Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement in an ESL Classroom
Punishment is the reaction to a lack of discipline, so the final step for preventing the need for punishment is to teach and encourage discipline.
Table of Contents
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Nisham M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Teachers need to be able to set boundaries in their classrooms. A classroom without boundaries and consequences is a great disservice to every student in the class. When a child misbehaves in school, he/she is cheating the other children out of their education because the teacher is not teaching when he/she is dealing with behavioral issues.
Teachers have to tread carefully when dealing with disrespectful children. They are not allowed to raise their voice as this is considered as verbal abuse, they cannot spank as this is considered physical abuse, which could cause teachers and school to be sued.
Also Read: 3 Great Alternatives to Punishment
Emerging research suggests corporal punishments of school may harm a child's cognitive ability. As the child is growing up, your only job is to learn and enjoy life. If the children are exposed to corporal punishments of the learning environment, they may have long term harmful effects on children's verbal intelligence and their executive functioning ability. The neurobiological changes caused by chronic negative experiences and a history of adversity can trigger a fear response to the brain. As Pam Leo says, " A hurtful child is a hurt filled child. Trying to change his/her behavior with punishment is like trying to pull off only the top part of the weed. If we don't get to the root, the hurtful behavior pops up elsewhere.
In children, the fear response often looks aggressive, defiant and oppositional. Researchers have shown that corporal punishments do not have an impact on the determination of behavior or learning ability in children. Corporal punishment can leave a lasting impression; and it could be described as borderline child abuse, dependent upon an object or a method of administering corporal punishment. The teacher may use a paddle, a hand, a switch or any other object that can inflict physical pain. This is done without any consideration of the potential risk that hitting or inflicting physical pain to a child might have in the present or future.
Also Read: Are TESOL teachers in demand?
In case one considers as a mode, then it should always be age-appropriate. The classrooms would be complete chaos if there were no consequences of bad behavior. Maybe the students are given extra school work as punishment or be required to write an essay about respect, common courtesy, good behavior. Research shows that corporal punishment results in mental health issues and worsened behavioral problems. It is also linked to significantly lower grades. For many children, corporal punishments especially inflicted by someone other than parents is intensively traumatic.
Now let's talk about the reinforcement. The next effective way to teach a person a new behavior is with positive reinforcement; where a desirable stimulus is added to increase a behavior. For example, you tell your 5-year-old son that if he cleans his room, he will get a toy; he will quickly clean his room because he wants a new art set. Positive reinforcement as a learning tool is extremely effective.
Whereas in negative reinforcement, an undesirable stimulus is removed to increase a behavior.For example: Using an alarm set to wake up a child in the morning, which requires him to get up from bed to turn it off, thus he is awake and can start his day. Thus reinforcement is favored over punishment, that you can catch your child doing something good reward him/her for it. Hence I conclude by saying let's discipline the students with love and affection, then any form of corporal punishment. Let's teach, not hit.
Speak with an ITTT advisor today to put together your personal plan for teaching English abroad.
Send us an email or call us toll-free at 1-800-490-0531 to speak with an ITTT advisor today.
- Top 10 Things to Know When Moving Abroad to Teach English
- The 5 Most Common Types of EFL Students and How to Deal with Them
- The Lowdown on Teaching English Abroad With a Family
- 9 Small Details That Matter When Teaching EFL
- 8 Amazing Things You Can Do with a TEFL Certificate
- Differences in Teaching Monolingual and Multilingual EFL Groups