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Learning Theories & Behavioural Social Work. Definitions According to The Social Work Dictionary Robert L Barker (ed) NASW Press 1999 Theory A group of.

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Presentation on theme: "Learning Theories & Behavioural Social Work. Definitions According to The Social Work Dictionary Robert L Barker (ed) NASW Press 1999 Theory A group of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learning Theories & Behavioural Social Work

2 Definitions According to The Social Work Dictionary Robert L Barker (ed) NASW Press 1999 Theory A group of related hypotheses, concepts, and constructs, based on facts and observations that attempt to explain a particular phenomenonnon

3 Methods Methods in Social Work The specific types of interventions and other activities used by social workers in their professional practices. The term is used especially by social work educators……..

4 Theories examined today Respondent Conditioning or sometimes called Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning Observational Learning or Social Learning Theory

5 Behaviourist Approach in Psychology Emphasises Learning Experiments on Animals can explain human learning Concerned with behaviour and evidence not thoughts

6 JB Watson’s Behaviourist Manifesto All behaviour is learned. When born our mind is tabula rasa. We learn how to behave in response to our environment, by forming stimulus-response (S-R) units of behaviour. Behaviours can be 'unlearned' by breaking these previously formed, stimulus-response (S-R) connections. What behaviourism discovered concerning stimulus-response learning in animals is equally applicable to human beings. The mind is private and personal and consists of concepts difficult to study in a scientific way. An organism's observable outcomes - their behaviour - should therefore be the focus of study in psychology. For psychology to be thought a true science, its theories need to be supported by empirical data obtained through the careful and controlled observation and measurement of behaviour in an experimental setting.

7 Ivan Pavlov (1849- 1936) Studied salivation in dogs 1891- 1900 Discovered that dogs started to salivate even when there was no food present 1903 published a paper stating the taught salivatory response of dogs is learned

8 Pavlov’s Experiment

9 Classical Conditioning

10 Extinction After a while the dog stops salivating. The conditioned response is inhibited by non-appearance of food

11 Reinforcement After extinction to resurrect the conditioned response Pavlov had to repeat stage 2 of the conditioning process Occasional re-occurrence of the bell and food together brought back the conditioned response. Reinforcement makes the learned association more permanent

12 Spontaneous Recovery After extinguishing the conditioned response by not using reinforcement, later ringing sometimes saw the salivation (conditioned response) re-occur. Generally this was weaker than before. This suggests we never entirely forget what we learn

13 Stimulus generalisation If dogs were conditioned to a particular tone then dogs would also respond to a slightly higher or lower tone. Organisms respond to stimuli that seem similar to the original stimulus.

14 Stimulus Discrimination Dogs presented with bells very different form the original did not respond The dogs learned to respond only to particular tones

15 Can You Think of Examples of this kind of learning? Mothers learn to discriminate the sound of their own baby. Does the sound of a dentist drill make you respond in particular way? Have any of you been bitten by a dog in childhood? Or developed other phobias?

16 An Example Social worker is bitten by dog on a visit Social worker generalises stimuli to all places where dogs might be – parks, beaches, streets etc and starts to avoid these Social Worker generalises fear to all dogs – Pekinese, Labradors etc

17 Systematic Desensitization A technique used for anxiety and avoidance reactions Assess the stimuli – in this case dogs Establish a hierarchy – large fierce dogs, medium size barking dogs, small yappy dogs, quiet Labradors Client is taught to relax Client imagines moving up the ladder or hierarchy

18 Systematic Desensitisation

19 Child with School Phobia Education staff help a child to return to school Gradually getting used to the bus route Then the playground And finally the classroom perhaps for a short period Eventually the child can attend school normally

20 Operant Conditioning Theory BF Skinner Actions operate on the environment to produce behaviour Behaviour is altered by its’ consequences If the changes are reinforcing then the behaviour is more likely to re-occur Based on the work of BF Skinner

21 Skinner Box

22 Skinner’s Theory “the behaviour is followed by a consequence, and the nature of the consequence modifies the organism’s tendency to repeat the behaviour in the future” A reward is a positive reinforcer An unpleasant consequence is a negative reinforcer

23 Two kinds of Reinforcer Primary Reinforcer – a stimulus form the environment whose ability to reinforce our response is based on an innate drive e.g. our need for food water warmth etc Secondary reinforcer – an environmental stimulus that has become associated with a primary reinforcer. Secondary reinforcers help precipitate primary reinforcers e.g. we use money to buy food etc

24 Positive Reinforcement The ABC of Behaviour (Hudson and MacDonald 1986) is a useful method Sometimes called a “Functional Analysis of Behaviour” Sometimes people have been reinforcing the wrong behaviour EG a child screams and gets a sweet

25 Antecedents of Behaviour and its Consequences AntecedentsBehaviour Consequences Mother refusesChild ScreamsGets Sweet Sweet Concrete reinforcers such as sweets should be gradually withdrawn To be replaced by social reinforcers such as smiles praise and attention

26 Examples in Practice Operant Behaviour therapy with long stay psychiatric patients to improve and develop social skills and reduce unwanted bizarre behaviour Use of Star Charts and Smiley Faces with children Child Guidance clinics helping parent to reward the positive rather than the unwanted behaviour Chaining – a technique to help people with learning difficulties learn tasks

27 Chaining & Backward Chaining Break a complex behaviour into small tasks or links in a chain Reinforce the person for performing the last link Making a bed – the last link is tucking in the sheet Then reward the person for performing the last two links and so on

28 Negative Reinforcement Termination of something unpleasant E.g. children keep quiet to avoid the pain of being shouted at Problem is the shouting may become rewarding –perhaps some attention is better than none Not to be confused with punishment Positive rewarding of wanted behaviour is much more effective

29 To decrease or extinguish unwanted behaviour Example of 10 year old child with learning difficulties and communication problems in residential care who regularly whined Ignore whining – to extinguish this behaviour Reward wanted behaviour – stimulated her with mirror and played with her when she was quiet

30 Time Out Time Out from reinforcement is an extinction process It can be successful – but must only be used for short periods Lengthy time out is not an extinction procedure but a punishment This is ethically wrong And also much less effective than a combination of extinction and reward

31 Do these theories explain all learning? Does behaviour have to be rewarded for learning to occur? According to Albert Bandura we can learn something without trial and error.

32 Social Learning Theory Bandura demonstrated that behaviour can be changed without rewards

33 Bandura et al (1963) 96 children age 3-6 years Split into four groups Group 1 saw an adult behave aggressively towards “"Bobo"” doll – shouted punched and hit with hammer Group 2 saw the above on film Group 3 saw this as a cartoon Group 4 shown no violence

34 Bandura et al (1963) ctd Put in room and secretly observed Given toys to play with including a "Bobo" doll Children's favourite toys were taken to annoy them Observed for 20 minutes

35 Bandura et al (1963) ctd Results Group 1observed adult99 aggressive acts Group 2film92 aggressive acts Group 3cartoon83 aggressive acts Group 4 no aggression54 aggressive acts

36 Bandura’s Conclusions Children who had observed aggression were more likely to behave aggressively Children are more likely to copy real aggression than filmed or cartoon aggression Some models were more likely to be copied than others Children more likely to imitate models similar to themselves e.g. the same sex

37 Three Effects of Modelling We can learn new skills or ideas by observing Social skills can be imitated and practised People can practice and learn to inhibit or reduce their fear responses – e.g. if a client is anxious about doing something we can model the action then he can practice the action in a safe environment before doing it for real

38 Examples of Social learning The child who observes aggression at home and acts this out at school The importance of care workers modelling appropriate behaviour to clients e.g. calm, confident, attentive, socially skilled Care workers in every day work modelling particular skills e.g. how to make a phone call Demonstrating particular skills deliberately for clients to observe and learn Setting up groups to help people learn particular skills e.g. social skills – how to interact with other people in particular situations

39 Implications for Social Care People copy what they observe Behaviour does not always have to be rewarded for learning to occur Workers need to be extremely self aware about how they behave and act Clients will learn from the situations and behaviour they observe in all situations – outings, trips, daily life, and family contact, as well as in formal settings set up to change behaviour

40 Questions? Can you identify which methods are used in your placement? Can you distinguish between a theory and a method? Which problems are more likely to be helped by which methods? Which methods involve the client in partnership and empower them? Can you see ethical or moral problems in using some approaches if clients are not involved in setting goals? Can you apply the ABC approach in your placement?

41 Video As you watch the video try and identify the tools of assessment What were the conclusions of the initial assessment? The methods used – which of these were covered in the lecture today? Evaluation – were clients involved in this? Were the aims and objectives achieved?


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