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Effect of Gender on Study Habits

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Question 1: Explain with an example of counselling problem, how you would apply one theory of learning to solve a problem?

Learning is defined as a permanent change in behavior, through experience, study or instructions. Learning theories generally explain how people learn. Ogbebor (2007), states that theory of learning tends to probe into the ways learning occur in animal and man. Learning theories are generally classified into three categories which are; The Behaviorist Theory, The Cognitive Field Theory and the Social Learning Theory. However, there is a fourth theory of learning, which is known as the Humanistic Learning Theory.

The importance of learning theories cannot be over-emphasized as they give us an in-depth knowledge of how human beings and animals learn and this knowledge tend to help us develop and modify appropriate ways of teaching the learners.

The purpose of this paper is to show how we can possibly use one of these learning theories to solve a counselling problem and it is the desire or this writer therefore, to focus on the behaviorist learning theory which believes that learning occurs as a result of stimulus – response association and the interest of this group is on the overt behavior or human beings. Prominent among these exponents, are; The Russian scientist, Ivan Pavlov, Edward L. Thorndike, B. F. Skinner, Watson, Guthrie and C.L. Hull, among others.

Beneath the behaviorist theory are the following behavioral therapies which are; the classical conditioning and the Operant conditioning, etc. From the operant conditioning are several behavior modification techniques as well as in the classical conditioning techniques. However, this paper will discuss how shaping, which is a form of reinforcement technique, an offshoot of the operant conditioning theory, can be used in solving a counselling problem.

Shaping or successive approximation is a type of reinforcement where all successive approaches to the targeted behavior are reinforced until the targeted behavior is achieved. When the desired behavior has been conditioned; reinforcement is omitted until the learner gives a response just a little closer to the goal. Carefully withholding and giving of reinforcement gradually makes the learner emit complex responses that he or she would never perform in an uncontrolled environment. Shaping is used to help people learn in educational settings, the substance abuse centers, as well as in mental institutions

Shaping, as a behavior modification technique, is used in many everyday situations. B. F Skinner (as cited by Petti john, 1998) described shaping as a gradual process that begins with the reinforcement of some behavior that approximates, or gets closer to, the final behavior desired. This approach to operant conditioning has become popular with psychologist and educators. Mental health institutions use shaping to institute toilet training and bed making among its residents. Also substance abuse counselors use it to eliminate drug addiction and teachers use it as an important tool in classroom instruction for many students who need step-by-step instruction and reinforcement.

B.F Skinner used shaping on one of his daughters. She was about three or four years old, and was afraid to go down a particular slide. So Skinner picked her up, put her at the end of the slide, asked if she was okay and if she could jump down. She did, of course, and he showered her with praise and then picked her up and put her a foot or so up the slide and asked her if she was okay, and asked her to slide down and jump off., so far so good. He repeated this again and again, each time moving her a little up the slide, and backing off if she got nervous. Eventually, he could put her at the top of the slide and she could slide all the way down and jump off.

Shaping is a form of behavior modification therapy that has been successfully used in individual therapy with the emotionally disturbed or mentally retarded client. Shaping is a very effective way of helping these patients acquire or learn new behaviors even though they have limited cognitive capabilities. Simple spaced out instructions work better for these individuals because they can achieve small goals over a period of time until a final goal is met.

One of the most important uses of shaping is inside a classroom setting. Shaping is an intricate part of classroom instruction as it eliminates problem behaviors and introduces appropriate ones. Children can obtain behavior patterns that will help them succeed in the later years of their education. At one point in life we have all either received benefits from shaping or introduced new ideas to someone else using shaping.

As a counsellor, I will apply shading to decrease and resolve the problem of hyperactive in children in an educational setting, as an alternative to drug and medical management therapies. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a psychological condition that begins in early childhood and frequently persists into adulthood. Although it is more prevalent in childhood with an estimated 7-8% of children being diagnosed in the United States with ADHD, approximately 4-5% of adults are diagnosed with the condition. In general, males have a higher prevalence rate of the disorder than women.

There are three broad sets of symptoms associated with ADHD: inattention and distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is not necessary to have symptoms from all three areas to meet criteria for ADHD and many adults experience primarily the cognitive symptoms of inattention and distractibility. The hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms are more common in males and are typically more severe earlier in childhood. In addition to these primary symptoms, many children with ADHD experience secondary problems, including significant academic difficulties during their early school years and/or interpersonal difficulties with peers.

To begin this intervention, I would select behaviour and explain to the pupils the nature of the problem and what will constitute improvement. (For example a pupil who never completes a given task or activity). I will ensure that most programmes are pupils centred. Pupils with ADHD can often participate in planning for improvement in their own behaviour and each time a success is made towards advancing to the target behavior, the child will be reinforced. This will encourage them to experience more ownership for positive changes and also make effort to accomplish given tasks. Pupils need to understand or be aware of the problem behaviour and the control they can exhibit to improve the situation.

I would introduce a token economy system, structured to the needs of the classroom. Each hyperactive child will receive a token after each successive step toward decreasing inattention and aggression, is achieved. My hypothesis is that the token exchange system will reduce the amount of hyperactive and destructive behavior in the classroom since the hyperactive students would always want to be receiving reinforcement and the only way for the token to keep coming would be to jettison their inattention and aggressive behavior. This will help to increase the attention level and class cooperation.

I would assist the pupils to develop a rating scale to rate behaviour and document improvement. The pupils will need to learn how to use the rating scale, which should be appropriate to the pupil’s age. Every completed task is scored fully (10 marks), while uncompleted task is scored half (5marks) a task not done gets zero (0). At the end of the day, the total scores are recorded. For a high score the pupil could get a praise e.g. well done, you have done very well etc or a packet of biscuit as it applies to the age or both and this reinforcement will be given at every successive advancement towards the targeted behavior, which is attentiveness.

Question 2: A student is found to want to commit suicide, use one learning theory to give counselling to the student and explain how you will do it?

It attempting to answer this question, one may wonder why somebody would want to cut short his or her life for any reason whatsoever. To the majority, no problem is worth dying for and so it ought to be but unfortunately, a good number of others are often overwhelmed with their problems and easily jump to the conclusion that there is no way forward in life and they must attempt to cut it short. These segments of the human race are subdued by their irrational thinking.

Suicide ideation can erupt from mental imbalance in an individual, depression, bipolar disorder anxiety disorder or schizophrenia etc and all these could have resulted from the effects of drug abuse and alcoholism, failure in academic works, failure in marriages, failure to achieve life goals etc. If the brain is sick too long, it can lead a person to taking their lives. This isn't always the case, as millions of people live with depression and never attempt to die by suicide, but with awareness, education, and treatment, people can be helped so that suicide does not become an option.
The purpose of this paper therefore is to discuss ways of helping a student with suicide ideation, because of failure in examination which implies that the suicide plan is propelled by depression caused by failure in examination. Failure in exam is considered by children as failure to fulfill the expectations of their parents. Also it is perceived as failure to secure stable future for own lives. When this failure is focused into future, it leads to depression and hopelessness. Children interpret their failure as dead end of the road and wish to die. They do not have an understanding that in life journey, failure is just a bend and not an end. Literature has shown that the most effective way of treating depressive illnesses are through; • Cognitive therapy which focuses on trying to change a person's negative thinking and the inaccurate perceptions they have of themselves and their environment. People are taught to think logically, and to avoid negative self-talk.

• Interpersonal therapy which teaches a person how to successfully interact with others. Depressive illnesses interfere with how a person treats their family, friends, and co-workers, which affects how they treat them in return. Interpersonal therapy focuses on social skills.
The writer of this paper will attempt to counsel the student with the suicide ideation, with the first method, which is the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), using the Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, which is a type of CBT propounded by the American psychotherapist, Albert Ellis in the mid 1950s.
The Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) dwells on uncovering irrational beliefs which may lead to unhealthy negative emotions and replace them with more productive rational alternatives.
This suicide ideation student needs cognitive restructuring so as to restructure his/her thinking faculty because the cause of this desire to die is not as a result of the adversity or activating event in ‘A’ but as a result of the way he/she is nursing irrational thinking ‘B’ (beliefs) about the occurrence in ‘A’ (failure) that life has come to an end for him and he has to commit suicide ‘C’ (suicide ideation), being the consequence of his beliefs, ‘B’.
As a counselor, I shall assist the client to understand that failing is not the end of life as it actually avails him the opportunity to prove his abilities by rising up to the realization that he has to do well next time and if he dies by suicide, there will be no next time and worse still, he would be going to hell fire because Almighty God frowns at those who take their lives.
As a counselor, I will help the student to throw away those perfectionistic Shoulds, Oughts Musts, as the human irrational and unrealistic thinking, are rooted in these absolutist thoughts which are most irrational and According to Albert Ellis, such unrealistic beliefs include the following; • “I absolutely MUST under practically all conditions at all times, perform well and win the approval of significant others and if I fail in this respect, it is awful and I am incompetent and unworthy person who will always fail and deserve to suffer” Holding this kind of view will contribute to feelings of anxiety, panic, depression and worthlessness. • “Other people whom I relate or associate with, absolutely MUST under practically all conditions at all times, treat me nicely, considerably and fairly. Otherwise, it is terrible and they are rotten, bad, unworthy people who always treat me badly and do not deserve a good life and should be severely punished. For acting abominably to me.” Holding this belief when faced with adversity tend to contribute to feelings of anger, rage, fury etc. • “The conditions under which I live absolutely MUST at practically all times be favourable , safe and hassle-free and quickly and easily enjoyable and if they are not that way, it is awful and horrible and I can’t bear it. My life is impossible and hardly worth living” Holding this belief when faced with adversity tends to contribute to frustration and discomfort, intolerance, self pity and depression which will at the long run, lead to suicide ideation.
The student with suicide ideation must be made to know that all these irrational thoughts can only lead one to unhappiness and needless sufferings because life is full of ups and downs and there is no way you can have it all your ways always and life cannot be fair to you at all times rather, you should adopt ways to adjust to life situations which will always be present.
I will help the student to understand that failure could be quite disturbing but life must go on well so as to meet up the challenges and I will make him to see other students who have equally failed but have carried on with life, seeing their failure as challenge and determined to do better in subsequent exams. I will make him to understand that examination is certainly not a do or die thing as there are many other places he can exhibit his potentials if not in academics.
At this stage of the counselling, I will teach the student to start to learn and begin to apply the principles of A-B- C- D- E model of psychological disturbance and change which state that normally, it is not merely an ‘A’ adversity (or activating event) that contributes to disturbed and dysfunctional emotional and behavioral ‘Cs’ consequence, but also what people ‘B’ believe about the ‘A’ adversity can either be healthy or unhealthy and if the ‘B’ beliefs about the ‘A’ activating events, are absolutistic and dysfunctional, the ‘C’ being the emotional and behavioral consequence, is likely to be self-defeating and destructive. On the other hand, if a person’s evaluative B, belief, is preferential, flexible and constructive, the ‘C’, the emotional and behavioral consequence is likely to be self helping and constructive..
I will make the student understand that through Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, by understanding the role of their mediating evaluative and philosophically based illogical, unrealistic and self-defeating meanings, interpretations and assumptions in upset, people often can learn to identify them, begin to ‘D’ dispute, refute, challenge and question them, distinguish them from healthy constructs and subscribe to ‘E’ effective philosophy of more constructive and self-helping constructs.
As a counselor, I will educate the student that whenever unpleasant and unfortunate activating events occur in his life, he has a choice of making himself feel healthily and self-helpingly sorry, disappointed, frustrated and annoyed. These are positive inappropriate emoting or making themselves feel unhealthily and self-defeating, horrified, terrified, panicked, depressed, self-hating and self-pitying are negative inappropriate emoting.
The counselor would teach the student to ingrain a more rational and self constructive philosophy of himself, others and the world.
Finally, the counselor would give home works/assignments relating to cognitive restructuring, to the student to go and perform before the next counselling session.

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