Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The New Skinner Box

Tonight we had a guest speaker from the UConn Department of Education who was selling a "framework" called PBIS. It's a massively scaled up version of the Skinner Box.

The theory seems to be that by treating schools as Operant Conditioning Chambers whose primary operating principle seems to be homogenizing the behavior of the more unruly population by assuming that the unruly are in fact behavior problems or worse and subjecting them to intensified peer group pressures in the form of a velvet glove token.

In education, three variables are always present: teacher, curriculum, and student. These days the student wears a target on their back as the agent to be changed - one way or the other. The feds have already hi-jacked curriculum decisions, and the States have passed laws that will soon lock-down teachers.

Some critics compare the Skinner Box to a cage. By the time educators are done with the model Guantanamo will look like a country club because at least the prisoners can pray.

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