America Must Teach With Positive Reinforcement

America Must Teach With Positive Reinforcement

The Law of Effect simply states: Behavior is controlled by its consequences.

The following is another demonstration of how Positive Reinforcement can be used to teach astonishing tricks to relatively dumb animals. If  a lowly rat can learn to “play basketball”, think what humanity– through the teaching of its children–can learn!

The overwhelming mass of scientific evidence is that children learn best through positive reinforcement based methods.

The nice thing about using what most people call rewards to teach all animals (humans especially), rather than punishment, is that it leaves people wanting to do the learned behaviors more often, liking the teacher,  enjoying the teaching process, and very happy to learn more.

I thank my colleague Darrel Bostow, Ph.D., sending this wonderful video to me. Please click the following URL for a unique and entertaining educational experience.

More teaching with positive reinforcement  America!  Let’s do it with our children and with ourselves!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.   12/12/09

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2 Responses to “America Must Teach With Positive Reinforcement”

  1. vtmawhinney Says:

    Thanks for your comments Tim. Your thoughts are always welcome. Your credentials are impressive and I know your remarks are spot on.



  2. Dr. Tim Skinner Says:

    I have recently retired after 38 years in public education. I served as a mathematics and Chemistry teacher for 20 years, 10 years as a high school and middle school principal and my last 8 years I was a superintendent of a public school. Since the early 80’s I have worked at reforming education through a variety of initiatives centered around our better understanding of how students learn. Gaining the support of individual teachers and providing them with improved pedagogy was easy. The majority of teachers in schools want to do a good job.

    The biggest obstacle I faced in my career came from the teachers union, the good old AFT-NEA. They thrive on conflict and the protection of members regardless of how incompetent they may be. Maintaining the staus quo, maximizing pay and minimizing teacher effort seem to be their only goals. Openess and honesty on the part of administration and Board is twisted and exploited to further those goals, not to develop a cooperative and supportive school environment. I doubt real change can occur until that influence is blunted.


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