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During my lessons I tried to implement Watson, Thorndike’s and Skinner’s theory of Operant Conditioning in the classroom to modify the behaviour of the class. The goal was to condition the students to reflexively stop talking when I moved to a certain area of the room; using the theory that the students would repeat behaviour that received a positive response, and not repeat behaviour that received a negative response. I initially started to modify their behaviour by moving to the left of the front desk, holding my hand up and waiting for silence in the same spot, every time I required them to stop talking and listen. Initially it was necessary to ask for silence and remind them that I was waiting to talk. In some cases it was necessary to issue a sanction as per the science department’s rules of two warnings, then issuing a detention or keeping them in for part of their break if, if they didn’t stop talking quickly enough. If the class stopped talking quickly, they would be rewarded with praise and if the lesson had gone well a class reward of a game or competition at the end, if it was appropriate. Positive feedback about performance is said to have a positive effect on future performance. Skinner called it reinforcement; Thorndike called it The Law of Effect。


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