How to Find Sources of Positive Reinforcement
Using the concept of positive reinforcement in your daily life is an excellent way to motivate children and adults alike. Positive reinforcement occurs naturally every day when we interact with our physical environment and with other people. For example, if you like a new lipstick, you're likely to wear it again. If you want students to stay in class longer and learn more, you should find ways to reward students who engage in learning. However, it is not enough to give praise and acknowledgement for good behavior. You should also be sure to provide opportunities for praise and appreciation.
There are several different methods of scheduling positive reinforcers. Fixed-interval schedules reward the first response after a specified amount of time. These schedules have a high rate of response near the end of the reinforcement interval, while variable-interval schedules work around a fixed-interval duration. Both of these schedules are equally effective for promoting behavior, but one may be more effective for certain training tasks. Regardless of the method you choose, it is important to remember that any behavior that does not have intrinsic reinforcement may be weaker than others.
Different forms of positive reinforcement are used to motivate behaviors, and the two most common are fixed and variable ratio schedules. In the case of a fixed ratio schedule, reinforcement is delivered only after a specific number of responses. This produces high response rates until the reward is delivered, but then there is a pause in behavior. For example, a slot machine may motivate people to keep dropping coins in it, even if they don't win.
Variable interval schedules
Variable interval schedules are more effective than fixed interval schedules. With fixed interval schedules, the response rate is sustained until the reinforcer is delivered, and then there is a pause. In contrast, variable interval schedules require operant responses that increase with time, so that when a child reaches the end of an interval, they receive a higher number of reinforcers. For instance, if a toymaker makes toys in batches of five, he will earn a higher pay check if his restaurant is clean and fast.
In order to teach an animal to perform certain behaviors, it must first be given the chance to achieve the desired outcome. Food can provide a natural reward for hard work, like eating a nutritious meal, or a social reward like an expression of approval. Other methods of positive reinforcement use tangible items, such as pocket money, toys, or snacks. A pigeon is a good example of this phenomenon. Skinner's research demonstrates that food pellets can encourage pigeons to repeat actions.
In many classrooms, students can benefit from identifying the attention sources that fuel problem behaviors. Teaching a disruptive child to stop yelling or standing up during story time might be a productive classroom intervention. The disruptive behavior wasn't the problem, but the student was seeking attention. Rather than trying to reprimand the disruptive behavior, the child may be seeking attention through other behaviors. If you have a child who constantly disrupts your class, consider finding an appropriate behavior for this student to avoid negative consequences.
Ignoring attention-seeking behavior
Ignoring attention-seeking behavior is one of the most effective ways to reinforce desired behaviors. During these periods, children may choose to engage in behaviors that disrupt other people or are annoying to the parents. These behaviors may include hitting, throwing, biting, or other aggressive behaviors. If your child begins to act aggressively, move away from them before they hit someone. Instead of praising the aggressor, focus on the victim. Then, deal with the situation when you feel calm.