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Positive Behavior Support

  • By: Wayne Sailor
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

A relative newcomer to the literature on management of difficult behavior, and even more recently school reform, positive behavior support (PBS) traces its origins to the science of applied behavior analysis. As such, it is an extension of operant conditioning learning theory into a broader context of “discipline,” or the management of problem behavior in family, school, and community settings. Operant conditioning originated in the early 20th century from animal learning experiments conducted by Skinner and students at Harvard University. These experiments led to a breakthrough in conceptions of how organisms learn by showing that particular forms of behavior are learned in response to what follows them (i.e., reinforcement or punishment) in a contingent relationship, hence the term operant conditioning. Its extension to child-learning and ...

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