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Teacher's Positive Reinforcement Benefit an ESL Learner's Academic Achievement

Teacher's Positive Reinforcement Benefit an ESL Learner's Academic Achievement

1. Professional Synthesizing Project

This project is going to discuss a problem of positive reinforcement in the context of English as a Second Language (ESL). English as a Second Language (ESL) is a programme in which non-native speakers of English who live in a country where English is the native language work toward the acquisition of English as a second language (McKeon, 1987; Rennie, 1993). It is referred to as ESL even though English may be the student's third or fourth language. When English is taught as a second language in a country where the predominant language is not English, the programme is referred to as English as a Foreign Language, or EFL.

2. Sponsor of Project

The main sponsor of this project is a famous as well as local NGO and two other social welfare organisations. Their names have been kept secret due to a mutual agreement.

3. Specific Learning Community

This study focuses the communities of elementary and middle schools.

a). Problem and Challenges

The concept of reinforcement is often misunderstood, and the need to distinguish between positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement may add to this confusion. Consider first the term reinforcement itself. It is important to note that the term reinforcement describes an effect, namely that behaviour is strengthened or made more likely to occur by the consequences that follow it. (McKeon, 1987; Rennie, 1993) Thus, if a teacher or parent implements some form of consequence after the occurrence of behaviour, and the behaviour is observed to be more likely to occur as a result, then reinforcement is said to have occurred. Conversely, consequences that are implemented following behaviour that do not affect the likelihood of behaviour occurring again— regardless of the intent of the person providing the consequence—cannot be said to result in reinforcement. In practice, teachers make a common semantic error when they say that they tried “reinforcement,” but it didn't work or that they have given students some type of “reinforcement,” but that the students' behaviour did not improve. Again, a particular consequence is said to be a reinforcer when and only when its contingent use results in increased rates or likelihood of behaviour occurring.

The changing demographics have posed unprecedented challenges for the public school system to accommodate a variety of needs for English language learners (ELLs) including their sociolinguistic, sociocultural, and socioemotional development. To date, there is a consensus among educators that to successfully address the increasingly diverse student populations and ensure language minority students' academic achievement, school instruction must be culturally responsive or reciprocal to students' linguistic and cultural backgrounds (Au, 1993; Li, 2006). For teachers and schools to be culturally reciprocal to students' diverse backgrounds, it is essential that they learn who the students are, what factors influence their learning inside and outside school, and what kinds of resources are available to these learners. To this end, in this chapter, we provide an overview of the issues related to ...
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