Training teachers in reinforcement : A teacher-student interaction analysis

Date

1974

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Abstract

Fifty-eight subjects were sampled randomly from a population of 510 teachers participating in the Teacher Development Centers' reinforcement training program located in three elementary schools. Fifty-eight classrooms were involved in the study. Approximately 1,800 students were observed in their classrooms during the study. Observations were made by 15 trained observers for twenty (20) minutes on each of three (3) successive days before and after treatment. Baseline or pre-treatment data were collected three (3) weeks prior to the first 40 hours training, cycle one. Posttreatment data were collected three (3) weeks after the second cycle of 40 additional hours of training. A time lapse of 15 weeks occurred between the first cycle of training and the second training cycle. Total training was 80 hours. The paradigm used to assess teacher-student interactions was a repeated measure one-way analysis of variance time-series design. The variables and units of measure used in the present study were: 1. the person behaving: teacher-student 2. the modality: verbal-physical-gestural 3. the affect of the behavior: approval-disapproval The research hypotheses were supported, and the training was effective in terms of teachers' behavioral changes, but not in terms of students’ behavioral changes. For example, collapsing categories verbal, physical and gestural approval (positive) behaviors by teachers toward students increased significantly from pre-treatment (baseline) observations (a mean of means of 9.07 for three 20 minute time-series periods of observation) to posttreatment observations (a mean of means of 14.07 for three 20 minute time-series periods of observation). Congruently, collapsing categories verbal, physical and gestural disapproval (negative) behaviors by teachers toward students decreased significantly from pre-treatment (baseline) observations (a mean of means of 6.80 for three 20 minute time-series periods of observation) to posttreatment observations (a mean of means of 4.20 three 20 minute time-series periods of observation). Thus, a more positive learning environment was established. Theoretically, a positive environment will facilitate an individual's proacting with his environment. Since the teachers manifested significantly more positive (approving) behaviors and significantly fewer negative (disapproving) behaviors toward students, the students should have been more expressive toward or solicitous of this source of approval: the teachers or the significant others. The students were not more solicitous of the teachers. There were no significant differences between pre-treatment and post-treatment observations of solicitation behaviors by students toward teachers. Thus, if learning occurs through experiences and doing, if learning is a process occurring in an active rather than in a passive being, if teaching is an interaction between teachers and students, we can conclude that teaching and learning were not occurring as measured in this study.

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Keywords

Teacher-student relationships, Reinforcement (Psychology), Teachers--Training of

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