I have always had a connection with Skinner’s Operant Conditioning theory. Ever since I first read the theory have embedded the basic principals of the theory in the way I manage behavior when at work in my childcare center.
The basics of the theory are good behavior gets positive rewards, such as a hug or high five, and undesirable behavior gets a negative response, missing out on play for a tiny bit. Skinner believes the children will react to the different levels of adult attention resulting in the child making positive or “good” choices.
It made sense to me! A bit of tough love as I call it and I blindly used this theory at work. Although I did see many great results within the children’s behavior there were times where my technique wasn’t effective. One thing I didn’t take into consideration was the child (which is the most important part!). I would forget to factor in the child’s disposition, home life and how their day was going. I felt like I had really let myself and the children down by not analyzing the situation and meeting their needs in an appropriate way. Once I realized why it wasn’t working I was able to be more flexible and attentive to each child’s behavior needs.
Although I still use and apply Skinner’s theory I feel as if I uses it in a more practical and realistic way. I have also began analyzing the theories and teaching techniques I learn through uni and work by using them in real situations in a flexible way and not blindly following what I read because it sounds good on paper. From this I have developed a better appreciation for practical experience and how it shapes, defines or challenges theories and I will continue evaluating and experimenting with different theories in a class environment.