Assessment 2 Applying and Communicating Principles of Operant Conditioning

Due Date: End of Week 4, Sunday 1400

Weighting: 30%

Word count: 1200 words (+/- 10%)


You will prepare a classroom behaviour management plan for primary-school-aged children. The main focus of the plan is to apply operant conditioning, which you learnt about in Week 3. You may also incorporate elements of classical conditioning and habituation that are covered earlier in the course.

The classroom behavioural management plan will assume that teachers have no prior knowledge of operant conditioning. On this basis, you will include an opening statement that provides a plain-language explanation of operant conditioning and any technical terms used in your plan. You will also include a concluding statement that discusses the strengths and weaknesses of operant conditioning principles for behaviour management.


Psychology graduates (and in fact, most scientists) do not often gain experience in communicating concepts to audiences outside of their discipline (Brownell et al., 2013). In this assignment, you will practise communicating the knowledge you have gained in the course to a professional audience outside of psychology and for whom the topic is highly relevant: educators.

There are two main aims of this assignment:

  1. To synthesise what you have learned about operant conditioning, and apply this knowledge to a classroom setting.
  2. To explain concepts you have learned at a level that can be understood by professionals from another discipline, who may not have previous experience with the theories and concepts discussed.


This assessment maps to the following learning outcomes:

  • Critically analyse major theories and debates within classic and modern learning theories
  • Synthesise key principles of a variety of learning theories
  • Apply principles of learning theory to the treatment and therapies of a range of clinical and everyday contexts in humans and animals
  • Communicate applications of learning theories to a variety of audiences

Grading Criteria

Refer to the rubric below for detailed information on the grading criteria for this assessment.

Formatting and Referencing Requirements

Use the template provided below to complete your behaviour management plan. Use fonts Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri in size 12 point and use double line spacing.


A teacher at a local public school has requested a behaviour management plan for her Grade 1 students (consisting of six- and seven-year olds). The students are being disruptive immediately after lunch and are taking a long time to settle down. This is an issue across the majority of the students, rather than one or two students, so the teacher has requested a behaviour management plan that can be generalised to the whole group (28 students). The teacher has prepared some notes to assist with this process:

  • This issue is specific to after the lunch break – students return at 1:00pm.
  • Many students often return late (after the second bell).
  • It takes the students more than 30 minutes to settle back into their next lesson.
  • Some of the behaviours that occur during this time are:
    • being loud including singing, shouting (not aggressively), laughing
    • running around
    • throwing paper.
  • It seems that the students feed off each other, laughing at each other and copying what the other students are doing.
  • Strategies that have already been attempted:
    • Writing students’ names on the board, as a warning. If they have to be told off again, they are sent to timeout; if they refuse, they are sent to the principal’s office. (This did not work well because so many students are participating so it is difficult to single any out.)
    • Praising those students who are sitting quietly (but this does not seem to affect those misbehaving).
    • The teacher explaining to the students (at a calmer time) that it is upsetting when the students do this (but this did not prevent the behaviour from occurring in the future).

Based on the information you have available, complete the following behaviour management plan for the teacher. Ensure this behaviour management plan is evidence-based. Provide justification for why you have suggested strategies, and ensure it is referenced appropriately.