View Full Version : consequence/reward fails; new model proposed


peripatetic
08-21-15, 12:52 PM
i found this article fascinating (it's linked at the bottom). i thought about putting it in parenting, but i think the applications are wider and the article itself focuses on children in schools, psychiatric care, and detention. it proposes a new model of discipline (collaborative and proactive solutions) to replace the incentive/punishment one. he argues that the model of incentive/punishment looks at behavior without considering motivation or ability to control behavior. "challenging" students become habituated to punishment by only having their behavior corrected and they don't develop a number of crucial skills and are increasingly marginalized. instead, we should be focusing on problem solving and teaching children HOW to better control behavior by talking to them and identifying what the concerns are and helping them learn to problem solve.

it makes so much sense and i think is something a lot of adults could use. how much more productive/constructive would a lot of our interactions with others be...


anyway, i've pulled out a few quotations, but i would strongly encourage reading the whole article.

the problem (all bolding mine):
How we deal with the most challenging kids remains rooted in B.F. Skinner's mid-20th-century philosophy that human behavior is determined by consequences and bad behavior must be punished.

But consequences have consequences. Contemporary psychological studies suggest that, far from resolving children's behavior problems, these standard disciplinary methods often exacerbate them. They sacrifice long-term goals (student behavior improving for good) for short-term gain—momentary peace in the classroom.


Teachers who aim to control students' behavior—rather than helping them control it themselves—undermine the very elements that are essential for motivation: autonomy, a sense of competence, and a capacity to relate to others.

Which begs the question: Does it make sense to impose the harshest treatments on the most challenging kids? And are we treating chronically misbehaving children as though they don't want to behave, when in many cases they simply can't?


"We know if we keep doing what isn't working for those kids, we lose them… Anyone who works with kids who are behaviorally challenging knows these kids: They've habituated to punishment."

If Greene's approach is correct, then the educators who continue to argue over the appropriate balance of incentives and consequences may be debating the wrong thing entirely. After all, what good does it do to punish a child who literally hasn't yet acquired the brain functions required to control his behavior?

solution (all bolding mine):
The CPS method hinges on training school (or prison or psych clinic) staff to nurture strong relationships—especially with the most disruptive kids—and to give kids a central role in solving their own problems. For instance, a teacher might see a challenging child dawdling on a worksheet and assume he's being defiant, when in fact the kid is just hungry. A snack solves the problem. Before CPS, "we spent a lot of time trying to diagnose children by talking to each other," D'Aran says. "Now we're talking to the child and really believing the child when they say what the problems are."

...

Greene was trained in behavior modification techniques—a.k.a. the Skinner method—as are most people who work with families and children. But in his early clinical work as a Virginia Tech graduate student, he began to question the approach. He'd get parents to use consequences and rewards, but the families kept struggling mightily with the basics—from dressing to chores and bedtimes. To Greene, it felt like he was treating the symptoms while ignoring the disease.

Around the same time, he learned about new brain research by neuroscientists who were looking at brain functions with powerful fMRI machines. They found that the prefrontal cortex of our brains was instrumental in managing what is called executive function—our capacity to control impulses, prioritize tasks, and organize plans. Other research suggested that the prefrontal cortexes of aggressive children actually hadn't developed, or were developing more slowly, so that they simply did not yet have brains capable of helping them regulate their behavior.

But brains are changeable. Learning and repeated experiences can actually alter the physical structure of the brain, creating new neuronal pathways. Nobel laureate Eric Kandel found that memory may be stored in the synapses of our nervous system. He won the Nobel Prize in 2000 for studying the Aplysia, a very simple sea slug, and discovering that when it "learned" something, like fear, it created new neurons.

The implications of this new wave of science for teachers are profound: Children can actually reshape their brains when they learn and practice skills. What's more, Dweck and other researchers demonstrated that when students are told this is so, both their motivation and achievement levels leap forward. "It was all sitting there waiting to be woven together," Greene says. He began coaching parents to focus on building up their children's problem-solving skills. It seemed to work.


link to the article:

http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=homepage&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.filmsforaction.org%2Farticles %2Fwhat-if-everything-you-knew-about-disciplining-kids-was-wrong%2F

SB_UK
08-21-15, 02:24 PM
From looking at our kids - one much quicker than average and another much below average - I'd suggest some system which allows faster students to accelerate and slower students to be held back - with some measure used to assess whether they should progress.

Problem - older students with younger kids will be made fun of.

But it's absolutely ridiculous to let eg an ADD child with 4 year developmental delay to run alongside a nonADD child without developmental delay.

If holding students back does not work - then a complete re-write of the educational system.

I'm looking at a student who will fail in the system as is - but would make it - if he could be held back.

You even see it in the friends he tends towards - generally many years younger.

Problem - naturally - physical size difference between children of 4 years separation.

It's a problem.

-*-

Move the entire educational system onto the Internet ?

Nobody'd then know your age.

Khan academy has something like that.

Problem - are we actually teaching people anything useful ?

In complete honesty - have never had any problem with any subject at school - but cannot remember (30 years later) anything that school taught me.

That's a real problem - which needs to be addressed -

is the educational system actually teaching actual (new neural networks formed eg learning to ride a bike which cannot be forgotten) or very transiently held info.

This subject has been discussed here ever since the 1st month I arrived on site.

What is education teaching children ?

Particular note - #1 - TED video - why schools destroy creativity ?

SB_UK
08-21-15, 02:34 PM
So - yes - punishment doesn't work.

Helping children to problem solve - sounds too difficult to roll out ... ... my experience of school was simply bulk upload capacity.

-*-

Personal observation - I've found that the individual's capacity to write their own language provides a great measure of academic success.
Of course - with repetition - natural language learning MUST change us - as we can't regress - as we progress.

So ... ... tempted to suggest - strong emphasis on natural language as the key factor in education - the rest follows.

Strangely though - eg French Bac system - they use mathematical ability in the way I'm describing natural language capacity.

What's the problem with maths vs english ?

Well - we all need natural language every second of the day ... ... ... but I can honestly say that deep mathematical capacity beyond the elementary maths we can all do - isn't necessary on a day-to-day level.

So why should somebody spend so much time learning a system which they'll not use in future ?

Personally I'd love to have had lessons in how to take a bicycle apart, how to lay paving, how to plaster, plumb ... ... ... these're the jobs that we need to be able to do - in order to avoid the incredible costs these people charge for what I've found - is really minimal work.
Anyway - learnt how to do them on Youtube - would be nice though to have some expert give tips as we first have a go.
With further experience - we can be that expert to others.

Though mixed feeelings - as in (as examples) my examples - I can envisage systems which'd render bike repair people (eg internal hub gears), paving people (paving is a silly idea), plasterers (plaster board or plaster guns - enviro houses straw bale / breathable render don't need 'expert' plasterers) and plumbers (compression joints, passively heated housing, composting toilets, solar water heaters, solar powered underfloor heating) redundant.

Just trading off ignorance and occasionally not having the right tool.

-*-

After all of that - I'm left not really so sure of what it is that we need people to learn.

So over to a suggestion from UCL.

We need a revolution in the aims and methods of academic inquiry, so that the basic aim becomes to promote wisdom by rational means, instead of just to acquire knowledge.

peripatetic
08-21-15, 03:05 PM
there has to be a system that empowers rather than demolishes problem solving skills and critical thinking.

i hear you that it sounds difficult to roll out...but what are the consequences if we don't? more prisons? more disenfranchised youth? more people who are isolated rather than included. instead of teaching people how to work with what they have and empowering them to have the confidence to develop themselves, an extrinsic punishment/reward system will just teach them to play a system that doesn't really fully include them as persons. and many will inevitably fail and then the system blames the child, when it wasn't designed to help challenged children succeed in the first place.

those who don't have difficulties manage just fine (rich get richer)
and those with difficulties have no opportunity to develop and fully participate in society (poor get poorer)

i don't think it's about learning content, especially in primary school...it's about developing skills to access and decipher ones environment. more of a unesco definition of "literacy" expanded to include functioning in all arenas of life. not just knowing what a bus is, but how to take a bus to get from point a to point b. not just knowing a bunch of facts or proofs or operators, but knowing how to synthesize, think critically, and solve equations.

SB_UK
08-22-15, 03:46 AM
ADDers, it is claimed - can not pay attention.

However - the ADDer possesses laser-like attention - so-called hyperfocus.

Many ADDers here wish that they could switch their hyperfocus on or off - onto given tasks.

But hyperfocus comes and goes seemingly at random.

What if it's not at random though - and that hyperfocus, that which really interests us ... ... is actually an indication of TRUE learning ie where we're actually personally becoming better.

We show hyperfocus when we become better.
We don't when we're attempting to pay attention to a task in which we do not become intrinsically better.

And what if the higer reward system (neural not genomic) is TRUE learning ie
hyperfocus / reward dual when TRUE learning is occurring.

Perhaps hyperfocus indicates when a child is in the 'learning' zone and zoning out/squirming when in pain in the classroom.

-*-

Haven't had that idea about hyperfocus before - it's neat because it places learning/focus as independent of the thinking mind's wishes.

In the thinking mind indoctrinated to current society - we're forced to spend our lives doing pointless things (from the perspective of becoming intrinsically better / of higher quality) -

from filling out forms, to stand in queues, to behaving like robots in the workplace, by acting like docile sheep in the classroom ... ...


... ... all 'quality' negative from a 'learning' perspective where learning (importantly) indicates becoming (ie actually changing) into something better.

Pretty sure that repetition helps - and that becoming better at ALL things (accepting that one may not be very good at any) could prove ideal -

ie jack of all trades approaching master of all but master of none.

SB_UK
08-22-15, 03:52 AM
So ... ... 'in the zone' learning ie when learning actually occurs defines interest ?

But that which is learnt needs to be personally satisfying.

Ever tried sitting down in front of a higher level maths book.

Can plough through it - but every few characters - this voice pops up and asks why you want to know any of this ?

I'd rather be able to strip a bike (without rounding off the screw heads!!!)

:-)

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/85/Zen_motorcycle.jpg

-*-

An enquiry into morals (a personal investigation of what's right and what is wrong) is what I'd suggest the mind requires for completion.

Noting a supporting role from fundamental mechanism is the cogs (blind watchmaker) from Planck time to ADDer mind - simplest to most complex (largest number of abstraction layers ie matrix upwards .... ... through physics -> chemistry) structures in the phenomenological world.

SB_UK
08-22-15, 03:59 AM
there has to be a system that empowers rather than demolishes problem solving skills and critical thinking.

i hear you that it sounds difficult to roll out...but what are the consequences if we don't? more prisons? more disenfranchised youth? more people who are isolated rather than included. instead of teaching people how to work with what they have and empowering them to have the confidence to develop themselves, an extrinsic punishment/reward system will just teach them to play a system that doesn't really fully include them as persons. and many will inevitably fail and then the system blames the child, when it wasn't designed to help challenged children succeed in the first place.

those who don't have difficulties manage just fine (rich get richer)
and those with difficulties have no opportunity to develop and fully participate in society (poor get poorer)

i don't think it's about learning content, especially in primary school...it's about developing skills to access and decipher ones environment. more of a unesco definition of "literacy" expanded to include functioning in all arenas of life. not just knowing what a bus is, but how to take a bus to get from point a to point b. not just knowing a bunch of facts or proofs or operators, but knowing how to synthesize, think critically, and solve equations.

Sounds good.

I'd suggest though that a strict focus on telling right from wrong would be good.

It's wrong to employ any unsustainable practice eg fossil fuel usage as compromising species survival (under a model of evolution which mandates survival) contradicts 'his will be done'.

SB_UK
08-22-15, 04:39 AM
Just thinking about it ^^^

Hyperfocus comment is VERY important.

It defines us as neural (higher) reward system -activated.

Emergence of a new species.

Personal quality as our reward system.

Discard genomic - primitive - selfish - reward system.
Embrace neural - learning - quality - higher - social - moral - reward system.

Definitely - excellent stuff.

mildadhd
08-22-15, 11:37 AM
i found this article fascinating (it's linked at the bottom). i thought about putting it in parenting, but i think the applications are wider and the article itself focuses on children in schools, psychiatric care, and detention. it proposes a new model of discipline (collaborative and proactive solutions) to replace the incentive/punishment one. he argues that the model of incentive/punishment looks at behavior without considering motivation or ability to control behavior. "challenging" students become habituated to punishment by only having their behavior corrected and they don't develop a number of crucial skills and are increasingly marginalized. instead, we should be focusing on problem solving and teaching children HOW to better control behavior by talking to them and identifying what the concerns are and helping them learn to problem solve.

it makes so much sense and i think is something a lot of adults could use. how much more productive/constructive would a lot of our interactions with others be...


anyway, i've pulled out a few quotations, but i would strongly encourage reading the whole article.

the problem (all bolding mine):


solution (all bolding mine):


link to the article:

http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=homepage&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.filmsforaction.org%2Farticles %2Fwhat-if-everything-you-knew-about-disciplining-kids-was-wrong%2F

Lifechanging!

Every time I pass through the downtown east side of Vancouver Canada, I wonder very similar things.

I can relate to their emotionally hypersensitive temperaments, but I was lucky to be punished less, and therefore happier and safer more.

The first day of every school year, and the first hour of every school day.

SEEKING and PLAY (Supervised free play)



P

mildadhd
08-22-15, 01:13 PM
My first and years of school were daymares of separation and other forms of anxieties.

I was like the child in the OP link , and I have learned to have a fear of schools to this day.

Parts of my hypersensitive nature was recognized by my parents, doctors, teachers, etc..but I was not ever specifically emotionally diagnosed or accommodated for?

Imagine if they considered the way I played or did not play, my sadness as possibly forms of anxieties?

I did like failing grade two, because I found it easier to keep up with friends younger than me.

Lots to discuss.

Fantastic thread!

This is a general principle: Play only occurs when one is safe, secure and feeling good, which makes play an exceptionally sensitive measure for all things bad.

Panksepp/Biven, "The Archaeology of Mind", Chapter: PLAYful Dreamlike Circuits of the Brain, P 354-355.


P

peripatetic
08-22-15, 01:41 PM
Sounds good.

I'd suggest though that a strict focus on telling right from wrong would be good.

It's wrong to employ any unsustainable practice eg fossil fuel usage as compromising species survival (under a model of evolution which mandates survival) contradicts 'his will be done'.

I agree.

Critical thinking to consider long range goals and possibilities (how to function in the world/what it requires the individual to be a part of something larger than oneself

Vs

Instant gratification goals (do well on the exam/avoid punishment)

Practical competencies are all too often seen as not fitting into the academic-business model, with their multiple guess tests and so forth. But the problem is that education isn't wide enough and the consequences/rewards style of discipline further narrows who will be successful within it.

It seems it's a system of creating good test takers who appreciate instant gratification of stick or carrot. Not a system of developing children and guiding them to find and reach their potential through critical thinking, resourcefulness, and practical application. Discipline through either/or seems a very cold, lonely individual-emphasizing system instead of a richer, dialogue-based one designed to enable the individual to functionally participate in society/culture.

mildadhd
08-22-15, 10:48 PM
Telling a child
vs
Showing a child


P

meadd823
08-23-15, 06:47 PM
Between bites, Will consented to describe his experiences with the teachers and staff at Central School. "When they notice a kid that's angry, they try to help. They ask what's bothering them," he said, spiky brown bangs covering his eyebrows as he looked down at his plate. His mom, Rachel Wakefield, told me later that CPS had trained Will to be able to talk about frustrating situations and advocate for himself. Now, she said, he actually had an easier time of it than his big brother. "It's a really important skill as they enter into adolescence," she said.

From Greene's perspective, that's the big win—not just to fix kids' behavior problems, but to set them up for success on their own. Too many educators, he believes, fixate on a child's problems outside of school walls—a turbulent home, a violent neighborhood—rather than focus on the difference the school can make. "Whatever he's going home to, you can do the kid a heck of a lot of good six hours a day, five days a week, nine months a year," Greene says. "We tie our hands behind our backs when we focus primarily on things about which we can do nothing."


The last line not only relates to children but to adults as well. Too often we look at others and focus on the difference as opposed to our common ground we look to those things we can not and in many instance should not change because it distracts us from changing the things we can.

mildadhd
08-24-15, 08:41 PM
What are the "things about which we can do nothing"?



P

dvdnvwls
08-25-15, 12:13 AM
What are the "things about which we can do nothing"?

Greene appears to be saying that a teacher can do nothing about their student's turbulent home, violent neighbourhood, or other problems outside of school.

SB_UK
08-26-15, 04:15 AM
Greene appears to be saying that a teacher can do nothing about their student's turbulent home, violent neighbourhood, or other problems outside of school.

Made the exact same comment today

- a doctor can do nothing about their student's turbulent home, violent neighbourhood, or other problems outside in the unpleasant outside world.