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Perception and Use of Reinforcement by Special Education Teachers

Dovey, TM, Francis, R, Corbett, S and Dibb, Bridget (2017) Perception and Use of Reinforcement by Special Education Teachers The Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 17 (4). pp. 282-293.

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The current study aimed to investigate whether special education teachers shared similar difficulties in their understanding of reward and punishment as their mainstream peers.


Thirty-five teachers working in six special education needs schools took part in a mixed methods study to explore their use and understanding of reinforcement principles. The purpose of the mixed methods approach was to triangulate the teachers use and perceived use of different reinforcement strategies within the classroom.


Teachers’ had a good grasp of positive reward based strategies, but their understanding of the other three types of reinforcement (negative reward, punishment and penalty) was less accurate. There was a clear aversion amongst the sample to discuss punishment with many stating that they do not use it, which contrasted with the observations.


Structured continued professional development interventions are required to rectify the discrepancies between belief and evidence.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Psychology
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Dovey, TM
Francis, R
Corbett, S
Date : 12 June 2017
DOI : 10.1111/1471-3802.12386
Copyright Disclaimer : This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Dovey, T. M., Francis, R., Corbett, S. and Dibb, B. (2017), Perception and use of reinforcement by special education teachers. J Res Spec Educ Needs. doi:10.1111/1471-3802.12386, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Reinforcement; Punishment; Teaching and Teachers; Mixed Methods
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 21 Feb 2017 18:03
Last Modified : 12 Jun 2019 02:08

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