are advocating for alternative approaches (of instilling discipline and achieving safer school environments) away from severe punitive ones like corporal punishment, suspensions, and expulsions.
Positive and Negative Reinforcements Defined
As the first psychologist to coin the term reinforcement, Ivan Pavlov identified unconditioned stimuli as likely enforcers, which would qualify as reinforcement when used in combination with other natural stimuli. According to Labrador (2004), reinforcement can be identified through presentation of rewards. Thus, reinforcers are specific things that when presented increase the likelihood of a certain behavior occurring repeatedly or becoming stronger when certain things or situations are minimized or eliminated. Skinner was the first psychologist to identify negative and positive reinforcers in the reinforcement conversation (Labrador, 2004). Greene and Todd (2015: p.1) give a definition of positive and negative reinforcement as the reinforcement of “a specific behavior by providing a positive reward for that behavior” and the removal of “a negative experience that causes discomfort or harm by performing a specific behavior” respectively. While these definitions are clear, it is important to revisit a confusion that is encountered when trying to conceptualize the two types of reinforcements. In his discussion, Skinner (1953) made reference to both types but illuminated more on positive reinforcement, which he technically referred to as reward. Thus, since then positive reinforcement has been conceptualized as reward and the two terms have for the most part been used interchangeably. Based on understanding that ‘negative’ means that which is disagreeable, it is not uncommon for many people to think that punishment should be the technical word for negative reinforcement. Perhaps Skinner’s definition of a reinforcer could help clear this confusion: He asserted that “When a bit of behavior is followed by a certain kind of consequence, it is more likely to occur again, and a consequence having this effect is called a reinforcer” (Skinner, 1971: p. 27). In the same vein, his implied definition of negative reinforcement vis a vis punishment gains relevance. Evans (1968: p. 183) quotes Skinner as thus: “You can distinguish between punishment, which is making an aversive event contingent upon a response, and negative reinforcement, in which the elimination or removal of an aversive stimulus, conditioned or unconditioned, is reinforcing.” In a word, positive reinforcement is that whereby an agreeable or desired outcome comes after a given reaction, thus making it possible for that specific reaction to occur again in the future. As for negative reinforcement, it entails the removal or elimination of something unpleasant in order to achieve a targeted/desired response.
Impacts of Positive and Negative Reinforcements
On a general note, positive and negative reinforcements have been found to improve social behavior and safety within the school environment. This impact has been directly related to, among other components, better and positive relationships between learners and their teachers, student consciousness of their conduct, and the adoption of disciplinary codes that are student friendly (Robinett, 2012). In this regard, these reinforcements have been found to, in unity, promote better (or more desirable) academic results while also reducing misbehavior and indiscipline (Thompson, 2016). These impacts arise out of the fact that in the context of the current reinforcements, schools become more of community centers where interpersonal relationships are valued even in the pursuit of personal development and other academic goals. According to Robineet (2012) schools where positive strategies (rooted in these reinforcements) are encouraged report decreased cases of indiscipline/misbehavior and significantly improved better academic performance, in opposition to those where punitive approaches like corporal punishment are employed. Skiba and Losen (2016) report this as the case in the Denver Public Schools where cases of expulsion and suspension reduced by almost half following the adoption of programs promoting the use of positive and negative reinforcements.
Indeed, a wide body of literature shows that techniques of modifying behavior as in negative and positive reinforcements are better and more effective as far as realization of discipline is concerned (DiTullio, 2014; Shahzada et al., 2017; Simpson, 2012; Thompson et al, 2012). Structured negative as well as positive reinforcements are helpful in fostering learning since they create conducive and safer school settings where classroom disruptions are minimal. These strategies also help increase the attention and concentration of learners. Exploring the relationship between various reinforcements and the math performance of sixth graders, Greene and Todd (2015) found out that implementing any form of reinforcement (be it neural, negative, or positive) to learners resulted in higher grades. Whereas positive reinforcement was found to yield better academic performance than negative reinforcement, the difference was of no statistical significance as both results were congruent with earlier research that had shown the effects of these reinforcements in general. For instance, investigating the impact of negative reinforcement in the context of substance dependence, Thompson et al. (2012) found out that substance-dependent individuals (SDIs) were greatly motivated (following this reinforcement) during decision-making. Additionally, Boyer (2006) and Hoque (2013) established that positive reinforcement was positively associated with improved academic performance. On his part, Hoque (2013: p.13) found out that reinforcement played “a key role in the condition of operant behavior and acquisition of learning”. Another investigation by Weis and colleagues (2013) revealed that both negative and positive reinforcements impacted subjects positively and equally as far as academic performance was concerned. As it were, this performance was as would be rooted in neural/brain activity. Interestingly, this study did not reveal any difference in the impacts of positive and negative reinforcements, a fact that could perhaps be used as the basis for further research on these impacts since this observation was not congruent with prior research.
In their investigation of the impact of reinforcement (positive and negative) on the academic achievement of secondary school students in Pakistan, Shahzada et al. (2017) found out that positive reinforcement motivated learners to seek education whereas negative reinforcement made some of them uneasy. While these authors suggest that educators can employ different kinds of positive reinforcement and as such avoid negative reinforcement, the latter still emerges as a better alternative to corporal punishment which has been found to be ineffective in cultivating a culture of high discipline in schools. Importantly, the researchers assert that various reinforcers are related and interconnected to each other, implying each play a supportive role in motivating students and ultimately bettering academic performance. The weak correlation they noted between negative reinforcement and academic performance or student motivation is statistically insignificant especially when weighed against corporal punishment; negative reinforcement may have a minimal effect in the same respect but that is elevated over the negative effects of corporal punishment. After all, the findings of this study are, for the most part, in agreement with those of similar studies.
A relatively earlier study by Vincent (1997) of Salem-Teikyo University deserves mention in the current literature review. Vincent (1997) investigated the effect of positive reinforcement on students in juvenile institutions and made interesting inferences that are largely in agreement with pertinent literature. The author, just like Hoque (2013), found out that learners who had been subject to reinforcement showed greater satisfaction and interest in learning and they were more likely to follow teachers’ instructions and school rules in general. Vincent’s work is arguably unique and thus elevated in the current conversation because the researcher went an extra mile to investigate the impact of positive reinforcement on teachers. As if to remotely argue against corporal punishment, the author asserts that the delivery of messages centered on negative consequences and actions (such as corporal punishment) not only creates negative pictures but also arouses negative emotions in teachers. This usually culminates in arguments with learner and the creation of negative relationships, as opposed to calmness and positive relationships when specific positive statements such as verbal praise are delivered. Positive reinforcement makes teachers more confident and gives them a variety of options when dealing with students who may display negative behaviors. As it were, it enables students to be expectant as in look forward to meaningful rewards and exchanges; they then express the desire to be appreciated and recognized for outstanding performance, be it in terms of academic achievement or behavioral display. Additionally, the fact that students’ interest in school (and class) activities enables teachers to develop positive feelings as regards what is going on in the school and classroom in particular. This way, the teacher is able to explore a variety of options with confidence before resorting to corporal punishment whose effectiveness in promoting discipline has been found to be minimal.
Although their study sought to uncover the impact of positive reinforcement on the performance of employees in organizations, Wei and Yazdanifard (2014) did an excellent work to illuminate how reinforcement generally affects individuals. In their article, they detail a study in which they found out that positive reinforcement in form of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards encouraged positive behavior and eliminated or discouraged negative behavior among employees. They list empowerment, encouragement, praise, and salaries and bonuses as some forms of reinforcement that could be used to encourage positive behaviors. In the same manner, some of these, for instance in the context of the token economy, can be applied in the school setting to encourage positive behavior and discourage anti-social or unruly behavior among students, thus boosting discipline.
In summary, this literature review has demonstrated that negative and positive reinforcements generally lead to improved academic performance and discipline. The case to use positive and negative reinforcement as opposed to corporal punishment to promote discipline and safer school environments as well as improved academic performance could not get stronger. However, from this literature review, it appears researchers have focused more on positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement and this realization could act as a point of departure for future research so that more can be understood about negative reinforcement (on its own). Nevertheless, the two (in unity) have many positive effects that need to be taken into account to choose these approaches over corporal punishment.