Article

Using Positive Reinforcement With Young Children

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Abstract

Positive reinforcement is a research-based practice essential for supporting young children’s use of appropriate behaviors and skills. The application of positive reinforcement also is consistent with recommendations by national organizations for early childhood and early childhood special education. In this article, we describe eight guidelines for planning, implementing, and evaluating positive reinforcement in early childhood contexts that are based on current research and recommendations of these professional organizations. Examples of the use of guidelines and tools for supporting implementation are provided.

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... A positive reinforcement social network (PRSN) is defined in [3] as a social network which allows users to interact with each other and their environment, receiving a reward based on the type and number of actions performed/tracked through/by the system. Positive reinforcement has been proven helpful in educational settings [10], but the integration in social networks and the effects on teenage students have hardly ever been analyzed. The main objective of this study is to analyze online social interactions on PRSNs in order to find out if it has a positive impact on classroom participation and students' self-perceptions of their own social skills. ...
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... Positive reinforcement is teachers' responses to students' positive behaviors so that students can increase their frequency to perform them. Some earlier studies showed the effectiveness of the application of positive reinforcement in boosting students' positive behavior in the learning process (Sigler & Aamidor, 2005;Uddin et al., 2017;Hardy & McLeod, 2020;Sumiati et al., 2019). The positive reinforcement can be applied in various forms like giving a present, award, or oral and written compliments. ...
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Hang out at a playground, visit a school, or show up at a child's birthday party, and there's one phrase you can count on hearing repeatedly: "Good job!" Even tiny infants are praised for smacking their hands together ("Good clapping!"). Many of us blurt out these judgments of our children to the point that it has become almost a verbal tic. Plenty of books and articles advise us against relying on punishment, from spanking to forcible isolation ("time out"). Occasionally someone will even ask us to rethink the practice of bribing children with stickers or food. But you'll have to look awfully hard to find a discouraging word about what is euphemistically called positive reinforcement. Lest there be any misunderstanding, the point here is not to call into question the importance of supporting and encouraging children, the need to love them and hug them and help them feel good about themselves. Praise, however, is a different story entirely. Here's why.
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The blockbuilding behavior of three preschool girls was analyzed in terms of the forms manifest in any completed block construction, and found to contain few different forms in baseline sessions. Social reinforcement, given contingent on the production of any form not previously constructed within the current session (i.e., every first appearance of any form within a session was reinforced but no subsequent appearances of that form within that session were), increased the number of different forms built per sessions. Social reinforcement, given for all second and later appearances within the session, decreased the number of different forms built per session. Furthermore, it was found that new forms (forms never seen before in the child's total prior sequence of blockbuilding sessions) emerged at higher rates during periods of reinforcement of different forms (first appearances) than during periods of baseline or reinforcement of same forms (second and later appearances).
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[The author] shows that while manipulating people with incentives seems to work in the short run, it is a strategy that ultimately fails and even does lasting harm. Our workplaces and classrooms will continue to decline, he argues, until we begin to question our reliance on a theory of motivation derived from laboratory animals. Drawing from hundreds of studies, Kohn demonstrates that people actually do inferior work when they are enticed with money, grades, or other incentives. What is needed, Kohn explains, is an alternative to both ways of controlling people. The final chapters offer a set of practical strategies for parents, teachers, and managers that move beyond the use of carrots or sticks. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Extrinsic consequences have been criticized on the grounds that they decrease intrinsic motivation or internally initiated behavior. Two popular rationales for this criticism, Lepper's overjustification hypothesis (1981) and Deci's motivational theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985), are reviewed and the criticism is then redefined behaviorally. "Intrinsically controlled" behavior is defined as behavior maintained by response-produced reinforcers, and the question concerning extrinsic consequences is thus restated as follows: When behavior is maintained by response-produced stimuli, does extrinsic reinforcement decrease the reinforcing value of those stimuli? The empirical support for this detrimental effect is summarized briefly, and several possible explanations for the phenomenon are offered. Research results that reflect on the effect's generality and social significance are discussed next, with the conclusion that the effect is transient and not likely to occur at all if extrinsic rewards are reinforcing, noncompetitive, based on reasonable performance standards, and delivered repetitively.
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We review recent research on the presentation, nosology and epidemiology of behavioral and emotional psychiatric disorders in preschool children (children ages 2 through 5 years old), focusing on the five most common groups of childhood psychiatric disorders: attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, oppositional defiant and conduct disorders, anxiety disorders, and depressive disorders. We review the various approaches to classifying behavioral and emotional dysregulation in preschoolers and determining the boundaries between normative variation and clinically significant presentations. While highlighting the limitations of the current DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for identifying preschool psychopathology and reviewing alternative diagnostic approaches, we also present evidence supporting the reliability and validity of developmentally appropriate criteria for diagnosing psychiatric disorders in children as young as two years old. Despite the relative lack of research on preschool psychopathology compared with studies of the epidemiology of psychiatric disorders in older children, the current evidence now shows quite convincingly that the rates of the common child psychiatric disorders and the patterns of comorbidity among them in preschoolers are similar to those seen in later childhood. We review the implications of these conclusions for research on the etiology, nosology, and development of early onset of psychiatric disorders, and for targeted treatment, early intervention and prevention with young children.
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