Name: Ting Hon Man Student ID: 27439526 Assignment: MCD6080 Literature Review
Are token economies (i.e. reward systems used to reinforce desired behaviour) effective in modifying classroom behaviour?
MCD6080 Literature Review
Word count: 921
Student ID: 27439526
There is a trend showing the frequency of disruptive classroom behaviour among children is growing substantially (Filcheck, McNeil, Greco, & Bernard, 2004). Given the most requested aid in classrooms by teachers are about classroom behaviours (Rose & Gallup, 2005), it is important to establish whether or not there is a clear method in stopping the unwanted behaviours. An analysis of current research literatures showed a key element, token economy is successful in changing classroom behaviours (Dickerson, Tenhula, & Green-Paden, 2005; Filcheck & McNeil 2004; Zlomke & Zlomke, 2003). Token economies are systems to modify behaviours based on reinforcement and lies in the realm of operant conditioning (Skinner, 1938).
The extant literature indicates that token economies are effective in reducing disruptive behaviours in classrooms. This is the case not only in a single educational setting but among different settings, namely primary, secondary and even in special education like schizophrenia (Dickerson, Tenhula, & Green-Paden, 2005; Mottram, Bray, Kehle, Broudy, & Jenson, 2002). Skinner’s (1938) theory on operant conditioning is that any behaviour can be changed with behaviour interventions. As Alexander and Apfel (1996) pointed out, tokens itself does not have any values. Tokens must be used as the pairing of immediate reinforcement of a response in order to gain its power.
In the extant literatures, almost all researches showed a clear decrease of disruptive behaviours. In fact, 13 out of 13 researches reviewed concluded that token economy would be effective in a classroom setting (Dickerson, Tenhula, & Green-Paden, 2005). But while all researches gave the same conclusion on the successfulness, there are no researches replicating their own experiment in different settings, disregarding factors like gender, disability, race, family background and many others. For example, in a research conducted by Filcheck, McNeil, Greco and Bernard (2004), preschool students were to study in a token economy classroom. A level system is applied. The ranking up system of a participant act as a token. The goal of this research is to decrease the unwanted disruptive behaviour caused by the students. The researchers stated not only the positive results, but the study also showed the effectiveness of using token economy in a classroom setting. Additionally, similar studies like Zlomke and Zlmoke (2003) and Higgins, Williams and McLaughlin (2001) concluded the same results. None of the researches above replicated their findings in different classroom settings, given the success in one particular setting, it is unable to tell whether the same token economy classroom can be use in different settings. This also...