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By Tara Chand and Ravi Prakash

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A counter may be added to tally wrong answers. The knob must then be reversed slightly and a second attempt at a right answer made. (Unlike the flash card, the device reports a wrong answer without giving the right answer). When the answer is right, a further turn of the knob engages a clutch which moves the next problem into place in the window. This movement cannot be completed, however, until the sliders have been returned to zero. What are the Advantages of the Use of Mechanical Teaching Devices?

F. Skinner (1904—). Skinner has found operant conditioning highly effective in training animals and he is confident that it promises equal success when used with children and youth. In operant conditioning, teachers are considered architects and builders of students' behaviour. Learning objectives are divided in a large number of very small tasks and reinforced one by one. Operants—sets of acts—are reinforced—strengthened—so as to increase the probability of their recurrence in the future. In this process it is of prime importance that teachers employ properly timed and spaced schedules of reinforcement.

We know that, in general, when we engage in behaviour which no longer "pays off," we find ourselves less inclined to behave in that way again. If we get no answers to telephone calls, we eventually stop telephoning. In operant behaviourism this phenomenon would be described by saying that when reinforcement is no longer forthcoming, a response becomes less and less frequent. This is the process of operant extinction. Operant extinction takes place much more slowly than does operant reinforcement.

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