When Behavioral Strategies Become Counter-productive to Learning

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I would like to discuss how schools use behaviorist strategies to require students to pay their tuition fees. In fairness to our educational system, I have seen how they have been trying to be more accommodating and humane when it comes to collecting school fees. However, due to the so many negative consequences, the issue on the policies on collecting fees has been a source of controversial discussions for quite a long time now. Below is a table showing how schools use behaviorist approaches to require students to pay their tuition fees.

Skinner’s Operant Conditioning

Behavior   schools would want to reduce Stimulus –   “punishers” Negative   Consequences Response
Delinquency in paying tuition fees 1)Students   who fail to pay their tuition fees are not allowed to take exams (this was the practice in some schools many decades ago. At present,   schools came up with more accommodating options) , or 2) are   called to the office every now and then for cashier’s follow up, or

3) are   marked incomplete, or

4) are   forced to apply for leave of absence

Feeling of   extreme shame or embarrassment;  

Students   with weaker personalities are severely pressured to search for money

Most   students try their best to pay their tuition fees (a positive result).   However, there are some reported negative effects on students. Some 1)drop   the subjects; or 2) some   resort to immoral means to earn money for paying tuition, or

3) worse,   some become desperate enough, give up and take their life

 While behaviorist strategies that produce positive or satisfying consequences improve learning, those that result to negative consequences must be taken into serious consideration. The research studies conducted on dogs proves that their responses can be likened to that of human reactions. Yet, we must not forget the fact that unlike dogs, humans have FEELINGS, SELF-ESTEEM and PRIDE.

As I have said, the positive effects of some behaviorist approaches have been time tested and proven by the so many schools around the world. But, like all the other theories, they also have their limitations. We may improve the effects of behaviorist strategies by supporting it with other theories. For example, before coming up with a behaviorist teaching technique, we may take into consideration Daniel Goleman’s theory on Emotional Intelligence too.

The best approach to the use of behaviorist theory is to consider humans as humans and dogs as dogs. If we have this thinking in mind before we use the behaviorist strategy to learning, then we can be assured to yield more positive results.

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