Behavior Modification: Everything You Need to Know
This refers to the process of altering patterns of human behavior over the long term by using different motivational techniques. The final goal is to substitute problematic, objectionable, or disagreeable behaviors with more desirable and positive behaviors.
Behavioral modification is a classroom management technique that can be approached from one of four reinforcement/punishment types:
1. Positive reinforcement: Here, a student receives extra credit when he/she answers a question thoughtfully or otherwise, behaves appropriately.
2. Positive punishment: A good example of what happens here is setting up a meeting between the student and the school principal.
3. Negative reinforcement: The negative reinforcement approach results in the misbehaving student’s name being excluded from the list of students who can participate in class sessions by answering questions.
4. Negative punishment: This results in a decrement in free time for the misbehaving student.
For successful behavior modification, consistency is the key. Teachers can praise their students for doing their class works on time or answering questions correctly. They can continue praising the students every time they do their chores until it becomes a habit. Then, they can phase out their praise slowly over time.
For effective behavioral modification, positive reinforcement has been discovered to be the most viable approach. Punishments, on the other hand, don’t work as effectively. This is perhaps because instructors are better positioned to provide constructive encouragement to the students, as opposed to only criticizing their actions.
When using negative consequences for behavioral modification, it’s important to ensure they’re consistent. If a student only gets sent out of class once every five times he hits someone, the consequences won’t be effective. Instead, he needs to be sent out of class every time he hits someone, thus making him realize what he has done is unwanted behavior.
Behavior modification works best when adults work together as a team. Thus, if teachers, along with parents and other caregivers, use the same techniques, a student’s behavior is likely to change even faster. However, behavior modification should be customized to the specific needs of a group of students. That’s because the strategies that work well for a group might not work with another group. It’s also important to realize that classrooms are varied, and what worked in one classroom setting may have limited effectiveness in another classroom with a different group of students. As such, teachers should consider their classroom structure and what their students specifically need before choosing the most appropriate model.