• Born March 20th, 1904 in Pennsylvania
• While in graduate school, he did an experiment with
mice. When the mouse pressed a lever, they would
receive a pellet of food.
• The discovery that an animal
or person is rewarded for a
behavior, then continues that
behavior was named Operant
Conditioning by B.F. Skinner.
• Operant conditioning is a type of behaviorism
• Positive reinforcement can shape a child’s
• Skinner also experimented
with pigeons rewarding
them when they behaved in a
• He taught them to dance and
bowl using an alley he made
for them. B.F. Skinner
Applying the Theory in the Classroom
• Without technology, a teacher can reward
students who listen well, pay attention, follow
directions, and do their homework/classwork
This is an example of a behavior chart a
teacher could use in the classroom to put
stickers on when a child meets the desired
behavior. When the child has a certain
amount of stickers they could receive a
small prize or piece of candy.
• In the classroom a teacher creating a powerpoint
quiz can create a “correct” slide and an “incorrect”
slide for when the child answers a question correctly
or incorrectly. This gives the child positive
reinforcement when the student provides the
desired behavior (answering the question right).
• Another way a teacher could use technology is
having the child read a book and when they are done
reading it, they take a test on the computer. If they
pass the test, that gives them “reading points”, which
adds up to a prize once the student earns a certain
• Without technology a student follows directions, listens, pays
attention and are rewarded for this desired behavior. This
makes the child want to do more of this behavior and less of
the “bad” behavior.
• With technology, a student taking the powerpoint quiz learns
that clicking the right answer results in positive attention,
making them want to repeat that action.
• Also, a student playing software programs reinforce children
just like the powerpoint quiz does. It gives the student
positive visual and verbal feedback when they give a correct
answer allowing the student to understand that behavior is
• I think this theory is a great way to manage your class
behavior and to create your lesson plans using technology or
without technology. Positively reinforcing students is
important to me because it builds self-assurance and self-
confidence, while showing them what good behavior entails
and good study actions. For example, if a student answers a
question correctly from the overhead I will positively reinforce
them smiling and telling them “Great job!”, “Wonderful!”, etc.
This theory is important for all teachers to understand to be