Skinners Theory of Learning

Parents have long known that children respond to a system of rewards and punishments. The theories of famed American behaviourist B.F. Skinner are accurately descriptive of the impact of conditioning children for right behaviour. Operant behaviour and operant conditioning, Skinner's most widely acclaimed work, is based on a system of both positive and negative reinforcement.
Skinner demonstrated the basis of his theory through experiments in rats. For proving positive reinforcements, Skinner placed rats in a box, placed a food dispenser in the box triggered to pass out food through the press of a lever, and conditioned the rats to get food on the press of the lever. This positive reinforcement of the food being available as a consequence of an action is what is also applicable to human beings especially children in their formative years.
Skinner again experimented with rats to show how negative reinforcement can also strengthen behaviour. Skinner placed the rat inside the box and a sent electric current into the box, as the rat moved around the box it would knock the lever by accident and the electric current would stop. The rats soon learned that when they were placed in the box to go straight to the lever to turn off the electric current. Knowing they could escape the electric current caused the rats to repeatedly go to the lever. Not only were the rats taught to stop the electric current but also to avoid it completely. Skinner eventually taught the rats to press the lever when a light came on in the box which would stop the electric current before it even started.
One of the aspects important to human behaviour, is the feelings associated with behaviour that is controlled by conditioning. When previous behaviours have been rewarded, children are likely to repeat those behaviours happily and willingly, feeling that they are doing what they 'want' to be doing. If, on the other hand, children choose behaviours in order to avoid a repeat of negative...