Using Reinforcement

Using ReinforcementReflective Writing Component: Field Observation Assignment

In this session you learned about the power of using Reinforcement Theory to help individuals
learn appropriate behavior and self-control. For this activity, you will observe a variety of
settings to see different types of reinforcement in action.

For this activity, you need to observe and listen closely to an adult who is in a supervisory or
instructional capacity interacting with a child or group. You might find these interactions at an
after school program, instructional class, softball or soccer game, basketball practice, daycare
center, or Boy Scout or Boy’s and Girl’s club session. You might also observe them in families
dining at a restaurant, checking out in a grocery store line, or attending church. You will
probably need to observe in a variety of settings in order to find all three types of reinforcement
(social, activity, and tangible) included in this observation report. Observe adult-child or coachplayer
interactions for at least 30 minutes in each setting, being sure to sit where you can hear words and see reactions.

Read the questions below so that you know what to listen for in your observations. Take “field notes” by writing down examples of reinforcement that you hear.
Review your field notes. Then synthesize the observations to respond to each question below.
Type your response to each question in bold beneath each question using the template provided
in Course Den. Be sure to use the content and academic language from the lesson in your
answers. Academic language that is appropriate for this report includes: social reinforcement,
tangible reinforcement, activity reinforcement, positive reinforcement, scheduling, reinforcement
menu. Save the document as a Word document, then submit it through the CourseDen Dropbox.
Please refer to the Stages of Reflection document if you are unclear about what to write or how to
write your answers for this assignment. It should be at least 2 pages double spaced (your
responses). Keep the questions single spaced. Use the template provided.

1. Describe the locations where you conducted observations and how much time was spent
observing at each site: who was there, what were they doing, when and where did you
observe, how was it being conducted. Briefly describe the people and setting at each site.

2. What are social reinforcers? Define the concept. Then, describe two specific examples
of social reinforcers that you observed, and describe how the recipient responded to the
social reinforcement.

3. What are activity reinforcers? Define the concept. Then, describe at least one specific
example of an activity reinforcer you observed and describe how the recipient responded
to the activity reinforcer.

4. What are tangible reinforcers? Define the concept. Next, describe at least one specific
example of a tangible reinforcer that you observed and describe how the recipient
responded to the tangible reinforcement.

5. Reflect on and describe your reactions to this observation experience. How did you feel
or react to the use of reinforcement in these settings? Value the experience for you: was it
a meaningful, helpful, relevant experience for you or not? Please explain and support
your value judgment with examples that you observed.

6. Analyze the event. Based on your observations, what type of reinforcement seemed to be
most effective? Use academic language from the lesson and provide examples from your
observation that support your analysis.

7. Reflect on the event. Think back on your own experience growing up…and even now!
What types of reinforcers worked best to shape your behavior and habits? Which types of
reinforcers did not work for you? Share a specific example and be sure to use academic

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