Positive Punishment to Achieve Discipline in the Classroom

Published: 2021-09-14 13:55:10
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Category: Learning, Education System

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Achieving discipline in the classroom has been a major issue in the education system hence a developing interest in psychology. If psychology is to be believed, the likes of Edward L. Thorndike (1874–1949) and B. F. Skinner (1904–1990) did wonderful research and studies on punishment and reinforcement. According to their work, punishment is an event that weakens or reduces the likelihood of a behavior. Their research broadened into positive and negative punishment where the former induces something unpleasant when the behavior is done while the former involves taking away something unpleasant from the individual when the action is done. Generally, punishment temporarily suppresses the behavior in question but it is considered a primary method hence doesn’t last long or is not intended to last a long time.
In a classroom setting, to begin with an example of positive punishment where a student is detained in class during games session because they had a fight in class. This is the kind of punishment where an unpleasant response is introduced to a behavior, like in our case, that would be the detention. The student will cease fighting out of the fear of being detained once again. However, this method may develop a severe emotional outburst during punishment that may cause more harm than good thus defying the entire ‘positive reward’ objective. In situations such as detention the outbursts may be in form of bitterness, low self-esteem, depression and even self-hatred.To touch on corporal punishment which is a vital topic in the education system since it is the most used to emphasize on discipline, it is known to be effective in the early stages but later proves to be a difficult method. Administration of corporal punishment for instance on cases of noisemaking or failure to do assignments or general indiscipline issues reduces or stops the behavior by the student. After some time, the students might not bear the physical pain or may start forming a resistance of the system within themselves. Furthermore, this method in one way or the other has a bad reputation of introducing violence to solving disputes or behavior correction.
On negative punishment, when a student’s internet access credentials are temporarily withheld after there are caught in a plagiarism case, it is a case of a pleasant thing (internet privileges) being taken away when a behavior is done (plagiarism). Of course the plagiarism will cease and this plan may seem to be working. Later, the behavior that had been suppressed might resurface in other form or even by easy inventions as copying from textbooks of pdf books. This might be adaptation to the mode of punishment.
What remedy therefore do we have for positive behavior changes in the classroom setting? As the psychologists did a great work in response to our rhetoric question. It would be a better thing to introduce reinforcement which is the alternative for punishment but with positive outcome. In instrumental behavior, to achieve a positive result, the authority has to consider a method that enhances a good behavior and introduces a pleasant idea hence developing good behavior. For example, rewarding hard work and good behavior as well as organizing workshops and seminars as well as trainings and counseling sessions for the students is an effective and convenient way to handle discipline in a class setting.

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