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Controlling behaviour with tangible reinforcements in elementary school

Eva Tomažič (2019) Controlling behaviour with tangible reinforcements in elementary school. MSc thesis.

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    The purpose of this master’s thesis is to explore the comprehensiveness and efficiency of using tangible reinforcements in the first cycle of basic school as well as to connect the findings with the existing education theories. The theoretical part of the thesis deals with the behaviouristic views on learning behaviour. It further explores the characteristics of behavioural theories, which serve as base for using tangible reinforcements. This part includes the analysis of the types of reinforcements and their use in primary schools. The thesis touches upon the views on rewarding and punishment and continues with the Kohlberg theory of moral development and learning motivation. Both are linked and substantiated with the findings from proponents and opponents of the practice of controlling behaviour with reinforcements. The research uses both the quantitative and qualitative approach. Fifty teachers from the first cycle of basic across Slovenia have participated in a survey questionnaire based on non-probability purposive sample and five teachers in Gorenjska region from the same field as well as four pupils from each form and eight pupils from another form have participated in an interview. The empirical part of the thesis uses the analysis of the questionnaires and interviews to establish the practical aspects of behaviouristic usage of reinforcements, types of utilisation and the effects there of. With the research questions, we wanted to find out the representation of the use of tangible reinforcements, in which cases and how often teachers use them. We were interested in how reinforcements affect student behaviour and what are the positive and negative sides of reinforcements. The results from the perspectives of both teachers and pupils has helped us better understand how the reinforcements influence behaviour. The research has shown that most teachers make use of tangible reinforcements and use them as a reward for the pupils’ achievements. According to the teachers’ opinions the reinforcements influence the pupils’ motivation, but their influence depends on the type of reinforcement used, the frequency of use, ways of using reinforcement, social environment, and on how the pupils themselves experience the reinforcement. The pupils’ answers have shown that tangible reinforcement influences their outer motivation rather than their inner motivation. The reinforcements stir either positive or negative emotions, which cause them to realise the morality of their actions and alter their behaviour accordingly.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: behaviour, reinforcements, awarding, punishment, primary school
    Number of Pages: 93
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    prof. dr. Mojca Peček ČukMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/12613961
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 6012
    Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2019 10:58
    Last Modified: 30 Sep 2019 10:58
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/6012

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