The Behavior Is A Learned Habit

988 WordsMar 24, 20174 Pages
Have you ever heard a young child say something way beyond their age, or, watched a child preform an action—good or bad—that is far too advanced for them to be doing at their age? Have you ever stopped to wonder why? Children are like sponges, absorbing everything around them whether it is positive or negative. According to American behaviorist, B.F. Skinner, “all behavior is a learned habit”. As an aspiring teacher and (someday!) mother, that statement can be scary because I know none of my behaviors are golden. Fortunately, Skinner created an operant conditioning chart (also known as the “Skinner Box”) which consists of three consequences: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and punishment. Biographical Background of B. F.…show more content…
After having children, accepting a new job in Indiana, returning to Harvard, and all the while watching his children grow, Skinner’s focus shifted from studying the behavior of animals to studying the behavior of children. This shift is important in the field of education, having created what we know as “classroom management,” where a teacher either rewards or punishes the student(s) for their behavior. Skinner’s belief behind his idea was that “positive [and negative] reinforcement was a great tool for shaping behavior”. In 1989, Skinner was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away the following year at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Today, his work lives on thanks to his daughter, Julie, who is head of the B.F. Skinner Foundation ( Editors, 2016). Key Points of Behaviorism Skinner and his work are monumental to the field of education. Skinner’s entire theory is based off of the fact that behaviors are learned, and in order to learn an acceptable behavior, a consequence must be given as a way of praising the behavior, or condemning it. In Skinner’s book, About Behaviorism (1974), he says: “we cannot anticipate what a person will do by looking directly at his feelings or his nervous system, nor can we change his behavior by changing his mind or his brain”. Just as others cannot see how I feel, which drives my behavior, I cannot see how they feel, which will drive their behavior. This is why Skinner’s operant
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