Group contingencies and mystery motivators for improving classroom behavior.
Gard, Jaime N.
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SubjectAchievement motivation -- Testing.; Academic achievement.; Group work in education.; Classroom management -- Case studies
Much of the psychological foundations coursework for future and practicing teachers focuses on the psychology of individuals. Yet most teachers instruct groups of students and there are important differences between individual and group psychology. One particularly relevant topic for teachers involves the use of group-oriented contingencies. A group-oriented contingency was defined as, "A contingency in which reinforcement for all members of a group is dependent on the behavior of: (a) a person within the group, (b) a select group of members within the larger group, or ( c) each member of the group meeting a performance criterion (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007; p.696). There are three types of group-oriented contingencies, independent, dependent, and interdependent, and each has differential effects on pupils' academic and behavioral performance. This illustrative literature review examines the relative strengths and limitations of each group-oriented contingency and describes research findings associated with their use with elementary-aged school children. Implications and guidelines for the use of group-oriented contingencies to reduce disruptive classroom behavior are provided.