INTRODUCTION Behaviourist principles have become an important theory in education.

Due to this, the writer will discuss the effectiveness of behaviourist principles in Malaysian classroom. There are two forms of learning which are classical and operant conditioning. However, operant conditioning will be emphasized in this essay. The writer will focus specifically on the role of reinforcement as well as punishment in operant conditioning and how these behavior modifications are effective in Malaysian classrooms. The writer will then stress on other learning theories that would also be effective to be applied in Malaysian classroom which are social cognitive (peer collaboration) and social constructivism (technology) theories. In conclusion, the writer will highlight the effectiveness of behaviourist principles among students in Malaysian classroom. OPERANT CONDITIONING Operant conditioning is a form of learning in which voluntary responses are influenced by their consequences (Sang, 2006). According to behavioural view, consequences determine to a great extent whether a person will repeat the behaviour that led to the consequences (Woolfolk, 2007). In this context, the writer refers consequences as reinforcement and punishment. A) Reinforcement A reinforcer is any consequence that increases the frequency of a particular behaviour, whether or not people find that that consequence pleasant (Ormrod, 2008). Reinforcement is used to strengthen the students’ desired behaviour. There are a few forms of reinforcements which can strengthen


n. the use of positive reinforcement which gives pleasant result is more effective than negative reinforcement. 2008).d. attention.students’ behaviour such as token economy. The token cannot be too abstract. it is important that students make a connection between the reason for the reward and the behavior and the reward is meaningful to the student (Witzel & Mercer. n. According to Mok Soon Sang (2006). an English teacher in Malaysian primary school is teaching her students on how to write simple sentences. Students believe learning is more interesting when they are rewarded. For example.). must be immediate and occur 2 . token economy is effective to encourage positive behaviour among students.d). When using rewards to motivate students. Reinforcement should be given immediately to the students to ensure its effectiveness. The students. Positive reinforcement can be defined as consequence that brings about the increase of a behaviour through the presentation (rather than the removal) of a stimulus (Ormrod. will receive a token which is a sticker chart. According to Marzuki (2006). praise. who can complete the task given in time and do their work in silence. and giving them opportunity to involve in their favourite activities. Token economy is a system of individual reinforcement of target behaviors in which tokens are administered and exchanged later for backup reinforcers (Token Economy. who can write simple sentences silently and correctly in exact time. The teacher has informed earlier that any student. are given two sticker charts for each question. The teacher gives the students some exercises which require them to construct their own simple sentences. 2003 as cited in Weeks.

). Norhasyimah (2005) stated that token economy is able to measure students’ participation in learning. without the unnatural use of tokens (Token economy system. 1999 as cited in Weeks.d. After completing the task. they are given the opportunity to use a computer for thirty minutes. Therefore.d). the students will still be positively reinforced through effective praises from the teacher and this situation will lead the students to perform better in the next tasks.often for this type of intervention to work (Moore. these students will receive a sticker chart for a question as reinforcement which will lead them to perform better next time. 2007). the teacher should continue giving effective praise to the students when they complete the task given very well. the teacher must also help other students who cannot complete the task in the time given. 2003 as cited in Weeks. Besides. The main goal for providing students with extrinsic rewards is to motivate them to succeed and for them to grow and develop their own intrinsic motivation (Witzel & Mercer. Once the students have mastered to write simple sentences. 3 . By gradually decreasing the availability of tokens (fading). At the same time. n. the teacher should praise their effort which indirectly will make them positively reinforced. As soon as the students have collected ten pieces of sticker charts. However. These weak students are encouraged to finish their tasks as the teacher should give positive feedback and responses to any questions posted by them. other students will not feel left out and they will try their best to complete the task. students should learn to display the desirable behavior independently. the number of token given should be decreased gradually. n. Hence.

a group of footballers in a secondary school has been caught for coming late to class since the last two weeks without concrete reasons. Hence. When the eliminated points are up to seventy points. 1998). 4 . The important feature of this system is transparency and a sense of fair play in every punishment or reward meted out (Lian. 2006). presumably one a learner does not want to lose (Ormrod. but may reappear if reinforcement contingencies change (Mergel. Merit and demerit system is based on behaviourist theory which emphasizes on reward and punishment. Removal punishment refers to punishment involving removal of an existing stimulus. For example. removal punishment is being applied in this situation. the students have lost their opportunity to join football training and represent their school in the next football match which is in the next month.B) Punishment In this section. Indirectly. the writer will be focusing on the element of punishment in the merit and demerit system. Punishment refers to responses that bring painful or undesirable consequences will be suppressed. Punishment is designed to weaken undesired behaviour. 2004). The students will be given points as a reward if they are involved in curriculum activities and charity works while as a punishment for not obeying the school rules. points will be deducted. these students are punished by eliminating ten points for each time they come late. merit and demerit system is more preferable compared to physical punishment to overcome discipline problems in schools as public canning is banned in Malaysia (Khaleej Times. Through merit and demerit discipline system.

children may analyse the arguing process and so acquire an ability to look at other situations from multiple angles.2008). reward can increase students’ positive bahaviour and participate in learning. 2004). Feltovich and Barrows (1996). Indirectly. Peers can influence cognitive development and ZPD among Malaysian students. St Thomas Secondary School in Sarawak is successful of resolving their discipline problems through the implementation of an integrated and systematic discipline system called the "Merit and Demerit Discipline System" (MDDS) (Lian. their thought is 5 . As a result. representing their school in football match is the stimulus that the students do not want to lose. Hence. the teacher successes in shaping the positive behaviour of coming early to class in these students. OTHER LEARNING THEORY A) Peer Collaboration According to Koschmann. Ormrod (2008) mentioned that their discussions involve debates and disagreement. meaningful group discussions can lead to cognitive development (Lee & Ertmer. Kelson. Indirectly. Positive reinforcement which is getting the opportunity to join the football training for each day they come early to class is given to these particular students. the teacher can shape the students’ positive behaviour by encouraging these students to come early to class. According to Norhasyimah (2005). 2006). In this situation. Hence. these students are positively reinforced and they will come early to class. The teacher needs to observe the students’ attendance for the whole month to ensure these students’ positive responses. this situation will lead to increase the possibility of students’ positive response. In Malaysia.

participation in learning increases and the nature of their discourses become more analytic and problemsolution-oriented. In peer conversations. as cited in Ben-Ari. effective learning process will occur in Malaysian classroom. 6 .). According to Jayaletchmy (2004). 1983. Students can share their views on many things freely with their peers who observe this world differently from them. Group work can contribute to increase self-efficacy. Ben-Ari (n. n. Thus. Students also have different level of cognitive development. they can verbalize their thoughts and have greater use of higher-level thinking skills to solve any task given by the teacher. In addition. During this session. Indirectly. Later. Besides.nurtured since they encode new information in their memory. and hence.d. it should be promoted in learning (Choo.d. students who are educated by their peers have better ways of solving problems and gain greater knowledge. Due to this. Discourse in collaborative learning is one of the ways of triggering more learning mechanisms and cognitive mechanism. analytical abilities and their problem-solving skills (Light & Glachan.) mentioned that Kruger and Tomasello (1986) found that children tend to give rationales and to justify with their peers more than with adults. students’ level of ZPD is different from each other.d). children improve their logical. students’ behaviour may have been manipulated significantly in this cooperative learning. the students who study in groups can also learn important life skills such as how to communicate well with others and respect other’s opinion. n. the information will be applied to resolve problems.

2000) contend that “new information and communications (ICT) can bring exciting curricula based on real-world problems into the classrooms. 2003)..79). as cited in Scheidet (2003. Brown. Gordin. 2003. & Cocking.13). p. “computers force teachers to look more closely at individual students and their needs rather than addressing the class as a whole with one blanket method 7 . p. In a study that explored the effectiveness of electronic models for increasing preservice teachers’ self-efficacy for technology integration (Ertmer et al. According to Bitter and Pierson (1999. Hence. MOE (2004) mentioned that one of the Smart school objectives is to produce a thinking and technology-literate workforce. students also learn how to search for information without relying or being spoon-fed by teachers. and provide scaffolds and tools to enhance learning” (Kozma. Roschelle. Technologically based classroom is fully equipped with the computers. results showed a significant increase in students’ judgement of confidence after viewing successful models in a hypermedia environment (Lee & Ertmer.2). 2000. In addition. Pea. internet access that allow students to explore and discover knowledge and information. & Means. Smart School Project is a brilliant idea from Ministry of Education Malaysia (MOE) in the direction of moulding creative and critical thinkers in Malaysia. the students can enhance their cognitive development as they learn on how to search for information independently. Hoadley. p.B) Technology Technology such as internet supports discovery learning among Malaysian students. Students have to search for the information on their own. 2006). Researches (Bransford.

CONCLUSION In conclusion. 8 . the writer agrees to a certain extend that behaviourist theory is effective in Malaysian classroom. Reinforcement and punishment do have the power to control students’ behaviour and academic achievements.or technique. On the other hand. Teachers and students are enabled to build local and global communities through networked technology that connect them with interested people and expand opportunities for learning. other learning theories which are social cognitive and social constructivism are also found effective in Malaysian classroom. n. Lee & Zulkifli (1998. allay fears regarding the use of technology.d) reported that network learning activity has produced the following benefits on the learners: i) increased the awareness of audience through various elaborations or clarification of matters which were unfamiliar or in doubt to the target audience. social constructivism highlights the role of technology which encourages discovery learning among the students. ii) increased opportunities to share and enrich ideas. Thus. technology can lead students to learn more successfully and competently as it encourage discovery learning among students. Social cognitive theory which emphasizes on peer collaboration is an effective way as it enhances students’ cognitive development. and stimulate interest to learn more by doing research. However. as cited in Choo. Learning can then become driven by student needs”.

The Malaysian Smart School. fromhttp://www. P. 1-13. F.lookstein. Lian. K. University of Malaysia. Effective Use of Time-Out Procedures To Reduce Child Misbehavior. from mergel/mergel. 2008.Choo. Penggunaan Sistem Ganjaran Dalam Meningkatkan Penglibatan Murid-murid Tahun 2 Murni Dalam Sesi 9 .corpun. Norhasyimah bt Ahmad (2005).A. fromhttp://www. (2000).my Jayaletchemy d/o Ramasamy.pdf Merrell.d.d). Instructional design and learning theory. (2004). Kozma. Seminar penyelidikan pendidikan guru peringkat kebangsaan tahun 2006 (pp. (2004). B.). Journal of Research on Technology in Education. Malaysia. Retrieved August 16. 2008. from http://72. (2004).edu. uiowa. Retrieved August 20. K. (n. Kuala Lumpur: Institut Perguruan Bahasa-bahasa Antarabangsa Ben-Ari.REFERENCES Abdul Rahim Marzuki (2006). School Discipline: Sarawak School Shows the Better Way. Ministry of .104/search?q=cache:cjCjKrwGxccJ:aseancelc. Examining the effect of small group discussions and question prompts on vicarious outcomes. Technology and classroom practises: An international study. Retrieved August 18. The effects of peer tutoring on the language performance of low achievers in an ESL class. (n. Y. R. & Ertmer. Complex Instruction and Cognitive Development. B.14. 36 (1). 2008. from . mmu.235. 39 (1).com/mys00402. Unpublished master’s thesis. 2008. A flagship application of the multimedia super corridor. (2003). Online collaborative learning for Malaysian secondary schools:issue and challenges. Malaysia. Malaysia. (1998). Kuala Lumpur. R. A.pdf Ministry of Education. 102 114). 2008. Pelaksanaan program ekonomi token dalam mengurangkan tingkahlaku bermasalah murid pemulihan khas satu kajian kes [The implementation of token economy to decrease problematic behaviours among remedial students: A case study].Mergel. Lee. Journal of Research on Technology in Education. (2006). Retrieved August 16. Retrieved August 12th.

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