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  1. 1. REINFORCEMENT Introduction Education aims at full development of an individual’s potentialities, abilities, skills as well attitudes, values and personality. But due to lack of motivation and other factors the expected level of objectives are not achieved. In such a situation, reinforcement principles may prove to be useful. Meaning 1. The act or process of reinforcing. 2. Something that reinforces. 3. The occurrence or experimental introduction of an unconditioned stimulus along with a conditioned stimulus. 4. The strengthening of a conditioned response by such means. 5. An event, a circumstance, or a condition that increases the likelihood that a given response will recur in a situation like that in which the reinforcing condition originally occurred. Concept of reinforcement Reinforcement is an event that increases behavior OR Reinforcement refers to any environmental event that increases the probability of a response. The environmental event acts as a stimulus or reinforce which is presented to a particular person before or after she makes a response. The responses produced in connection with a particular stimulus show the change in behavior of the student nurse so as to prepare her for the practice of nursing in the clinical field. In the reinforcement procedure, a stimulus is either added or withdrawn from the environment. The resultant effect is evident in the future behavior. Nature of reinforcement Unlike primary reinforcement (as reinforcing the value of food for hunger), most reinforcement used in education is secondary or learned. Money, affection, approval and attention are appropriate examples. Another major secondary reinforce within the educator’s control is confirmation or knowledge of results. Knowing that you have behaved correctly or adequately is highly reinforcing. Self instructional programmed material is sequenced by such small steps as to virtually ensure correct responses and subsequent reinforcement the learner derives from knowledge of his correctness. Types of reinforcement Reinforcement comes in two types—positive and negative.
  2. 2. Positive reinforcement occurs when desired behavior is strengthened by the presentation of a contingent stimulus. The attractive, behavior-increasing, contingent stimulus used during positive reinforcement is referred to as a positive reinforcer. A positive reinforcer is defined as any environmental event that, when given in response to the behavior, increases the strength and frequency of that behavior. Some commonly used positive reinforcers in the classroom are praise, attention, tokens, and stickers. e.g:- A first year student nurse would feed a patient through ryles tube more efficiently if her clinical instructor approves and appreciates her nursing activity. Here the correct response/desired behavior has been rewarded, hence, there is modification of behavior. Negative reinforcement strengthens a behavior because a negative condition is stopped or avoided as a consequence of the behavior/ the taking away of an aversive stimulus to increase certain behavior or response. e.g :- Driving in heavy traffic is a negative condition for most of us. You leave home earlier than usual one morning, and don't run into heavy traffic. You leave home earlier again the next morning and again you avoid heavy traffic. Your behavior of leaving home earlier is strengthened by the consequence of the avoidance of heavy traffic. Turning off distracting music when trying to work. If the work increases when the music is turned off, turning off the music is a negative reinforcer. Types of reinforcers Primary reinforcers A primary reinforcer, sometimes called an unconditioned reinforcer, is a stimulus that does not require pairing to function as a reinforcer and most likely has obtained this function through the evolution and its role in species' survival. Examples of primary reinforcers include sleep, food, air, water, and sex. Some primary reinforcers, such as certain drugs, may mimic the effects of other primary reinforcers. While these primary reinforcers are fairly stable through life and across individuals, the reinforcing value of different primary reinforcers varies due to multiple factors (e.g., genetics, experience). Thus, one person may prefer one type of food while another abhors it. Or one person may eat lots of food while another eats very little. So even though food is a primary reinforcer for both individuals, the value of food as a reinforcer differs between them. Secondary reinforcers A secondary reinforcer, sometimes called a conditioned reinforcer, is a stimulus or situation that has acquired its function as a reinforcer after pairing with a stimulus that functions as a reinforcer. This stimulus may be a primary reinforcer or another conditioned reinforcer (such as money). An example of a secondary reinforcer would be the sound from a clicker, as used in clicker training. The sound of the clicker has been associated with praise or treats, and
  3. 3. subsequently, the sound of the clicker may function as a reinforcer. As with primary reinforcers, an organism can experience satiation and deprivation with secondary reinforcers. Reinforcement schedules The effectiveness of reinforcement programs is determined not only by establishing close temporal relation between reinforcement and behavior and by type of reinforcement selected, but also by scheduling or frequency of reinforcement. In skinner’s opinion, reinforcement should be continuous as possible, occurring after every response. Research on reinforcement schedules shows that continuous reinforcement contributes to the most rapid acquisition of behavior but does not engender the most retention strength Fixed ration schedule (FR)Response occur at certain number of times before reinforcement occurs. Variable Ratio Schedule Subjects are reinforced after a variable number of responses. Fixed Interval schedule No reinforcement is given until certain interval of time has elapsed. The first response after the time interval results in the reinforcement and then no more reinforcement is given again until the first response after the interval has elapsed again. Variable interval Schedule Based on time, Individual are reinforced for the first response they make after various time intervals have passed. Influence of “B.F Skinner” on education Skinner influenced education as well as psychology. He was quoted as saying "Teachers must learn how to teach ... they need only to be taught more effective ways of teaching." Skinner asserted that positive reinforcement is more effective at changing and establishing behavior than punishment, with obvious implications for the then widespread practice of rote learning and punitive discipline in education. This is where Skinner's teaching machine came into play since it reinforced learning, but there was question as to whether it truly benefited learning or hindered it by making students act like robots. Skinner also suggests that the main thing people learn from being punished is how to avoid punishment. In The Technology of Teaching, Skinner has a chapter on why teachers fail (pages 93–113): Essentially he says that teachers have not been given an in-depth understanding of teaching and learning. Without knowing the science underpinning teaching, teachers fall back on procedures that work poorly or not at all, such as:
  4. 4.     using aversive techniques (which produce escape and avoidance and undesirable emotional effects); relying on telling and explaining ("Unfortunately, a student does not learn simply when he is shown or told." p. 103); failing to adapt learning tasks to the student's current level; failing to provide positive reinforcement frequently enough. Skinner suggests that any age-appropriate skill can be taught. The steps are 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Clearly specify the action or performance the student is to learn to do. Break down the task into small achievable steps, going from simple to complex. Let the student perform each step, reinforcing correct actions. Adjust so that the student is always successful until finally the goal is reached. Transfer to intermittent reinforcement to maintain the student's performance. According to skinner, reinforcement must immediately follow a response if it is to be effective. Delayed reinforcement is much less effective in modifying behavior. Stimulus Response Reinforcement Educational practice and current reinforcement principles Shortcomings  Behavior is dominated by aversion, simulation,i.e student usually learns to avoids the threat.  Because of improper planning there is absence of programme of continuous reinforcement  Great lapse of time between behavior and its reinforcement Suggested improvement  Teacher can use a combination of positive and negative reinforcements. A teacher’s job is to persistent and independent behavior by application of reinforcement and then withdraw them gradually. This approach makes the activity itself a reinforcing factor for students and develops in them intrinsic motivation.  Teacher can use reinforcement continuously to observe its effect of behavior and may change it if necessary for instance to low grade student is found to do better in nursing practice once she is appreciated and approved. She can be continuously approved or rewarded for her best performance so that she reaches average level.  It is best to reinforce the desired behavior immediately and appropriately e.g:- daily evaluation of the students on the tast taken at the end of
  5. 5.  Infrequency of reinforcement  Teacher cannot schedule reinforcement in crowded syllabus  Reinforcement is not generalized across time and setting month/session. Learning efficiency often increases if the student received feedback on the quality of her efforts.  A teacher can use a variety of reinforcements throughout the learning process because a simple nod/smile may have different meaning for different students. E.g:- a teacher can use verbal reinforcement along with gestures. Micro-teaching techniques of studentteachers can prove effective in improving the skill of reinforcement and interaction.  She can plan her teaching process and can utilize different schedules of reinforcement process and can modify it whenever and whatever it is necessary.  A teacher needs to reinforce her students at the place of work e.g:- she can improve communication skill of a preliminary student, while she interacts with patients and not necessarily while delivering health talk to a group of patients. How to Change Behavior through reinforcement I. Four ways to change behavior a. Decrease behavior i. Punishment – get something you don’t want (e.g. a verbal reprimand) ii. Penalty – lose something you do want (freedom to choose how you complete a job) b. Increase behavior i. Negative Reinforcement – escape or avoid something you don’t want (e.g. someone yelling at you) ii. Positive Reinforcement – get something you want (e.g. praise, recognition, monetary bonus) II. Advantages and disadvantages of punishment and penalty a. Advantages i. Changes behavior very quickly, especially if the punisher is severe ii. Could lead to the behavior completely stopping b. Disadvantages i. Doesn’t tell people what to do; it just tells them what not to do1 ii. Negative emotional reactions III. Advantages and disadvantages of negative reinforcement
  6. 6. a. b. Advantages i. Increase behavior ii. Provides compliance to minimum standards of performance1 Disadvantages 1 i. Only produces enough to meet minimums (will not provide maximum behavior). People experiencing negative reinforcement will only work as hard as they have to in order to avoid the consequences; does not encourage their maximum effort ii. Negative emotional reactions IV. Advantages of positive reinforcement a. Advantages i. Increase behavior ii. Maximizes performance iii. sustains change for a long period of time (if reinforcers continue to occur) iv. No negative emotional reactions b. Disadvantages Too much positive reinforcement can lead to fatigue or praise overload, Perone states, which can diminish the results. Positive enforcement that is administered haphazardly can also cause problems V. Positive reinforcement is the best alternative to changing behavior because it produces the greatest increase in behavior, it is rewarding to the person and does not produce negative reactions, and will sustain overtime (assuming that the positive reinforcement continues) VI. Steps to finding positive reinforcers consequences are defined as positive or negative by the person receiving them a. Try something – smile at someone or say “good job” and see if it increases their behavior b. Ask them – ask him what would be positively reinforcing, but be careful because asking might lead him to expect to get whatever he says will reinforce him (like more money) and it may not be something that is realistic c. Observe – watch a person and see what he spends time doing; what he appears to like, then use that to positively reinforce him VII. Sources of positive reinforcement a. Work-related – reinforced by task alone b. Peer-related c. Management-related VIII. Ways to effectively give positive reinforcement a. Make sure what you give IS actually reinforcing to that person b. Give the reinforcer only when the behavior is exhibited c. Give the reinforcer immediately after the behavior d. Give the reinforcer frequently (when the behavior occurs)
  7. 7. e. Don’t use positive reinforcement as an opportunity to criticize by “sandwiching” (e.g. “you did great this time, next time I want to see a 10% increase, I know you have it in you”) Reinforcement for improving the quality of patient care Reinforcement can prove to be an ideal method for improving and modifying the behavior of students who are new to the nursing profession. The quality of the patient care can be improved if the nursing staff are awarded for their performances. Aggarwal (1972), in a study found that nurses who are rewarded very little for their outstanding performance were least satisfied which affects the quality of patient care. The verbal and non verbal behavior of the nursing superintendent can be reinforcing factor in shaping the behavior of nurses in the wards. Conclusion Reinforcement plays an important role in encouraging creative behavior. Teachers being powerful reinforcing agents can effect creative behavior among nursing students by the demands they make on student by the expectations they have form them and by their reactions. It is best method for modifying behavior with respect to independent study methods and if practice teaching is combined with positive reinforcement it can enhance autonomy and confidence in decision making in patient care situations through its importance diminishes somewhat in higher learning situation because successful learning at these levels generates its own feedback. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY  N.H. Azrin , M.D. Wesolowski, ‘A reinforcement plus interruption method of eliminating behavioral stereotypy of profoundly retarded persons’, Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 18, Issue 2, 1980, Pages 113-119 Stereotyped responses have been shown to be eliminated by an overcorrectionreinforcement program. The present study evaluated response-interruption as an alternative to the overcorrection component with seven profoundly retarded adults. During the baseline praise condition, stereotypy occurred during 66% of the observations for the seven profoundly retarded adults but decreased to less than one response per half hour in a mean of two sessions of individual training. In the subsequent class situation, stereotypy was reduced to less than 5% on the first day of class, to less than 1% by the fourth day and less than one stereotypy per hour after the third day. The interruption method seems preferable to postural overcorrection because of its apparent and relative nonaversiveness
  8. 8. BIBLIOGRAPHY  Joyce Bruce, Well Marsha. ‘Reinforcement’. Models Of Teaching, Prentice Hall, New Jersy, 1972,Pp 72-74.  Ms.MunjraKachroo.‘Reinforcement as a teaching method in nursing education’.nursing journal of India, volume 85, 1994, pp:207-209.  Aggarwal, K.C. ‘a Comparative Study Of Levels Of Job Satisfaction Of Nurses In Medical College Associated Group Of Hospital At Ajmer, Rajasthan’. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University Of Delhi,1972.  Munley, M.J. ‘Baccalaureate Nursing Students and Decision Making’ Doctoral Thesis, Columbia University, 1975.  Sharma, R.K. ‘The Place Of Reinforcement, A Paper Presented At National Symposium On Child Centered Education’, October 10-12, New Delhi; Ncert,1988/Pp 593-610.    