Physical force in schools makes a comeback

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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:42 pm UTC

Well I am shocked.

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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby Angua » Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:51 pm UTC

There was an article once (I think on the bbc?) about a teacher having to follow a six year old* down the street for about half an hour because they couldn't touch them to force them back onto the school playground and had to wait for hte police to come and do it.

edit: may not have been 6, but definitely very young - I can't find the article because search terms seem to be too vague
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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby greengiant » Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:37 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Whether this legislation will change that I do not know.


To be honest I don't think Michael Gove has even altered the rules on contact. Here's a story with Ed Balls(the Education Minister from the previous government for those not in the UK) saying pretty much the same thing that Gove is saying now. According to that link "one study found that over half of schools now have some form of 'no-touch' policy that prevents teachers from restraining troublemakers". If Ed Balls saying 'Teachers are allowed to use force' didn't change that I don't see why Michael Gove saying it will (especially as Ed Balls actually gave some guidelines on what is/isn't acceptable rather than just making a broad announcement).

The more I think about it the more I think this is a non-story. Nothing's really changed, a teacher using reasonable force is still unlikely to be convicted of a crime but is still likely to be thrown to the wolves professionally. If they want teachers to feel confident about using reasonable force they should do something to ensure that when a teacher does so, they are backed up rather than condemned (which is pretty much the point of a no-touch policy - if there's a complaint the policy protects the school from blame but at the cost of the teacher who they cannot back up).

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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby Dream » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:59 am UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:Well I am shocked.

Prepare to be DOULBE SHOCKED though, as you find out that here in Ireland, where teacher can get stuck in physically to prevent violence, that power is not used as a cover for corporal punishment. The teachers, parents and public can tell the difference between roughly pulling a pair of fighting kids apart, and giving both of them the cane.

The Tory party being a bunch of lunatics doesn't prevent them from being stopped-clock right occasionally. UK teachers are currently in the main afraid to or prevented from touching students. That is something that really must change, because it is very unsafe for a supervisor of young adults to be entirely powerless in dealing with them.
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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby omgryebread » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:00 pm UTC

Wait what. Are we reading the same article? He's right only if you ignore like 95% of what he says. Because a bunch of people seem to be reading "It's messed up that teachers cannot physically restrain violent kids in certain circumstances," which makes great sense. What I'm reading seems to be saying "You know what would have prevented those riots? If we had a bunch of men, former military men, who aren't afraid to use force in schools! Because, of course, women can't discipline, and men are scared to work in places where VIOLENCE isn't acceptable."
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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby philsov » Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:55 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:Skinner is pretty much a saint in my book for his work in showing why violent punishment is suboptimal in childrearing... there are more effective ways to raise peaceful, law-abiding children.


What are the more optimal/effective methods, and are those actively being used by the public?
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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby Vellyr » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:58 pm UTC

I teach English in a Japanese school, where they're a bit more lax regarding touching the kids. I will occasionally swat a kid who's being obnoxious upside the head, or "physically coerce" a child who is refusing to obey, especially with elementary-age kids. I think that it most definitely improves their respect for me, and I noticed a marked difference when I took over a gentler female teacher's class. I believe that physical contact should never be used as a punishment or out of anger, but I probably couldn't even noogie a troublemaker until they promise to stop if I were teaching in America or the UK.

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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby Mr. Samsa » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:04 am UTC

Magnanimous wrote:You'd think people would eventually realize behaviorism doesn't translate well to humans. Beatings work for lab rats--not for children who have 50+ years left of social interaction.


Behaviorism translates perfectly to humans, I'm not sure what made you think differently. Humans are just as predictable as animal subjects; they respond to the same interventions, in the exact same way, to the same degree, etc. So much so, that if you get the results of human subjects and animal subjects in, for example, a standard choice experiment, it would be difficult/impossible to tell them apart. The success at predicting and controlling human behavior in controlled conditions explains why we are so successful in applied settings, like behavioral therapy (e.g. treating/curing autism, CBT, etc).

Iulus Cofield wrote:Skinner is pretty much a saint in my book for his work in showing why violent punishment is suboptimal in childrearing. Corporal punishment may well have merit in the adult justice system, but there are more effective ways to raise peaceful, law-abiding children.


Unfortunately, Skinner didn't really show that punishment is suboptimal. He attempted to, but his personal ethical concerns biased his experiments and his results simply mirrored his own beliefs, rather than objective reality. As such, he concluded that punishment was not a useful method for changing behavior based on poorly designed experiments. Researchers like Azrin and Holz then followed up on Skinner's work, corrected his mistakes, and found that punishment is a hugely useful tool for changing behavior - even pointing out that, in some circumstances, punishment is the only effective method available.

But, of course, they also pointed out that there are huge drawbacks to punishment procedures, particularly if the person implementing them aren't aware of these pitfalls, and they highlighted the fact that given the existence of successful reinforcement alternatives (as well as obvious ethical concerns), there is essentially no need for punishment procedures in most situations. In other words, behavioral researchers did demonstrate the problems associated with using punishment procedures but, importantly, it is not Skinner who is credited with this, and they did not conclude that it is suboptimal (at least, not in terms of effectiveness).

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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby omgryebread » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:35 am UTC

Vellyr wrote:I teach English in a Japanese school, where they're a bit more lax regarding touching the kids. I will occasionally swat a kid who's being obnoxious upside the head, or "physically coerce" a child who is refusing to obey, especially with elementary-age kids. I think that it most definitely improves their respect for me, and I noticed a marked difference when I took over a gentler female teacher's class. I believe that physical contact should never be used as a punishment or out of anger, but I probably couldn't even noogie a troublemaker until they promise to stop if I were teaching in America or the UK.
I am perfectly fine with the fact that you cannot physically restrain a kid, and then put them in pain and or discomfort, coupled with humiliation, until they obey your instructions. Because I don't want that kid to learn that when someone isn't doing something how they want it done, that violence is an acceptable response.


Would you be okay with a cop giving a skateboarder a noogie? An ATF agent questioning a non-cooperative suspect?
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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby Vellyr » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:37 am UTC

Yes. Discomfort and humiliation are effective and acceptable forms of punishment. Pain and/or injury are not. What lesson the child takes away from it depends entirely on your attitude.

Part of the purpose of school is to teach children to respect authority, which is essential to becoming a productive adult. If you don't punish them in ways that are meaningful to them, they will instead take away the lesson that they can do whatever the fuck they want.

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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby Magnanimous » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:13 am UTC

philsov wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:Skinner is pretty much a saint in my book for his work in showing why violent punishment is suboptimal in childrearing... there are more effective ways to raise peaceful, law-abiding children.


What are the more optimal/effective methods, and are those actively being used by the public?

Basically, you should teach children the consequences of everything that they do, and not just make them associate <action> with <reward/punishment>. If they have perspective on how actions affect everyone, not just themselves, they'll develop empathy and generally behave better. The "bank robber" analogy is common: responsible adults should decide not to rob banks because it's morally wrong, not because they'll go to jail. (It took a while to find citations under the sea of Internet Parenting Advice, but the Parental Influences on Moral Development section on this page is very informative.)
Mr. Samsa wrote:
Magnanimous wrote:You'd think people would eventually realize behaviorism doesn't translate well to humans. Beatings work for lab rats--not for children who have 50+ years left of social interaction.


Behaviorism translates perfectly to humans, I'm not sure what made you think differently. Humans are just as predictable as animal subjects; they respond to the same interventions, in the exact same way, to the same degree, etc. So much so, that if you get the results of human subjects and animal subjects in, for example, a standard choice experiment, it would be difficult/impossible to tell them apart. The success at predicting and controlling human behavior in controlled conditions explains why we are so successful in applied settings, like behavioral therapy (e.g. treating/curing autism, CBT, etc).

It's very successful in the short term... if you offer someone a reward to do something, they're almost certainly going to do it. The issue is that 1) we want people to be responsible moral members of society in the long term, and 2) humans are capable of higher-level thinking than lab animals. A better way to do 1 is to use people's intelligence to show why they should do something, and not just that they should do it. "Don't play with guns" is a rule waiting to be broken, but "don't play with guns because there's a significant chance that someone will be injured" is something that a responsible person would think of.

Those studies I mentioned are important: if parents use corporal punishment on their child, the child is much more likely to become violent and beat hir own children. People justify it as providing discipline, but it's still essentially trading long-term character for short-term compliance.

... But behaviorism is still important in certain cases, because sometimes we need short-term motivation. If there's a stack of boring paperwork to be done, it's an effective way to keep someone working for long. The important thing is to judge when you should focus on Getting Stuff Done, versus putting effort into intrinsically motivating people and teaching them to develop as a worker.

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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby Mr. Samsa » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:30 am UTC

Magnanimous wrote:It's very successful in the short term...


And the long term. If someone is behaving, then they are under the control of behavioral laws (i.e. those studied by behaviorists). If they aren't behaving, then they're dead.

Magnanimous wrote:..if you offer someone a reward to do something, they're almost certainly going to do it. The issue is that 1) we want people to be responsible moral members of society in the long term, and 2) humans are capable of higher-level thinking than lab animals. A better way to do 1 is to use people's intelligence to show why they should do something, and not just that they should do it. "Don't play with guns" is a rule waiting to be broken, but "don't play with guns because there's a significant chance that someone will be injured" is something that a responsible person would think of.


Certainly. And what are the underlying principles behind "higher level thinking"? Operant and classical conditioning. Just because we're more complex than a lot of animals doesn't mean we suddenly start operating according to different laws of the universe. We have the ability to form higher order concept than a number of animals, certainly, but our abilities are still the product of behaviorist principles.

Magnanimous wrote:Those studies I mentioned are important: if parents use corporal punishment on their child, the child is much more likely to become violent and beat hir own children. People justify it as providing discipline, but it's still essentially trading long-term character for short-term compliance.


Part of the problem is that corporal punishment is an example of a poorly applied behavioral intervention technique. The violence in later life is not a product of "punishment" (in general) but rather a product of it being poorly applied. Not that I agree with its use at all, I'm only speaking from a purely scientific perspective here, and obviously as well as "effectiveness" we need to look at the ethics of our actions.

Magnanimous wrote:... But behaviorism is still important in certain cases, because sometimes we need short-term motivation. If there's a stack of boring paperwork to be done, it's an effective way to keep someone working for long. The important thing is to judge when you should focus on Getting Stuff Done, versus putting effort into intrinsically motivating people and teaching them to develop as a worker.


And what is "intrinsic motivation"? It's reinforcement. How do we develop this automatic reinforcement? We make something more pleasurable or favourable than other options. In other words, we increase the reinforcement value of an activity (using candy or sex or the person's own pride, or whatever we want) and then we thin out the reinforcement schedule to create a permanent behavioral change that is maintained through various natural behavioral traps in the environment.

The basic points are these:

- behaviorist principles are the only methods we know of that are capable of producing both short and long term changes in people (all other methods either don't work, or they are behaviorist techniques labelled something else).
- there is functionally no difference between external and internal motivation, because they obviously blend into each other (especially when we use scientifically supported reinforcement schedules to purposely do so).
- your mention of "intrinsic motivation" as an argument against behaviorism makes it sound like you've read Alfie Kohn. The guy is an idiot who has probably never even read the wikipedia page on behaviorism (at least that's the only reason I can think of as to how he can know so very little on the subject).

Essentially, I have absolutely no idea why you think behaviorist principles would only work in the short term..

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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby Magnanimous » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:43 pm UTC

Mr. Samsa wrote:Certainly. And what are the underlying principles behind "higher level thinking"? Operant and classical conditioning. Just because we're more complex than a lot of animals doesn't mean we suddenly start operating according to different laws of the universe. We have the ability to form higher order concept than a number of animals, certainly, but our abilities are still the product of behaviorist principles.

Well now this is reminding me of free will debates.

If we teach someone to keep safety in mind, and they later come to the conclusion "I shouldn't touch that wire, because I know it is powered and will kill me", would you say we conditioned that statement or they came to it themselves? I could argue either answer: it was probably the teaching that made them think of safety, but the end result was their own conclusion. Since the brain is influenced by millions of situations/actions (and possibly free will), it could be that our conditioning was drowned out by the rest of the thought processing. (Unless it was ridiculous A Clockwork Orange style teaching, but that's hardly practical.)

Mr. Samsa wrote:Part of the problem is that corporal punishment is an example of a poorly applied behavioral intervention technique. The violence in later life is not a product of "punishment" (in general) but rather a product of it being poorly applied. Not that I agree with its use at all, I'm only speaking from a purely scientific perspective here, and obviously as well as "effectiveness" we need to look at the ethics of our actions.

Then how would punishment (physical or otherwise) be correctly applied? Are there punishments that encourage children to be free-thinking and empathetic? (Sorry if I seem so skeptical, I was raised as a cognitivist.)

Mr. Samsa wrote:- there is functionally no difference between external and internal motivation, because they obviously blend into each other (especially when we use scientifically supported reinforcement schedules to purposely do so).
Obviously? I find it hard to believe that a self-motivated person would behave just like an externally-motivated person in the long run. The first person genuinely wants to work and does so in the way they find most interesting, while the second works just as the means to an end and would logically choose the path that's easiest or most reliable. The second is great for tedious jobs, but it doesn't lend itself to progress.

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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby Mr. Samsa » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:14 pm UTC

Magnanimous wrote:
Mr. Samsa wrote:Certainly. And what are the underlying principles behind "higher level thinking"? Operant and classical conditioning. Just because we're more complex than a lot of animals doesn't mean we suddenly start operating according to different laws of the universe. We have the ability to form higher order concept than a number of animals, certainly, but our abilities are still the product of behaviorist principles.

Well now this is reminding me of free will debates.

If we teach someone to keep safety in mind, and they later come to the conclusion "I shouldn't touch that wire, because I know it is powered and will kill me", would you say we conditioned that statement or they came to it themselves? I could argue either answer: it was probably the teaching that made them think of safety, but the end result was their own conclusion. Since the brain is influenced by millions of situations/actions (and possibly free will), it could be that our conditioning was drowned out by the rest of the thought processing. (Unless it was ridiculous A Clockwork Orange style teaching, but that's hardly practical.)


The concept of "power" and "death" would be associated with the concept of "safety", so it is a form of conditioning. The problem is that it's not simple conditioning like Pavlov's dogs that most people have in mind when we think of "behaviorism", instead there is a much more complex interaction of a number of mechanisms which fall under the umbrella of "conditioning" (including things like stimulus equivalence, rule-governed behavior, contingencies of verbal behavior, etc). It's not an issue of free will though, because free will is a metaphysical issue and we're only discussing the empirical here (i.e. the fact that people respond to basic laws does not mean that they are automatons or that free will is wrong, as there are alternative possibilities like being choosing to behave as such, or those responses being the expected response of a freely choosing rational agent, etc).

As a practical example of what you're talking about, look at CBT. We use basic instructions that help people come to conclusions "by themselves", but it's still all conditioning.

Magnanimous wrote:
Mr. Samsa wrote:Part of the problem is that corporal punishment is an example of a poorly applied behavioral intervention technique. The violence in later life is not a product of "punishment" (in general) but rather a product of it being poorly applied. Not that I agree with its use at all, I'm only speaking from a purely scientific perspective here, and obviously as well as "effectiveness" we need to look at the ethics of our actions.

Then how would punishment (physical or otherwise) be correctly applied? Are there punishments that encourage children to be free-thinking and empathetic? (Sorry if I seem so skeptical, I was raised as a cognitivist.)


By itself, I don't think it can be (unless there is some ingenious method that I just can't think of). In conjunction with reinforcement techniques, then all we would need to do is ensure we follow the basic rules of implementing a punishment procedure: i.e. be consistent, immediately apply the punishment to every instance of the behavior, start with the most severe punishment available rather than a sliding scale, etc. The thing to keep in mind is that behaviorism is the study of behavior, they didn't just come up with these principles out of thin air and the initial stage of research was simply describing how organisms respond to their environment. That is, whether humans interfere or not, we will constantly be subjected to a mixture of reinforcement and punishment procedures. For example, how did you learn to walk? Reinforcement, to some degree of course, by having our parents cheer us on and what-not, but also through punishment - when we didn't walk properly, we fell and bashed our knees hard on the ground, or cracked our heads on the coffee table.

The question, therefore, is not whether punishment procedures can be useful in creating a free-thinking and empathetic individual (because we know they obviously can), but rather the question is whether we should, or need to, use punishment procedures at all. And I'd argue that in the vast majority of cases there is no need for them. (And of course if punishment is used, there should be a clear difference between punishment and simple physical violence).

And a note on a slightly tangential issue: there is no real difference between behaviorism and cognitivism. Ever since the 30s, with the work of Skinner, Tolman, etc, behaviorism has been about the study of behavior; with the definition of behavior including cognition, thought, and emotions. As Skinner pointed out, you can't have a science of psychology without studying the internal world of the mind.

Magnanimous wrote:
Mr. Samsa wrote:- there is functionally no difference between external and internal motivation, because they obviously blend into each other (especially when we use scientifically supported reinforcement schedules to purposely do so).
Obviously? I find it hard to believe that a self-motivated person would behave just like an externally-motivated person in the long run. The first person genuinely wants to work and does so in the way they find most interesting, while the second works just as the means to an end and would logically choose the path that's easiest or most reliable. The second is great for tedious jobs, but it doesn't lend itself to progress.


The point is that an activity that is reinforced (through "external motivations" or whatever) becomes reinforcing in itself. That's where the blending of the two ideas comes from. The key here is not to confuse "rewards" with "reinforcement"; that is, you can get rewards for working in a shitty job that you hate, but you're not getting reinforcers for it.

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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby HungryHobo » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:13 pm UTC

Code: Select all

Personally I am OK with the society described in a book. It does not see too strictly militaristic. Heck, in that society army service is not even mandatory, unlike in many real non-fascist societies today.


wait... you mean the society where you couldn't vote, weren't considered an actual citizen or even have kids unless you first served in the military?
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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:36 pm UTC

Germany until two months ago.

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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby psyck0 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:43 pm UTC

No, Samsa, behaviourism has been largely discredited in psychology in most of the world. The basic principles are just flawed. Mailing a letter isn't a conditioned reflex, it is a conscious act. There are some techniques derived from behaviourism which work, but not for the reasons behaviourists said they did.

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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby Mittagessen » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:10 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Germany until two months ago.


No, we consider(ed) people too stupid to avoid conscription as daft. And not serving has no implication on my ability to vote or stand for office or have kids or receive any kind of state support. Comparing the fascist fantasy of some militaristic quack with any modern social democratic state is at least a bit disingenuous.

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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby Mr. Samsa » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:01 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:No, Samsa, behaviourism has been largely discredited in psychology in most of the world. The basic principles are just flawed. Mailing a letter isn't a conditioned reflex, it is a conscious act. There are some techniques derived from behaviourism which work, but not for the reasons behaviourists said they did.


No it hasn't. In the academic world it is still thriving, and behaviorism (a philosophy of science) still underpins practically all fields that ask questions of behavior, e.g. psychology, ethology, etc. The problem is that laymen often don't have a strong enough grasp of the history of psychology to understand where behaviorism currently stands, and as such, they may have read Chomsky and thought that he "refuted" behaviorism, but fail to understand why it took a few years before a formal reply was published. In a nut shell, nobody could figure out who the hell he was attacking. He claimed to be attacking Skinner, but spent 90% of his review attacking methodological behaviorism, which Skinner had crushed years before. I recommend reading MacCorquodale's reply to Chomsky, which is recognised in science as being one of the most embarrassing moments for Chomsky as it demonstrates how very little he knew about an area he tried to discredit; with the basic conclusion being that he had never read a book on behaviorism or psychology.

One of the main problems with understanding the current state of behaviorism is that people have a flawed understanding of what the "cognitive revolution" was. A lot of laymen tend to believe that it was an 'overthrowing' of the old ways of behaviorism, when in fact it wasn't - the roots of cognitivism were started by Skinner. The important point here that needs to be recognised is that there are functionally no differences between behaviorism and cognitivism; both study the same subject matter, with the same tools, and reach the same conclusions. The only real differences are sometimes different terminology used, and a slightly different shift in focus. Cognitive psychologists are aware of this, it's just the general public that needs to understand it.

Behaviorist sciences have been responsible for every breakthrough in behavior or cognition in recent times; they discovered the degradation effects of memory, the controlling variables behind attention, they develop the equations that underpin signal detection, they created the principles that explain how thoughts come about (thus coming up with CBT), not to mention all the work done on more basic "external" behaviors etc.

To finish up, I'll just quickly bullet point some myths about behaviorism (as I imagine you hold more than a couple if you think the field is dead):

1) Behaviorism is a blank slate methodology: Untrue. As explained by Skinner, the psychology of an individual can only be understood by figuring out how genes and experiences interact to create the behaviors we see in the individual today. Behaviorism focuses on the environmental effects not because genetics is unimportant, but simply because that is how the field has specialised (i.e. we already have geneticists looking at how genes affect behavior). This myth is usually "supported" by quotemining John Watson and his 12 infants comment, ignoring the line that follows where he points out that he is exaggerating and speaking beyond his evidence, but he is doing so to point out the current bias in science towards genetic explanations for behavior.

2) Behaviorism is stimulus-response (SR) psychology: Untrue. A couple of decades before Chomsky came along, Skinner refuted SR psychology and deemed it far to simplistic to explain behavior. As such, Skinner demonstrated theoretically and experimentally why, for example, saying a child learns the word "house" by being fed candy by his parents whilst standing in front of a house (or saying "house") is ridiculous. This is why most people were confused when Chomsky spent most of his time (poorly) refuting SR psychology, when it had been out of fashion for over 20 years.

3) Behaviorism doesn't accept the existence of thoughts, beliefs, emotions or the mind: Untrue. The early behaviorists (in the 1900s) rejected the notion of internal states for purely pragmatic reasons. That is, they did not reject the existence of them, but rather they rejected the use of them as explanations when they could not be measured or observed (directly or indirectly) in any way - especially at the time, when brain technology was non-existent. It was actually Skinner who then came along and pointed out that it is not realistic for psychology to call itself a science unless it actually sought to study and explain the subject matter it was supposed to explain, i.e. thoughts and the mind. He argued that any science of psychology must therefore attempt to understand the inner workings of the mind. (And this is what lead to the "cognitive revolution" and the development of things like CBT). This is how Skinner's form of behaviorism became to be called "radical", because he argued that thoughts can be empirically studied and understood.

4) Behaviorism ignores physiological/neurological explanations for behavior: Untrue. Initially Skinner suggested that we should not use physiological explanations for behavior, but this was only because at the time, "physiological explanations" were no better than just-so stories. As an hilarious example, just look at any of Chomsky's attempts to explain language in the brain, like his "Language Acquisition Device", which was eventually deemed to be pseudoscientific nonsense. Once brain imaging technology became more widespread and reliable, behaviorists changed their position on physiological explanations (also, it's important to point out that Skinner's beliefs didn't dictate the beliefs of the behaviorists, so when people use Skinner as an example of what behaviorists believe, they ignore the fact that not everybody agreed with him). Nowadays, behaviorists are leading some areas of neuroscience, like research into neural networks.

Of course, if behaviorism really is dead, then I'm not sure how to break it to researchers in the area... Nevermind how to explain it to entire areas of science that depend on the philosophy of behaviorism.

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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby engr » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:10 am UTC

HungryHobo wrote:wait... you mean the society where you couldn't vote, weren't considered an actual citizen or even have kids unless you first served in the military?


Are you sure about the "having kids" part? If I remember that book correctly, the main character's father only entered the military after his son did, and before that he actually initially disapproved of his son's decision to serve.
As far as voting rights, that's fine with me. There are democratic countries today which require all able-bodied citizens to serve in the military, and if they don't, they go to jail. To me that seems more harsh than lack of voting rights for not serving.
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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:19 am UTC

I think they got that from the movie version, which said it was easier to get a license to have children if you were a citizen, or something similar.

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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby Mittagessen » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:32 am UTC

engr wrote:As far as voting rights, that's fine with me. There are democratic countries today which require all able-bodied citizens to serve in the military, and if they don't, they go to jail. To me that seems more harsh than lack of voting rights for not serving.


None of these nations grant any substantial civic advantages to serving. The only countries that installed a system even remotely similar were those of the Eastern Bloc, where not serving was a quasi-automatic exclusion from standing for office or matriculating at a university. Personally, I would have gladly gone to jail for 3 months (which was the proscribed although uncommon punishment for refusing to serve completely over here) for not serving (and still having all privileges of a citizen) than losing my ability to participate in the political process forever by refusing to shoot brown people.
Apart from that, I am sure there are quite a few people on the fora who would content bestowing citizenship based on the willingness to kill those evil foreigners serves no societal purpose, except to make some people like you happy that a proper militaristic spirit is instilled into the youth.

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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby engr » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:58 am UTC

Mittagessen wrote:None of these nations grant any substantial civic advantages to serving. The only countries that installed a system even remotely similar were those of the Eastern Bloc, where not serving was a quasi-automatic exclusion from standing for office or matriculating at a university. Personally, I would have gladly gone to jail for 3 months (which was the proscribed although uncommon punishment for refusing to serve completely over here) for not serving (and still having all privileges of a citizen) than losing my ability to participate in the political process forever by refusing to shoot brown people.
Apart from that, I am sure there are quite a few people on the fora who would content bestowing citizenship based on the willingness to kill those evil foreigners serves no societal purpose, except to make some people like you happy that a proper militaristic spirit is instilled into the youth.


So, if a country only allows you to vote if you served, that's fascist, but if it sends you to jail for not serving, it's not fascist? This seems... so... weird to me I am not even sure how to respond.
For what it's worth, I personally, would rather not have voting rights than to be considered a criminal and spend time in jail.

Now, is it the military service requirement that upsets you, or a service requirement in general? If one could become a citizen by building highways and schools for free, is that still fascist to you?
Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions. Gilbert K. Chesterton

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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby Mittagessen » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:55 pm UTC

engr wrote:So, if a country only allows you to vote if you served, that's fascist, but if it sends you to jail for not serving, it's not fascist? This seems... so... weird to me I am not even sure how to respond.
For what it's worth, I personally, would rather not have voting rights than to be considered a criminal and spend time in jail.


If the difference is idling my thumbs for 3 months and not losing any civil rights in the future (and at least over here, not having a permanent criminal record) or (mostly) idling my thumbs and being required to learn how to kill other people to gain the right to vote or stand office I'll gladly chose to first alternative. My point is that locking people up for refusing to serve but not touching their civil rights after the actual punishment is less militaristic and fascist than forcing people to be potential murderers for wanting to participate in society politically.

engr wrote:Now, is it the military service requirement that upsets you, or a service requirement in general? If one could become a citizen by building highways and schools for free, is that still fascist to you?


I would support an equal civil and nonmilitaristic service requirement for all genders. Unfortunately, the German constitution links civil service with the draft so a purely civil service is constitutionally impossible. Even changing the article of the constitution isn't possible as the draft is anchored in the eternal part unmodifiable by the parliament.
My whole concern is about linking willingness to kill foreigners and participation in the political process and I apologize if that wasn't completely clear from my previous posts.

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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby paulisa » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:50 am UTC

Mittagessen wrote:
engr wrote:Now, is it the military service requirement that upsets you, or a service requirement in general? If one could become a citizen by building highways and schools for free, is that still fascist to you?


I would support an equal civil and nonmilitaristic service requirement for all genders. Unfortunately, the German constitution links civil service with the draft so a purely civil service is constitutionally impossible. Even changing the article of the constitution isn't possible as the draft is anchored in the eternal part unmodifiable by the parliament.
My whole concern is about linking willingness to kill foreigners and participation in the political process and I apologize if that wasn't completely clear from my previous posts.


The problem there is that forced labour is against human rights, except for military service. You might disagree with that exception (as do I), but that's why universal nonmilitaristic service can't be written into the constitution in this case. The fact that forcing *everyone* of a certain age to do service, mostly in health-related fields, royally screws over the people who want to make a living in these areas is just a side argument.
Last edited by paulisa on Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:40 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Corporal punishment in schools makes a comeback

Postby Vash » Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:37 am UTC

The problem with the Heinlein quote is that to a limited extent the character is attacking some of the best studied and actually most well-supported theories in psychology regarding operant conditioning. It's not that punishment can't have a result, but something one always has to consider is that punishment can also act as a reinforcer for a behavior, as contradictory as that sounds. It's very well studied. That doesn't mean that punishment should never be used. It has to be judged carefully when punishment is acceptable, however.

There also is evidence that in particular corporal punishment can cause PTSD and have negative effects in terms of scholastic achievement, social adjustment, and in other areas. There is similar evidence for consistent verbal abuse. There are even studies showing that students do better when teachers don't point out wrong answers.

Magnanimous wrote:You'd think people would eventually realize behaviorism doesn't translate well to humans. Beatings work for lab rats--not for children who have 50+ years left of social interaction. From a psychology book I have sitting on my shelf:
Spoiler:
Consider the long-term effects of punishment. Skinner argued that when we punish someone we teach only what he is not supposed to do and offer insufficient guidance of what he should do instead. But this criticism only scratches the surface. Punishment doesn't even teach what not to do, much less the reason not to do it: what it really teaches is the desire to avoid punishment. The emphasis is on the consequence of the action, not the action itself. We say, "Don't let me catch you doing that again!" and the child mutters, "Okay - next time you won't catch me."

Punishing children does teach some lasting lessons, though. Take the use of violence to discipline. Regardless of what we are trying to get across by slapping them, the messages that actually come through are "Violence is an acceptable way of expressing anger" and "If you are powerful enough you can get away with hurting someone". For decades, researchers have consistently found that children subjected to physical punishment tend to be more aggressive than their peers, and will likely grow up to use violence on their own children. Even "acceptable" levels of physical punishment may perpetuate physical punishment.
Research documenting the detrimental effects of physical punishment has been published at least since the 1940s. One interesting study found a clear-cut relationship between the severity of the punishment received by eight-year-olds and how aggressive their peers judged them to be. More than two decades later, the researchers tracked down some of these subjects and found that the aggressive children had grown into aggressive adults, many of whom were now using physical punishment on their own children (Eron et al., 1987). Even more recent research has found that alcoholics and people suffering from depression are much more likely than other individuals to have been beaten when they were children (Holmes and Robins, 1988), that toddlers who are hit by their mothers are in fact less likely than their peers to do what they are told (Power and Chapieski, 1986), and that three- to five-year-olds who are spanked by their parents are more likely than other children to be aggressive while playing at a day care center (Watson and Peng, in press).


Skinner is often considered the chief behaviorist, btw.

engr wrote:That line of thought looks so familiar... "oh, look, if a state sends a guy who brutally murdered 10 innocent people to an electric chair, it is just as bad as him! Executions teach that it is OK to kill people!"


The problem with that is that it's harder to quantify whether or not executions legitimize murder. In the other case, it has actually been studied whether a history of violent treatment tends to beget violence more often than a history of non-violent treatment. It does.

greengiant wrote:To be honest I don't think Michael Gove has even altered the rules on contact. Here's a story with Ed Balls(the Education Minister from the previous government for those not in the UK) saying pretty much the same thing that Gove is saying now. According to that link "one study found that over half of schools now have some form of 'no-touch' policy that prevents teachers from restraining troublemakers". If Ed Balls saying 'Teachers are allowed to use force' didn't change that I don't see why Michael Gove saying it will (especially as Ed Balls actually gave some guidelines on what is/isn't acceptable rather than just making a broad announcement).

The more I think about it the more I think this is a non-story. Nothing's really changed, a teacher using reasonable force is still unlikely to be convicted of a crime but is still likely to be thrown to the wolves professionally. If they want teachers to feel confident about using reasonable force they should do something to ensure that when a teacher does so, they are backed up rather than condemned (which is pretty much the point of a no-touch policy - if there's a complaint the policy protects the school from blame but at the cost of the teacher who they cannot back up).


I'm not sure restraint is corporal punishment or whether it is even a bad idea.

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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby addams » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:20 am UTC

I blame the media. The audio visual media.
The people are exposed to violence, daily.

Sure; Many do not watch violence.
Yet, it is available for free to many. And; Many do watch it.

We are monkeys after all. It is a Monkey see, Monkey do, world.

There are some people that are born with a clear sense of morality.
There are some people that are born with what seems to be evil within.
Most people are in between. Most people can be pulled one way or the other by what is seen in the world. What is seen in movies and on TV pulls the people with a force that is awe inspiring and fearful.

Who is at risk of acting on what is seen on the TV? Young males? That is my guess. Young males with positive role models on TV will develop the positive parts of their own personality.

The female is also effected. She learns emotional and social cruelty. This is damaging to the individual and to the social construct.

The teacher in a class room has no chance against the heroes on the screen. It would take a very strong and active culture to overcome the propaganda of the movie and TV screen.

The teachers are at risk persons. If, the teachers must defend the classroom with violence, then, the fight for the enlightenment of education is lost. Education of the masses was such a good idea. It was once considered an honor to learn.

I have seen the belligerence of the students. I have seen the belligerence of the parents. I have seen this with my own eyes. I feel helpless, when faced with a violent and belligerently ignorant people.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Physical force in schools makes a comeback

Postby curtis95112 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:03 am UTC

addams wrote:I blame the media. The audio visual media.
The people are exposed to violence, daily.

Sure; Many do not watch violence.
Yet, it is available for free to many. And; Many do watch it.

We are monkeys after all. It is a Monkey see, Monkey do, world.

There are some people that are born with a clear sense of morality.
There are some people that are born with what seems to be evil within.
Most people are in between. Most people can be pulled one way or the other by what is seen in the world. What is seen in movies and on TV pulls the people with a force that is awe inspiring and fearful.

Who is at risk of acting on what is seen on the TV? Young males? That is my guess. Young males with positive role models on TV will develop the positive parts of their own personality.

The female is also effected. She learns emotional and social cruelty. This is damaging to the individual and to the social construct.

The teacher in a class room has no chance against the heroes on the screen. It would take a very strong and active culture to overcome the propaganda of the movie and TV screen.

The teachers are at risk persons. If, the teachers must defend the classroom with violence, then, the fight for the enlightenment of education is lost. Education of the masses was such a good idea. It was once considered an honor to learn.

I have seen the belligerence of the students. I have seen the belligerence of the parents. I have seen this with my own eyes. I feel helpless, when faced with a violent and belligerently ignorant people.


No. There is little evidence linking media violence to real violence. We are not as simple as "Monkey see, Monkey do".
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Роберт wrote:Sure, but at least they hit the intended target that time.

Well, if you shoot enough people, you're bound to get the right one eventually.

Thats the best description of the USA ever.


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