What were at least 3 of the behavior modification interventions/techniques observed during  The Miracle Worker?

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marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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  • Annie Sullivan used something called "planned ignoring" which means she focused on the positive behavior and gave a reward or praise for the positive and did not respond at all to the negative behaviors.

This is a technique used by many animal trainers as well as by gardeners.  You nurture the "positive" and ignore or root out the negative.

  • Annie Sullivan used positive reinforcement or praise when a desired behavior was repeated. At first she used positive reinforcement every time a behavior occurred, and then she used something called intermittent reinforcement (one-armed bandits and lotto tickets) to establish and make the positive behavior permanent.
  • Annie Sullivan used a process of ignoring and non-reward to extinguish the negative behaviors that Helen Keller had learned. She simply did not treat the established behavior as something that was going to earn attention or a reward.  Annie Sullivan did not cave in under pressure.


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