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Discuss some factors influencing moral and pro-social development in an individual.

Pro social behavior is described as intentional behavior usually motivated by empathy and an overall concern for the welfare of others (Sanstock, 2007). Moral development sums up the ethical changes that one experiences as they develop from childhood to adulthood. There are several factors that influence the development in an individual. Individual factors can influence whether or not an individual will give aid in a situation or express feelings of compassion. When acting on individual instincts, they tend to fulfill personal needs and also help maintain positive outlook for them so that others can identify with them being positive and well-meaning persons. Social factors will also influence their actions. A person is more likely to readily offer aid to a person of their social group but will show hesitation to the one they consider a stranger. This is due to the feeling of shared closeness and emotional bonds that will be formed in the course of their interaction. Another factor that will influence actions of an individual is the number of persons present in the given scenario. The fewer people are present in a situation, the more compelled the individual will be to offer assistance due to a strong emotional connection. There are a number of ways in which a teacher can adopt these moral and pro-social behaviors in the classroom setting. Teachers will need to be competently trained in ways of implementing values in the classroom. By having students involved in decision–making and  participating in group discussions, teachers will enable them develop social skills and tolerance to one another. Developing positive ways of punishing bad behavior to ensure students know why they are punished and what they would have done instead in a given situation. Giving threats and harsh punishments will only quell the situation for a while, but it will crop up again. By having all the players in the school setting from academic to non-teaching staff and parents acting as role models, they will play a big role in shaping the lives of the students (Osher et al, 2004).

Describe the differences between social cognitive, behavioral, and constructivist learning theories

Cognitive learning theory is of the thought that learning process is an internal intellectual process that seeks to train the memory of the human brain. Teachers and educators who rely on this form of learning process will use models and activities that seek to improve mental capacity of the learner. A good example is for a teacher to engage students by thinking out loud on a problem, and this creates a memorable situation for a student. So, when faced with a similar scenario, students will be able to retrieve and apply the necessary mode of problem solving. Behavioral system of learning is based on conditioning and the development of new actions. Not only is education influenced by changes in the environment but also by the changes in an individual’s behavior. In a classroom setting, this theory can be used by having a reward system the teacher will recognize for students who do exceptionally well in their lessons or at times show case a good deed such as good behavior in class during the week and give some exceptional privilege to them. The constructivist learning theory uses a top down model of education where the students are exposed to more difficult situations and learn the fundamentals in the process. It is based on the fact that students will not learn from listening to the teacher or reading from textbooks all the time. They will need other methods that will see those theoretical lessons put into practical uses. The teacher in a classroom setting will act as a helper and will offer guidance to students as they discover theories and solve problems on a realistic front. This prepares them to be all rounded so that they not only learn but develop problem solving skills.

Classical conditioning uses the art of association. Students learn to associate a certain kind of behavior with a certain stimuli. Operant conditioning is whereby the individuals behavior is altered by the consequences expected form such behavior. Educators will incorporate the use of these methods when they need to rectify or reward behavior. Examples include having a positive outlook when students walk into a classroom, having decorative and eye catching learning aids as well as a classroom, giving the students enough time and opportunity to plan ahead of time for a particular class thus having dialogue among them and with the teacher. Operant conditioning will involve having a reward system for good behavior in the classroom, reinforcing punishment of bad behavior and recognizing and reinforcing good deeds. Negative punishment such as detention should be used, and the teacher should be aware not to punish the students’ personality but instead the bad deed. They should also explain what the deed is and do this in a consistent manner without being biased.

Describe how contingency contracts can be used in the classroom to increase and decrease undesired behavior

A contingency contract is an agreement mostly written, between the student and the teacher and it seeks to give an overview of the management of the classroom (Jones & Jones, 1995). It provides the expected good behavior of the students during class time, what constitutes to an unbecoming student, and behavior and the expected consequence for this sort of behavior (Henson & Heller, 1999). They are used to ensure that students are their own assessors of their behavior and of their actions and are solely responsible for the fates that befall them. The teacher and the students come up with the terms of the contract in incidences where some may oppose, they are denied a part in the reward system for good behavior and after a period they will be in agreement. The reward should be instantaneous when there is good behavior or performance noted (Csanyi et al, 1970). When the system seems to favor a certain group of students and not the others, such kind of situation will need to be abolished or reformed. Some contracts may not offer punishments or rewards in fair manner; honesty is a key component as the students are in a learning process. It must be systematic and any changes to be carried out must be done so with effective consultations from all the students and the teacher.

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