Skinnerizing Teachers

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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