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Behavior management is similar to behavior modification. It is a less intensive version of behavior modification. In behavior modification the focus is on changing behavior, while in behavior management the focus is on maintaining order. Behavior management skills are particularly of importance to teachers in the educational system.Behavior management is all of the actions and conscious inactions to enhance the probability people, individually and in groups, choose behaviors which are personally fulfilling, productive, and socially acceptable [1]

Uses of Behavior ManagementEdit

Many of the principles and techniques used are the same as behavior modification yet delivered in a less intensive and consistent fashion. Usually, behavior management is applied at the group level by a classroom teacher as a form of behavioral engineering to produce high rates of student work completion and minimize classroom disruption. In addition, greater focus has been placed on building self control- Brophy (1986) writes:

"Contemporary behavior modification approaches involve students more actively in planning and shaping their own behavior through participation in the negotiation of contracts with their teachers and through exposure to training designed to help them to monitor and evaluate their behavior more actively, to learn techniques of self-control and problem solving, and to set goals and reinforce themselves for meeting these goals." (p. 191) [2]

In general behavior management strategies have been very effective in reducing classroom disruption[3]

While such programs can come from a variety of Behavioural change theories, the most common practices rely on the use of of applied behavior analysis principles such as positive reinforcement and mild punishments (such as response cost and Child time-out. In general the reward component is considered effective.For example, Cotton (1988) reviewed 37 studies on tokens, praise and other reward systems and found them to be highly effective in managing student classroom behavior.[4]. The most comprehensive review of token procedures to match to children's level of behavioral severity was Walker's text "The acting out child" [5]

Building Prosocial BehaviorEdit

Over the years, behavioral management principles such as reinforcement, modeling and even the use of punishment have been explored in the building of prosocial behavior. This area is sometimes referred to as "Behavioral Development" or Behavior Analysis of Child Development". Midlarsky and colleagues (1973) used a combination of modeling and reinforcement to build altruistic behavior[6]. Two studies exist in which modeling by itself did not increase prosocial behavior [7][8]; however, modeling is much more effective then instruction giving such as "preaching"[9] [10]The role of rewards has been implicated in the building of self-control[11] and empathy [12][13][14]. Cooperation seems particularly susceptible to rewards[15][16][17][18]. Sharing is another prosocial behavior influenced by reinforcement[19][20]

Reinforcement is particularly effective at least early in the learning series if context conditions are similar [21]. Evidence exists to show some generalization[22]

More controversial has been the role of punishment in forming prosocial behavior. One study found that donation rates of children could be increased by punishing episodes of failure to donate[23]

The socialization process continues by peers with reinforcement and punishment playing major roles. Peers are more likely to punish cross gender play and reinforce play speific to gender [24][25][26]

Behavior management and readingEdit

Behavioral interventions have been shown to be effective in increasing the rates of reading. Recently, however, a more longitudinal look shows that behavioral rewards of reading correlates with long term positive outcomes [27]. Childhood rewards for reading even seem to correlate with performance in college. [28]

Also SeeEdit


  1. : Baldwin J.D. and Baldwinn J.I. (1986). Behavior principals in everyday life ( 2nd Edition), Engle Wood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  2. Brophy, J. (1986)."Classroom Management Techniques." Education and Urban Society 18/2, 182-194
  3. Brophy, J. E. (1983) "Classroom Organization and Management." The Elementary School Journal 83/4, 265-285.
  4. Cotton, K. (1988).Instructional Reinforcement. Close-Up No. 3. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.
  5. Walker, H.(1990). The Acting Out Child. Sorporis West.
  6. Midlarsky, E., Bryan, J.H., & Brickman, P.(1973). Aversive approval: Interactive effects of modeling and reinforcement on altruistic behavior. Child Development, 44, 321-328
  7. Harris, M.B.(1970). Reciprocity and generosity: Some determinants of sharing in children. Child Development, 41, 313-328.
  8. Elliot, R., & Vasta, R.(1970). Effects associated with vicarious reinforcement, symbolization, age, and generalization. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 10, 8-15
  9. Bryan, J.H. & Walbek, N.H.(1970). Impact of words and deeds concerning altruism upon children. Child Development, 41, 747-759
  10. Bryan, J.H. & Walbek, N.(1970). Preaching and practicing generosity: Children's action and reaction. Child Development, 41, 329-353.
  11. Barry, L.M. & Haraway, D.L. (2005). Self-Management and ADHD: A Literature Review. The Behavior Analyst Today, 6.(1), 48-64BAO
  12. Maccoby, E.M(1968). The development of moral values and behavior in childhood. In J.A. Clausen's (Ed). Socialization and Society. Little Brown Books: Boston
  13. Aronfreed, J.(1968). Conduct and conscience: The socializing of internalized control of overt behavior. New York: Academic Press
  14. Aronfreed, J. (1970). The socialization of altruistic and sympathetic behavior: Some theoretical and experimental analysis. In J. Macauley & L. Berkowitz (Eds.) Altruism and helping behavior. New York: Academic Press.
  15. Azrin, N. & Lindsley, O.(1956). The reinforcement of cooperation between children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 2, 100-102
  16. Mithaug, E.D., & Burgess, R.L.(1968). The effects of different reinforcement contingencies in the development of social cooperation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 6, 402-426.
  17. Vogler, R.E., Masters, W.M. & Merrill, G.S.(1970). Shaping cooperative behavior in young children. Journal of Psychology, 74, 181-186.
  18. Vogler, R.E., Masters, W.M., & Merrill, G.S.(1971). Extinction of cooperative behavior as a function of acquisition by shaping or instruction. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 119, 233-240.
  19. Doland, D.J. & Adelberg, K.(1967). The learning of sharing behavior. Child Development, 38, 695-700
  20. Gelfand, D.M., Hartmann, D.P., Cromer, C.C., Smith, C.L., & Page, B.C.(1975). The effects of instructional prompts and praise on children's donation rates. Child Development, 46, 980-983
  21. Fisher, W.F.(1963). Sharing in preschool as a function of the amount and type of reinforcement. Genetic Psychology Mongraph, 68, 215-245.
  22. Altman, K.(1971). Effects of cooperative response acquisition on social behavior during free play. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 12, 387-395
  23. Hartmann, D.P., Gelfand, D.M., Smith, C.L., Paul, S.C., Cromer, C.C., Page, B.C. & Lebenta, D.V.(1976). Factors affecting the acquisition and elimination of children's donating behavior. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 21, 328-338
  24. Fagot, B.I.., & Patterson, G.R.(1969). An in vivo analysis of reinforcing contingencies for sex role behaviors in the preschool child. Developmental Psychology
  25. Lamb, M.E. & Roopnarine, J.L. (1979). Peer influences on sex role deelopment in preschoolers. Child Development, 50, 1219-1222
  26. Lamb, M.E., Easterbrooks, M.A., & Holden, G.(1980). Reinforcement and punishment among preschoolers: Characteristics and correles. Child Development, 51, 1230-1236
  27. Flora, S.R. & Flora, D.B. (1999). Effects of extrinsic reinforcement for reading during childhood on the reported reading habits of college students. Psychological Record, 49, 3-14
  28. Flora, S.R. & Popanak, S.S. (2004). Childhood pay for grades is related to college grade point averages. Psychological Reports, 94, 66

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