By Tara Chand and Ravi Prakash
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Skinner is convinced that operant conditioning, so fruitful when applied to animal training, promises equal success when used in schools. He feels that the most efficient control of human learning requires instrumental aid. He is appalled at the present inefficient practices in schools and recommends a procedure whereby they can be corrected. He recognizes the first task of teachers to be to shape proper responses, to get children to pronounce and write responses properly. But he sees their principal task as bringing proper behaviour under many sorts of stimulus control.
A child behaves in a certain way and the behaviour is reinforced by its immediate consequences. Reinforcement may follow from a child's excelling others. However, when he is competitively "rewarded," the reinforcement of this child is, of necessity, aversive—"punishing"—to others. The good will and affection of the teacher also may be reinforcing. A positive "reward" or "consequence" (stimulus) strengthens the behaviour that is part of the contingency including that stimulus; it supposedly has nothing to do with organismic purpose.
Establish the large and important repertoire of verbal relationships encountered in science and logic. Skinner thinks it is of critical importance for us to realize that, in operant behaviourism, thought is not some mysterious process which is the cause of behaviour, but the behaviour itself. Man thinking is man behaving, and human thought is operant, not reflexive, behaviour. " Skinner observes that study of what traditionally has been called the human mind is more appropriately a study of concepts and methods which have emerged from an analysis of behaviour.
Advanced Education Psychology by Tara Chand and Ravi Prakash