Self Determination Theory -SDT - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 01-17-2013, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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SDT is a  non-behaviorist theory of human motivation and behavior dealing with especially intrinsic motivation and autononmy= self determination. People are self determined when their 3 basic needs of autononmy= being connected to your inner self , competence and relatedness= belonging are met and what you do is an expression of your beliefs and values 

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGrcets0E6I      Ed Deci on intrinsic motivation 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N_RFNfMjg4

 

  the motivation continuum 

 

intojected motivation is where kids ' swallow up '  values without identifying or intergrating them 

 

 

So if we take a look at CPS - collaborative problem solving approach , we notice that Ross Greene's says his approach is not trying to motivate kids , because kids are already motivated to be successful so he does not recommend using rewards, consequences etc , but kids do well if they can , their problems are rooted in lagging skills.

 

But SDT says that CPS is about motivation , it promotes intrinsic motivation and self determination by meeting the kid's needs for autonomy =  they express their concerns, participate in brainstorming mutually satisfying solutions , competence = the CPS process promotes cognitive and life skills and  not in a top-down way , relatedness =  perspective taking and working together builds relationship and a sense of belonging 

 

SDT is a great way at looking at different parenting approaches and whether they meet kids needs 

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#2 of 12 Old 01-17-2013, 04:46 AM
 
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Mary - this is great, thanks! I'm going to add this link to the seed discussion thread and then be back to ask more questions...


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#3 of 12 Old 01-17-2013, 04:48 AM
 
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But first a joke...I'm guessing CPS is not an American term? Can't get "Child Protective Services" out of my head. lol.gif


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#4 of 12 Old 01-17-2013, 10:20 PM
 
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I question the claim that "SDT is a non-behaviorist theory." Edward Deci, one of the originators of the theory, created the first version of the theory (cognitive evaluation theory) because he was dong behaviorist research in the 70's and 80's. Here is a link to a list of Deci's publications and you can see at the bottom that he published a number of behaviorist experiments: http://selfdeterminationtheory.org/faculty?id=86. Although the theory he developed out of that research questioned one of the assumptions of behaviorism at that time, it is still consistent with many of the other assumptions and practices of behaviorism. The research tradition of SDT (which includes my own research into patterns of motivation in two alternative schools) is consistent with behaviorism as it is understood by experimental psychologists today. I had a behaviorist professor on my thesis orals board and we were able to discuss my research and it's findings in behavioral terms, so there is no contradiction between SDT and behaviorism in the community of research psychologists that I know.

 

I also understand that the term "behaviorism" as it was used here probably means something very different than what the experimental psychologists of today mean by it, so I would like to invite you to help me understand what you meant if, in fact, you cannot reconcile Deci's behaviorist origins for the theory and your understanding of it. If my sense of the general angst parents have about "behaviorism" is correct then the term is used as a pejorative for management of children's behavior that relies on the simplistic use of rewards and punishments.

 

By the way, I found this thread via a google alert, so I am not familiar with the whole context of gentle discipline and the particular work by Greene that was cited. When you reply could you include the best link to his work? I know that I can google it, but goggle doesn't know Greene's work like you do therefore your link is guaranteed to be good, whereas my picking from the search results is a gamble. I have over 20 years experience nurturing children professionally, so I am sure I can guess what gentle discipline entails, but I haven't kept up with parenting literature recently.

 

Thanks!

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#5 of 12 Old 01-18-2013, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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While SDT acknowledges the powerful effects of extrinsic motivators to get people to do or avoid things as seen on the link I shared - the motivation continuum ,  the SDT challenge to behaviorism is the effects of extrinsic motivators on internalization and intrinsic motivation and the whole question of reinforcement . In the mid-late 90's there was a heated debate  on this issue. SDT was brought to the non-academic world by Alfie Kohn in his book ' Punished By Rewards'  and his other books on parenting, competition, and education etc. So SDT fits in with a constructivist tradition, that kids make meaning of their world and it is important to see the world through their eyes and give them a voice to express their concerns. Alfie Kohn's work relies heavily on SDT and he is considered as the mentor of progressive , working with parenting and education and he is very anti behaviorism.  For me SDT fits in with constructivism and not behaviorism 

 

http://alfiekohn.org 

 

Ross Greene's website 

 

http://livesinthebalance.org  

http://www.lostatschool.org/answers/index.htm   scroll down to Policies and practices - the first answer dealing with Functional Behavior Analysis where behavior is explained in terms of function it serves for the kid. CPS sees behavior not in terms of function but merely telling us that the maladaptive behavior is symptomatic of lagging skills 

 

 

  I hope this helps 

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#6 of 12 Old 01-18-2013, 05:46 AM
 
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Ha! That is an interesting explanation, Mary and probably the one I would have given (though in much more simplistic terms). What's interesting is that I tend to accept the use of "behaviorist" approaches for some things...and thanks to that explanation, I now understand why. They are often for things where the process of the "second pass" is complicated, the child is too young to understand, the parent can't figure out and/or is something that the child will grow out of quickly without any intervention. 

 

Donberg, WELCOME! Would you like to share more about the current psychological definition of behaviorism? I think that would bring a lot to the discussion. I tend to use the term to mean something like, "Behavior modification that does not attempt to address underlying explanations for actions," or something like that. So, if it's a 3 year old who continually puts things in the toilet, the focus would be just on stopping the child from putting things in the toilet - often via  punishments or rewards (but I think other things can be behaviorist too - even "playful parenting" and other things). I think "non-behaviorist" approaches can employ punishment or reward as well, however, what differentiates them is that the parent is looking at some of the underlying explanations for behavior. Is the child seeking attention for some reason, is the child acting out of a recent potty learning experience, is the child curios about water? These kinds of questions would drive the choices about how to handle the situation. 


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#7 of 12 Old 01-18-2013, 05:50 AM
 
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Mary, would you mind checking that quote (which is GREAT!) for the copyright allowance here, which is 100 words or less? If it's longer you can cut out the good bits or see if you have copyright permission. Or, what I sometimes do is link and let members know which page or paragraph they can find the good stuff. orngbiggrin.gif Thanks!  


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#8 of 12 Old 01-20-2013, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I checked the Lost at school web page and there is no copyright there. In any case Ross Greene is doing so much work non-profit so parents can receive the help they need so here we are helping  Dr Greene spread the meesage 

 

Talking about SDT , Ed Deci features in this NYT parenting article  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/fashion/modifying-a-childs-behavior-without-resorting-to-bribes-this-life.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&

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#9 of 12 Old 01-20-2013, 05:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mary934 View Post

I checked the Lost at school web page and there is no copyright there. In any case Ross Greene is doing so much work non-profit so parents can receive the help they need so here we are helping  Dr Greene spread the meesage 

 

 

If you didn't write it, or have specific permission for posting, I'll have to ask that you limit the quote to 100 words - that's the rule for all posts and all members, thanks! 


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#10 of 12 Old 01-20-2013, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I edited the post 

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#11 of 12 Old 01-24-2013, 12:00 AM
 
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I had a professor who was a protege of B.F. Skinner, the founder of Behaviorism, and he started off one of his classes with two readings on behaviorism, one was a chapter from Alfie Kohn's Punished by Rewards and the other was a chapter from Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot The Dog, which is a primer on using behaviorist principles in everyday life. Since they obviously took diametrically opposed points of view on the effectiveness of behaviorism to start off the discussion he asked who was right, Pryor or Kohn? Much interesting discussion ensued.

 

After reflecting on the readings and the discussion for a day or two I caught that professor between classes and pointed out that all the examples given by Pryor involved a focus on one-on-one interactions whereas all the examples given by Kohn were one-on-many examples. He would not take a stand either way on his own question, but he acknowledged my point and complimented me on the insight. I concluded that what Kohn was attacking was not behaviorism as it is understood and practiced in research psychology and as advocated by Pryor, but behaviorism as it is implemented in schools by people who do not seem to understand certain key underlying assumptions of the science.

 

I reflected on this further to figure out what those underlying assumptions were. I went to the professor of my learning class, who was the behaviorist who later sat on my orals board, to verify that what I was thinking was accurate. Here's what the "behaviorists" in the schools may be missing about how behaviorist research is conducted: 1. the subject (child/animal) already desires (or biologically needs) the reinforcer that will be manipulated by the experimenter, 2. the desired behavior has already been “shaped” by the experimenter, and 3. the experimenter has extraordinary control over the environment in which the subject will be reinforced for the shaped behaviors.

 

When I reflected on the ways that my colleagues in the psychology department worked with their experimental animals I realized that they operated much more like the progressive educators that I knew than the more stereotypical classroom teachers that I had grown up with. The behaviorists I know do their experiments on animals that they know quite well and have invested time in preparing for the experiments. Most teachers have little or no time to get to know their children one-on-one before they have to implement their instructional programs which are equivalent to behavioral experiments. Classroom teachers cannot hope to achieve the consistency of results experimental behaviorists achieve under normal classroom conditions and with so little one-to-one attention to the behaviors that are prerequisites to classroom success.

 

So it seems that there is a problematic split in the use of the term “behaviorism” between psychology and schools. And schools are losing out since they have adopted a shallow and incomplete version of what the scientists that I am acquainted with understand. It is probably also true that there are some behaviorists who are not as open minded as the ones I know. In the community I was involved in the cognitivists and the behaviorists get along quite well and have influenced each others thinking. That may not be the norm. 

 

The fundamental behaviorist tenet that reinforced behavior increases is still true, but what has changed is the nature of the reinforcements that must be considered in humans. Not only does reinforcement occur in the environment outside the individual, but also in the environment inside the individual. SDT added the intrinsic and autonomous regulation components to the model, so now a proper account of possible reinforcements for behaviors must also include: emotional reactions to other people, beliefs about how benefits may accrue under certain conditions, the individual's values, and their disposition for some preferences.

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#12 of 12 Old 01-24-2013, 08:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by donberg View Post

 

I reflected on this further to figure out what those underlying assumptions were. I went to the professor of my learning class, who was the behaviorist who later sat on my orals board, to verify that what I was thinking was accurate. Here's what the "behaviorists" in the schools may be missing about how behaviorist research is conducted: 1. the subject (child/animal) already desires (or biologically needs) the reinforcer that will be manipulated by the experimenter, 2. the desired behavior has already been “shaped” by the experimenter, and 3. the experimenter has extraordinary control over the environment in which the subject will be reinforced for the shaped behaviors.

 

 

It does seem that it would be difficult to implement behavioral modification in the classroom because of the reasons you mentioned. What happens in the classroom seems more like a social contract than a behavior plan, and not all students buy into the social contract, so it doesn't work for some of them.

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