Token economy, or a system in which generalized reinforcers (e.g. money) are used as “tokens” that are exchangeable for the variety of other reinforcers (e.g. food, water, rest), can be used to establish a well-behaved class by offering tokens every time a student has good behavior. For example, Ephraim can establish a class rule that every time a student turns in their homework on time, that student will receive a “good strike” (the tokens); once the student reaches a total of twenty strikes, he/she can receive a reward of his/her choosing (e.g. a $5 gift card, a toy, candy [the other reinforcers]).
Negative reinforcement, or the removal or decrease of something undesirable, can also be used to encourage good behavior in Ephraim’s class. For example, if the class dislikes essays, Ephraim will issue that if the class expresses good behavior (e.g. turning in work on time, frequent participation, no tardies) for a month, he’ll take away essay assignments— encouraging the desired behavior of good behavior by taking away an undesirable stimulus, essays.
Mirror neurons, or neurons (nerve cells) that mimic another subject’s actions, can also encourage good behavior in the classroom by making himself an example of “good behavior.” In other words, during class time, Ephraim can repeatedly express or showcase “good behavior” to his students (e.g. asking questions); because his students are witnessing it, their mirror neurons will trigger simulation of Ephraim’s actions of asking questions, thus imitating their teacher and practicing “good behavior.”
Classical conditioning, or a type of learning where a subject learns to associate a neutral stimulus to a natural, reflexive response, can also be integrated in the classroom. For example, everytime the students start on classwork, Ephraim can ring a bell. With consistent application and enough time, Ephraim can use the bell to prompt his students to start on classwork whenever they’re misbehaving, as they’ve learned to associate the bell with working on their classwork.
The overjustification effect is the phenomenon in which the presence of an extrinsic reward decreases one’s intrinsic motivation; thus, if Ephraim offers candy to his students, those who were intrinsically motivated (doing their work for the sake of enjoyment, satisfaction, or knowledge) would be discouraged, as the candy- the reward- decreases their intrinsic interest.