Skinnerizing Teachers

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Charlotte Thomson IserbytDay 21: Skinner Horror Files

The Skinnerization* of Teachers

traditional (1)*DEFINITION of Skinnerize:
The process by which students, teachers, principals, administrators, etc. – and anyone else for that matter – conform to B.F. Skinner’s model, methods, goals, process and system. To become Skinnerized means one has adapted themselves, willingly or through compulsion, to the entire modus operendi of B.F. Skinner and his subsequent behavioral clones and change agents.
Related terms: Skinnerization, Skinnerizing.

Creative joyful teaching means enthusiastic learners

Creative joyful teaching means enthusiastic learners

Thus it isn’t a surprise to read how the Skinnnerian system is applied to the behavior of teachers. The Effective School Report’s May 1985 issue contained an article titled “Principal’s Expectations as a Motivating Factor in Effective Schools.” Notice how the principal is expected to shape the behavior of teachers, who are then expected to shape the behavior of their students. And notice how “achievement” is no longer about academic goals, but “ability” and “perceptions” and “attitude” changes:

The principal expects specific behavior from particular teachers which should then translate into achievement by the students of these teachers; because of these varied expectations, the principal behaves differently toward different teachers; i.e., body language, verbal interactions and resource allocations. This treatment also influences the attitudes of the teacher toward the principal and their perception of the future utility of any increased effort toward student achievement. If this treatment is consistent over time, and if the teachers do not resist change, it will shape their behavior and through it the achievement of their students….

The oppressive Skinnerian classroom

The oppressive Skinnerian classroom

With time teachers’ behavior, self-concepts of ability, perceptions of future utility, attitude toward the principal and students’ achievement will conform more and more closely to the behavior originally expected of them.

Just say no to
Skinnerization!

A real life example of Skinnerian teaching.  Click HERE to watch and read HERE

A real life example of Skinnerian teaching.
Click HERE to watch and read HERE