An Example of Operant Conditioning
As a student at USC, one can assume that I’ve always taken schoolwork seriously and may even infer that I partake a considerable degree of enjoyment from it, which is by all means an accurate assumption. However, in my early childhood I was often characterized as unruly, uncooperative and impulsive in nature. At that age I had been more interested in social endeavors more so than anything relating to studying or doing schoolwork. It was always a negative issue when I brought it up in a conversation, and that assumption was reinforced through subsequent agreement amongst my peers. Coupled with negative criticism from my teachers of the purported “attitude” I had in regards to school and my elders, the environment in which I was situated made me all the more indifferent towards academics in general. Instead of studying after school, I would spend most of my time watching TV at home or playing with friends before walking home. At that point in my life my father and mother had been pursuing their careers in bio-medical engineering and audiology respectively, so I did not receive as much encouragement or parental monitoring as many of my friends did: In fact my dad would often leave home for weeks at a time to make presentations in other countries about the advancements in biomedical engineering concerning his specialized field and my mom would come back from work in the early evening. The only immediate source of encouragement came from my grandparents who were living with us at the time. Yet because they could only speak Spanish and knew so little about schools in general, they were unable to really help me out with any problems that I would have.
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One day my parents, after reviewing my report card with another assortment of “unsatisfactory” grades, decided to take two steps to try and encourage me to get better grades. The first was a transfer to a different school, and the second was a little system they set up: For every “A” I received on my next progress report I would receive $15 and for every “B” $5. While I was upset because I would not get to see any of my old friends at the new school, the second part surprised me a little. The fact that the prospective cash out for grabs was an enormous amount for a 7 year made me anticipate all the things I could do with that money. Even so, I soon forgot about it getting into the rhythms of summer vacation. Yet shortly after I began the 5th grade at the new school my parents began to pass on reminders of the cash reward. In addition to that my mom would come home on Wednesdays and Fridays to pick me up from school and help me out with schoolwork. Those two factors aided me with my schoolwork and I met with triumph as I received my first progress report which translated into $40. My parents continued to pay me until the end of the semester and then stopped, yet their praise of how well I was doing and their increased attentiveness to my schooling was enough to keep me motivated through the rest of that school year.
After receiving that initial push from my parents, my motivation concerning school work began to rise. I had discovered that when I put forth a bit of effort, I could easily excel in nearly any subject. The combination of not really knowing anyone too well at that school plus the discovery that I could actually do better than most in a few subject areas kept me really focused on doing well in school. By that point, school became something that I did just for the sake of it like I would have a sport, rather than just something I “had” to do in order to avoid punishment or gain a reward. Associations like that have motivated me to excel academically and have given me the opportunity to be taking courses such as this at a University that I have great respect for.
... . The government provides lots of public schools so parents can afford to send their child to school at low prices. If the government ... them to go to school is close to the budget that the parents have, then it might be better ... is not subsidised is that parents may think twice before allowing their children to go to school. If the costs of allowing ...
Analysis of the Conditioning Experienced
The type of conditioning observed in this case would be Operant Conditioning, because behavior is being modified in response to reinforcements. There are several behaviors being addressed, the problematic ones classified as those that take away from time spent doing anything productive school-wise. We can narrow this down to two specific behaviors: Socializing with fellow schoolmates during and after school and watching TV at home. There are also 2 other main behaviors that occur in low frequency: Doing homework after school and studying/reviewing school materials. I will first examine the socializing behavior. This behavior functions as an inhibitor of the last two behaviors. The social environment is very anti-school, and any behavior that abdicates school will be positively reinforced by this environment. Likewise such an environment facilitates passive avoidance learning, since it decreases the frequency of studying and completing homework. As for the second behavior, watching TV is intrinsically motivated, and since most of the daytime would be spent watching TV, time spent completing homework and studying will decrease. The fact that Those two behaviors are examples of extrinsic motivation, However, the transfer between schools, the reward system, and increase in parental monitoring organized by my parents succeeded in reversing the frequencies of the four primary behaviors.
Because I was in a new school environment, I could not be as socially active as I had been at my old school; I did not know anyone. In effect there is an extinction of the positive reinforcement, which, according to the social-learning approach, is facilitated by the observations of others. The frequency of watching TV also dropped because my mother would pick me up from school two days of the week and cultivate a studious behavior concerning schoolwork. As for doing my homework and studying, those behaviors increase due to positive reinforcement, which is the promise of money in exchange for getting good grades. Money served as a conditioned reinforcer which became reinforcing because of its association with an unconditioned reinforcer, such as food. However I should note that the motivation behind those behaviors is an extrinsic one, and according to the overjustification effect the amount of intrinsic motivation declines which translates to harder work while the reward is in place and conversely to a lower frequency of work when the reward is withdrawn. I must also point that something interesting happened as soon as the material reward was withdrawn and replaced with praise: The act of studying and finalizing my homework then became an intrinsic motivation as my association of it with forced work changed to one of enjoyment, which was reinforced by my success academically.
... I strongly believe students will slack off on their homework and tests,because it just woulden't matter ... altogether.I think report cards are definately needed in schools. School relies on grades.Grades are needed to see ... eventually start slacking more and more off his homework.That will lead to failure in life.Grades ... are not being graded,so why do it.Why study for tests if its not going to make ...
Final Word: Conclusion
From then on I began to observe those who were likewise excelling in academics and began to imitate them. What probably drove me was a strong sense of self-efficacy or my perception that I could perform as successfully as they were. This self-efficacy persists to this day, where I now have a strong need for self-actualization, or the need to achieve my full potential. In recent years I have also learned of both self-reinforcement and self-punishment, and how to associate the motivation behind my academic progress not extrinsically as most people do, but intrinsically, something that I am doing just for the sake of doing it. This way I can derive the most from my college experience.