Dissertation: Managing Behaviors &amp Teaching Social

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[. . .] This program was called Committee for Children's First Curriculum Talking About Touching (www.cfchildren.org).This program was an improvement over Boys Town as it searched for the reasons behind a behavior. Boys Town was treatment focused, whereas this new approach sought to explain a behavior and resolve the issues that led to the behavior. This second-generation program concentrated on preventing child abuse. However, it still did not go far enough and eventually the focus changed to finding the cause of child abuse dealing with the family issues that lead to it in the first place. This program is called Second Step, a curriculum-based program that concentrates on preventing child abuse through identifying and dealing with its underlying cause.

Second Step and Girls and Boys Town are the most widely used programs in schools today for preventing antisocial behavior. However, studies have indicated that many teachers feel ill prepared when it comes to behavior management issues. Second Step and Girls and Boys Town are revolutionary, but the continuously rising rate of antisocial behavior and violent crime connected to it are evidence that there is still a great amount of work to be done. These programs need to be examined in light of current knowledge and theory and recommendations given to make them have a greater impact on stopping the rise of antisocial behaviors among our youth.

Definition of Terms

Antisocial Behavior is defined as any behavior that exhibits the characteristics of being harmful of no benefit to the person exhibiting it.

Avoidance Theory suggests that a human will avoid a behavior that produces negative consequences. It ignores many other important factors in human decisions and behavior.

Least Restrictive Environment refers to the school setting in which the student is able to function the most like other members of his peer group.

Motivation refers to reasons why a person chooses to perform or not perform certain behaviors.

Punishment means a negative consequence for an action.

Reward means a positive consequence for an action.

Expulsion means disallowing the person to attend school. This successfully isolates the one being expelled.

Problem statement

Behavior management systems based on punishment are based on the theory of avoidance behavior. In its most simplistic form, avoidance behavior means that a person will act in a way in which to avoid a situation that is unpleasant. Am earthworm will exhibit avoidance behavior when it recoils from match help close to it. However, the avoidance theory is much too simple to predict human behavior. Human motivation is driven by a set of rewards, or benefits, which are weighed against the potential costs of an action. Sometimes these costs or rewards can be intangible, such as a feeling of safety, or attention. Each person will place a different value on the same reward, based on their own particular life experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Therefore, the theory that a person will always act in a way so as to avoid the prescribed punishment is inadequate in predicting and changing undesirable behaviors.

The ultimate goal of this research is to examine the current most popular programs, being used for behavior management. It is hoped that new light will be shed on an old subject and that improvements can be suggested to the old program that will make it more effective in helping to stop the current rising rate of antisocial behavior in our schools. It is the goal of this research to provide a tangible basis for improvements to the current programs that can be implemented and integrated into existing systems. In order to achieve this goal, the current theories and practices must be thoroughly examined and critiqued.

There have been significant improvements in the field of behavior management in the past several years and we are far from the days of, "Spare the rod, spoil the child." We are beginning to understand the issues behind antisocial behavior and to deal with them in a holistic, family-centered approach. However, the recent statistics on the rise in mental health problems in the school would indicate that there is much needed to be done, and that it must be done quickly if we are to have an impact on the situation and once again return our schools to a safe and nurturing learning environment.

Research questions/hypotheses

In order to properly assess the current state of the Girls and Boys Town models and the Second Step models, we will focus on several primary research questions. These questions will serve as our guide in assessing the current state of the system and in making recommendations as to how to make the system more effective in the future.

The first research question is "What is the current state of the Second Step and Girls and Boys Town Models?" The second essential questions is, "How effective are these models in curbing future antisocial behavior?" The third research question will examine the previous two questions in light of current learning and behavior modification theory. The third question will be, "Do these models conform to current theory and practice?"

Girls and Boys Town and Second Step are vast improvements over their predecessors based on punitive measures to control future behavior. However, the most current of these theories, Second Step, is over thirty years old. This research will explore the hypothesis that even though, Second Step and Girls and Boys Town are improvements over the old system, they will not be found to employ the latest theories in their teaching strategies. This research will demonstrate, that though they are an improvement, they are severely lacking in their scope and current application in the behavior management field.

Rationale

The Boys Town Educational Model is a comprehensive program in schools that relies on immediate feedback and correction regarding social issues. This model relies on relationship building by promoting a positive classroom attitude (Thompson, et.al.,1999). This method relies on immediate techniques to resolve conflicts in a productive and non-aggressive manner. This is a scripted format and focuses on a set of 16 basic social skill (Connolly, 1995).

The Second Step program is similar to the Boys Town Model and uses classroom discussion, activities, and role-play to foster empathy, problem solving and anger management skills (Frey et. al., 2000). This system is scripted and structured as well. The two programs are similar in several aspects. However there are several key differences. Second Step is family focused and tries to involve the family in the process as well. The Boys Town approach may involve the family, however is primarily focused on behavior shaping in the child. Second Step is focused on the internal dialogue that leads to the behavior. Whereas Boys Town focuses on the resulting end behavior. These methods are similar in technique, but differ on their basic philosophy.

Both Boys Town and Second Step are widely used in the school systems. Both have shown success, as compared to schools where there was no such system in place. However, much more study needs to be conducted on the effectiveness of the individual models. Perhaps the true answer to solving the mental health issues facing our schools is to develop a future model that is a hybrid of these two models. The current models are effective, but it is clear that even more needs to be done in order to have a significant impact on the rising rate of antisocial behavior in our schools today.

Theoretical Issues

Recently, media attention has focused on violence in the schools. However, the goal of this and subsequent research is to attempt to prevent violence by identifying the factors and conditions that lead to this behavior. Violence is extreme, however, there is a definitive connection between antisocial behavior in youth and an eventual escalation to violence. Therefore the key to resolving this issue lies, not in actions taken after the fact, but in preventing the violence by teaching coping mechanisms and emotional support for those students who are at risk for anti-social behavior.

As has been stated before, we are complex creatures and do not simply react, after the fact, to our environment. There are many factors that effect our behavior. Many of the studies on which Second Step was based, were conducted in the 1970s. In 1981, B.F. Skinner found that behavior occurs as a result of three interacting levels, biological/genetic, behavioral, and cultural. Our motivations and reactions occur as a dance between these three elements. Embry (2001) found that attention to these three variables could provide an effective means for reducing antisocial behavior, and the resulting violence.

Wilson and Hernstein (1985) found that genetic factors alone cannot account for the rapid changes in violence among youth, as genetic factors would change more slowly than current rises in violence would indicate. Certain biological factors could make a person more prone to violence than others, such as exposure to toxins, drugs, or alcohol (Mirsky and Siegel, 1994). Many of their conclusions were based on hormonal studies in animals and they still fail to account for the many time… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Managing Behaviors &amp Teaching Social.  (2003, February 12).  Retrieved April 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/managing-behaviors-teaching-social/5967308

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"Managing Behaviors &amp Teaching Social."  Essaytown.com.  February 12, 2003.  Accessed April 23, 2019.
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