Application of behaviorism in Education

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Applying Behaviorist Theory in the Classroom - Application behaviorism in Education


Effective teaching starts with effective classroom management. In order to ensure meeting target goals, teachers should apply the most appropriate approach in motivating interest, managing behavior, and keeping order in the classroom. Behaviorists offer a classroom management style that ensures meeting these objectives, while preparing students to overcome future challenges at the same time.

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Behaviorist approaches to learning originate from the minds of John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner. With his stimulus-response model, Watson claims that “specific stimuli evoke observable responses in human behavior.” Meanwhile, Skinner’s Operant Conditioning argues that pleasant things have energizing effect on people’s behavior, thus we repeat behaviors that are desirable and get rid of undesirable ones. Applying these in the classroom, a teacher may find it easier to understand enormity of student behavior, and encourage them to perform to the best of their abilities.

In “Building an Educational Philosophy” (Introduction to Foundations of American Education Website), educators emphasize the importance of preparing students’ environment to achieve learning goals. The environment of a child serves as a crucial factor in developing interest towards study. It includes both physical and non-physical aspects. The physical aspect requires order and creativity, while the non-physical emphasizes developing positive behavior and interest. An organized learning environment contributes to easy learning, and conditions students to perform at their best. Considering this, the physical environment of the classroom should be well-organized and free from obstruction to allow organized flow of the learning process.

In an ideal classroom, all things should have their proper places. For example, books, coloring materials, charts, etc. should be neatly arranged in their appropriate places. This way, students can move with ease inside the classroom, and would know how to organize things themselves when at home or other places. Also, with an orderly environment, students’ mind will be more focused on the instruction, thus this would promote better learning pace. Likewise, a well-organized classroom provides a comfortable space conducive to learning.

An example of behaviorism in the classroom is when teachers reward their class or certain students with a party or special treat at the end of the week for good behavior throughout the week. The same concept is used with punishments. The teacher can take away certain privileges if the student misbehaves.

To maintain orderliness, learning materials should be neatly arranged in cabinets, shelves, etc., and they should be labeled or color coded for easy access and stacking. During time of use, not all students should be allowed access; instead, there should be assigned leaders or representatives to obtain the materials. Training students in an orderly manner will teach them to be orderly in the same way. Bulletin boards should contain displays relevant to the present topics for instruction. Students’ best output may also be displayed to motivate students to perform well in every activity.

Questions and Answers about Behaviorism in education

What is behaviorism in education?

Behaviorism in education is a learning theory that only focuses on objectively observable behaviors and discounts any independent activities of the mind. Behavior theorists define learning as nothing more than the acquisition of new behavior based on environmental conditions.

Behaviorism educational philosophy


Behaviorism as a Philosophy of Education Behaviorism is a branch of psychology that, when applied to a classroom setting, focuses on conditioning student behavior with various types of behavior reinforcements and consequences called operant conditioning. ... It has increasingly become part of the educational process.
What are behaviorism and social learning theory?

Bandura's Social Learning Theory posits that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling. The theory has often been called a bridge between behaviorist and cognitive learning theories because it encompasses attention, memory, and motivation.

What is Cognitivist theory of learning?

Cognitivism is "the psychology of learning which emphasizes human cognition or intelligence as a special endowment enabling man to form hypotheses and develop intellectually" (Cognitivism) and is also known as cognitive development. The underlying concepts of cognitivism involve how we think and gain knowledge.

What is the study of behaviorism?

Psychology should be seen as a science, to be studied in a scientific manner.Behaviorism is primarily concerned with observable behavior, as opposed to internal events like thinking.

Behaviorist Techniques

Classical (Pavlovian) Conditioning

In classical conditioning, you start with an automatic reflex. For Pavlov, this was his dogs salivating when they tasted food. Then you pair that with a meaningless stimulus. Pavlov used a bell in one of his conditions. So every time dogs got the food, they also heard a bell. Over time, the dogs anticipated the food and started salivating to a delicious sounding bell. This happens all the time in your life, too. Marketers love classical conditioning.

 Operant Conditioning

Classical conditioning is fairly limited when it comes to shaping behavior, primarily because an automatic response must already exist. BF Skinner (a radical behavorist, famous for his assertion that there is no such thing as free will) pioneered research on a different form of learning - operant conditioning. In operant conditioning, the organism behaves in order to elicit a reward (reinforcement) or stops behaving to avoid a punishment. There are four different possible consequences to behavior in operant conditioning. The behavior can be rewarded (causing it to be repeated) or punished (making it less likely to be repeated). We can either give something to the organism (called "positive" because we are adding a stimulus) or we can take something away (called "negative" because we are subtracting a stimulus). Thus, our four consequences are positive and negative reinforcement and positive and negative punishment.

Radical Behaviorism

Developed by BF Skinner, Radical Behaviorism describes a particular school that emerged during the reign of behaviorism. It is distinct from other schools of behaviorism, with major differences in the acceptance of mediating structures, the role of emotions, etc.

Behaviorism supports shaping desirable behavior through modeling.

In line with this, teachers should establish routines and practices in order to promote mastery of desirable behaviors. For example, when entering the room, students should greet the teacher and their classmates. This would promote respect among them, and build camaraderie and harmony in the class. When leaving or going out, they should be taught to ask permission. Not only will this develop good habits but likewise ensure safety.

Moreover, routines will help develop mastery of everyday behaviorism activities in the classroom. During the first week, the teacher trains students on these routines, and designates leaders to act as models to other students. Assigning students as leaders will also make them responsible not only in the classroom but also outside. This maximizes their leadership potential, and facilitates the flow of activities.

In addition to routines, positive behavior can be developed by teaching students some expressions they can use during classroom activities. These include expressions when taking turns during recitation, asking for help, expressing thanks, borrowing, etc. These expressions are the same ones they will use in their everyday life outside the classroom. Students who receive this kind of training will eventually grow up with respect for others through their speech.

To reinforce positive behavior, students who act as good leaders should be rewarded. Reward and recognition serve as motivation for students to develop good study habits and desirable traits. By using rewards, students’ mind will be conditioned to do more what is positive. Rewards could be in the form of verbal positive feedback, tokens, promotion, or simple handclap. Rewarding students for their positive performance will make them value achievement, and strive to do better in school.

Motivating students using the behaviorist approach entails laying out objectives at the beginning of every period (The Office for Teaching and Learning Newsletter 2002). Each day, before the teacher begins with the lesson, s/he discusses the learning objectives to the students. This routine focuses the students towards attaining goals. It also prepares them for activities designed for the day, and gives them a detail of desired performances in advance. At the end of the day, a short evaluation should be conducted by the class. This guides students to determine for themselves if they have accomplished the goals, and likewise informs the teacher of the need to reinforce skills with follow-up activities.

With its use of modeling, positive rewards, and learning objectives, the behaviorist approach develops positive skills and behaviors that could result in good performance among students especially those in the basic education level where basic training is crucial. In contrast to this approach, the Constructivist theory which promotes experiential learning is an option some teachers choose. However, employing the constructivist approach in classroom management may not be applicable especially to students in the basic education level. This approach which allows students to explore different techniques in learning through various activities may affect students’ behavior towards studies. While it may motivate students with strong personality to learn and discover things their own way, it can hamper learning among average and slow learners who need ample guidance and modeling from the teacher.

Moreover, a constructivist classroom does not specify boundaries to student learning (Gray n.d.). On the one hand, it can promote discovery and critical thinking if students identify on their own the learning outcomes they reach after each lesson. On the other hand, this approach could likewise mislead students, making them unable to attain learning goals set for a specific instruction. As such, the behaviorist approach that sets out learning objectives at the beginning of each lesson is more ideal for the benefit of all students regardless of their level.


Actions of a Teacher Who Is Behaviorist

Actions of a teacher who is behaviorist: As a behaviorist, you believe that learning takes place when knowledge is separated into smaller bits. Students are rewarded for successful answers. Instruction focuses on conditioning the learner's behavior. Learning involves repetition and association and is highly mechanical. Behaviorist leaning teachers focus on a new behavioral pattern being repeated until it becomes automatic.

(Schuman) The role of the behaviorist teacher is providing stimulus material and prompting the correct response, while the learner's role is to be the receiver of the information response until the behavioral change is permanent. (Applications of Learning Theories) Teachers with a behaviorist leaning view errors as not enough conditioning. Without repetition and proper conditioning, students will make mistakes. Behaviorism can also be thought of as a form of classroom management. Behaviorists believe human beings are shaped entirely by their external environment.

If you alter a person's environment, you will alter his or her thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The system is based on rewards and punishments. Behaviorists believe that if teachers provide positive reinforcement, or rewards, whenever students perform a desired behavior, they will learn to perform the behavior on their own. The same concept applies to punishments. Behaviorists think people act in response to internally or externally generated physical stimuli. They basically consider human nature to be the product of one's environment.

An example of behaviorism is when teachers reward their class or certain students with a party or special treat at the end of the week for good behavior throughout the week. The same concept is used with punishments. The teacher can take away certain privileges if the student misbehaves. 2. Actions of a teacher who is progressivist: Progressivists believe that individuality, progress, and change are fundamental to one's education. Believing that people learn best from what they consider most relevant to their lives, progressivists center their curricula on the needs, experiences, interests, and abilities of students.

Progressivist teachers try making school interesting and useful by planning lessons that provoke curiosity. In a progressivist school, students are actively learning. The students interact with one another and develop social qualities such as cooperation and tolerance for different points of view. In addition, students solve problems in the classroom similar to those they will encounter in their everyday lives. Progressivists believe that education should be a process of ongoing growth, not just a preparation for becoming an adult. An obvious example of progressivism would be our class.

We are in groups a lot and we actively learn through discussion. We talk about how what we read can be incorporated into our future teaching careers. Dr. Theodore takes into account the suggestions from the previous semester's students and modifies his class accordingly. My reflections pg. 15 As a future teacher, I must ensure that I am prepared to organize my classroom in ways to inspire my students. I believe most strongly in the constructivist philosophy of teaching. I believe a constructivist teacher should be a guide for the student.

My classroom will be full of motivational words and pictures, with bright colors. I want there to be something on every wall that will inspire my students to ask questions. I want my students to think critically with my guidance and support. I feel it is important for my students to feel safe within the walls of my classroom and feel free to explore their environment and create their own learning. Through experiences and investigation, the students within my classroom will continue to take steps forward to their educational and emotional development.

I also believe that children should grow together. Although some students may be advanced, while others may have special needs, I think it is important to start at one point. Occasionally, some students may need scaffolding in order to reach the ability of other students, but through guidance and support I want to allow each child to grow individually. Differentiated instruction will be vital be to help assist students on different learning levels. Moreover, each student's individuality should be considered when planning activities and molding each activity for them personally.

I want to ensure that each student is being challenged, no matter what their starting level may be. My educational philosophy is simple; I believe all children have the right to an enriching education! I believe all children are unique and need a safe and enriching environment to learn and grow, emotionally and intellectually. Education is the stepping stone to a child's future and it is important to make sure every student learns what they need, in order to help them succeed in their adult lives.

As a future teacher, the three areas I believe will make my classroom efficient and motivating to my students are (1) teaching as though I am guiding my students through the knowledge I present to them (2) giving my students the freedom to let their curiosity take them further and (3) encouraging my students to respect their peers and the things of the world. I plan to hold my students to the highest expectations because I feel that is my obligation. I want my students to know they can achieve anything, just as long as they put their minds to it.

I will be open-minded and will always encourage creative thinking. I want the activities my students participate in to be intrinsically motivating. The Russian psychologist Vygotsky emphasizes the idea of allowing students to work together and help each other learn. This can be done through scaffolding; assisting students in the early stages of learning and slowly decreasing the assistance and letting students figure things out independently. I want my students to learn through interactions with their peers and be able to use their minds and construct their own ideas about what information I give them.

This idea comes from the constructivist theory of learning; giving students the freedom to discover and apply ideas through the information they receive. My desire is to have the students be completely satisfied in learning new and even challenging things and that they are fully engaged in what they are learning. I want their learning to be of the purest nature and I want them to really enjoy every aspect of learning. I want my students to feel comfortable in my classroom, so I plan to come to class everyday with a smile, an open heart, and a sense of humor.

Teaching comprises many aspects, but the one aspect I feel that is most important is stirring the minds of students, letting their curiosity take them into learning, and allowing them to enjoy the rewards of their achievements. That said, the importance of philosophy in education is the fact that it is the foundation in which all academic teaching and intellectual learning is built off. My future application pg. 16 Learning encompasses three broad domains—knowledge, behaviours and attitudes.

When we create a positive environment for learning, we set the conditions for students to move through a range of behaviours in each domain, from simple to increasingly complex, until they achieve mastery of the course learning outcomes. The challenge of creating a positive learning environment is one that all teachers face regardless of the physical environment in which learning takes place. Learning can occur in many settings, not just in the classroom. Accordingly, the term “classroom” in this book is used figuratively and includes a wide range of learning environments.

Creating a positive learning environment is the cornerstone of effective teaching. In order for our students to succeed, they must first believe they can succeed. Students must have confidence in their abilities and they must feel that the teacher shares that confidence. A positive learning environment nurtures these feelings by allowing students to explore and expand their knowledge without undue risk or fear. A positive environment is fostered when learning outcomes and expectations are clearly communicated to the student.

Students have a wide range of learning needs and styles, and this diversity must be taken into account in employing a variety of teaching strategies. The size of the classroom, the arrangement of the furniture, the functioning of equipment and other physical aspects of the class all contribute to, or detract from, the learning environment. When these factors can be manipulated to be positive influences, an environment more conducive to learning will be created. Creating a positive learning environment is the cornerstone of effective teaching.

As teachers we are accountable to our students, as well as to their future employers. Clearly , there is no one "right" combination of elements that will magically result in a positive climate for learning for every student. Creating and maintaining a positive learning environment is an ongoing process. Clearly, there is no one “right” combination of elements that will magically result in a positive climate for learning for every student. The methods you devise will be uniquely yours and will reflect your own personal style and the philosophy, direction, goals and skills of your particular program, faculty and students.

You will bring your own creativity as a teacher to build on the wide variety of experience of teachers across a range of disciplines. In teaching and learning Teaching and Learning provides leadership, service, and support in the development, implementation, and dissemination of learning standards in all curriculum areas. We support school districts and their educators in delivering high quality instruction of the learning standards that ensures students achieve at high levels. Clarity of communication, collaboration, coordination, and commitment are the core values that guide our work.

Addressing diversity of learners The guiding research question - How well prepared pre-service teachers believe themselves to be to teach students of diversity? -provided an effective means of ascertaining the effectiveness of one university’s teacher preparation program as it relates to this issue. Discovering the pre-service teachers’ perspective was germane to this study for identifying the degree to which the teacher preparation curricula and field-based experiences influenced their beliefs about diversity; thus preparing them for teaching students of diversity.

It became evident that these future teachers had differing meanings of diversity and there was a perceived disconnect between how well the curricula compared to their field experiences prepared them to teach diverse populations. The purpose for conducting this study has been twofold. First, the objective was to learn how prepared the students in our teacher education program; perceive themselves to be to teach the diverse student populations found in an ever-increasing amount of public schools. Learning this information can influence policy and practices in this University’s teacher education program.

Having conducted this study for this primary purpose, it is encouraging to have research drive decisions that address the issues of enhancing diversity training in teacher preparation programs. MY OBSERVATIONS 1. Classroom Arrangement The classroom I observed was the first grade class of Mrs. Wunderlin at Winchell Elementary School. The student’s desks were arranged into groups of six. I believe that the student’s desks were arranged into groups to promote social interaction, which builds a community for the students. When the students sit in groups it is easier for them to work as a team.

The classroom also consisted of a reading area, which had a variety of books. There were picture books and chapter books that covered low, average and advanced reading levels. In the back corner of the room there was a math area. The math area had several containers of manipulative objects that students could use to solve mathematical problems such as rods and cubes. Along the back wall of the classroom were two computers. Above the computers were photographs of the students and above each photograph were a drawing of a self-portrait created by that student.

This is a great activity to use at the beginning of the year that helps students get to know the names and faces of their classmates. I really enjoyed looking at them and will do this activity in the future. At the front of the classroom was the teacher’s desk next to the board. Beside the teacher’s desk was a word wall. Word walls are excellent tools to use in the classroom. On the board Mrs. Wunderlin had the daily schedule which was reading, spelling, lunch/activity, story time, math, music, social studies, and ending with science. Also on the board were a class number grid and a clock to learn how to tell time.

Next to the board was a bulletin board that had a calendar on it. All these items are essential to have in a first grade classroom. It did seem that students shared ownership in the classroom. They are allowed to have water bottles on their desks and a “toolbox” as the teacher referred to it, which was a small plastic container that the students put their writing utensils in. Besides from allowing students to have items on their desks during class time, students didn’t have to ask to use the restroom, they just get up even when the teacher is talking.

The students also had a “respect” guide that was located on the wall so they can always refer to it. The “respect” guide is, for every letter in the word respect stood for a word that students should follow in the classroom. The letter “R” for responsibility, “E” for effort, “S” for solving problems, “P” for perseverance, “E” for empathy, “C” for confidence, and “T” for teamwork. I loved this idea and will add it to my list of things to have in my classroom. 2. Bulletin board display I went around the School Areas and I saw different Bulletin Board Displays located from the first to third floor.

In every level of Basic Education, they have their own bulletin board display. Some are colorful and some are simple. The contents found are the list of the pupils with their pictures, lists of their subjects and their academic performances, schedules, word for the day, eye-openers, “legacy of excellence”, achievements, and the like. There are no misspelled words used in the display, the messages are clear, precise and consistent, the colors and designs always suit the interest and age of the pupils. 3. School playground I love going there; it’s such a celebration of the carefree spirit that all kids possess.

The rear entrance to the school requires a short walk across two huge sports fields, which are always occupied by screaming, laughing, playing, running kids. There are books and chapters in books and no doubt countless pages on the internet describing various techniques for undertaking this part of a child’s assessment. Over the years I have practiced, I must have looked at hundreds of examples. For a parent or teacher seeking information on observation techniques it must seem very confusing. The following techniques are the methods I have settled on and used successfully for years; both are very simple.

I always use both techniques sometimes in sequence but more often in tandem. If you are new to observation I would suggest doing them in sequence, you will naturally begin to use them in tandem as you gain experience. All you need is a note pad a pen and a watch. 4. Learning resource center Learning resources can be broadly defined to include books, libraries, bookstores, consultants, teachers, newspapers and journals, computers, on-line services... just about anything that will either act as a source of learning or as a point of access to other learning resources.

Until we start looking for them, many of us are unaware of the existence of these resources or under-estimate their potential value 1. Class routines Co-Curricular Activities are positive outgrowths and extensions of the regular curriculum in the schools. A co-curricular activity is one generated for a class or course, with the idea that all students participating in the class or course may be involved. Extra-curricular activities are those which contribute to the spirit of the school, personal growth of the participant and the positive aspects of school participation but do not offer credit.

Skinner theory of education

The work on experimental psychology and advocated behaviorism, that explains behavior as a function of environmental histories of experiencing consequences. Skinner also wrote a number of controversial works in which he proposed the widespread use of psychological behavior modification techniques, primarily operant conditioning, in order to improve society and increase human happiness; and as a form of social engineering. These things are acknowledged by James E. Mazur (2006).

Moreover, his experiment gain more attention because it can also be applied to human behavior in everyday life. Skinners reveal that there are many factors influence in human behavior like basic type of learning such as classical conditioning, and complex learned behaviors such as language. In factors mention, reward and punishment control and play a majority of human behavior that was explain in operant conditioning. This operant conditioning is mostly used in varied schools to determine responses of human behavior. The succeeding discussions will elaborate B. F.

Skinner’s theory of Psychological Behaviorism as Theory of Education in studying observable behaviors of a person relating them to previous stimuli that the teachers have encountered in classroom and encourage desired behavior and discouraged undesired behavior using the methods that have relevant to classroom application like:

  • Contracts.
  • Consequences/Reinforcements.
  • Punishment.
  • Behavior Modification Psychological Behaviorism BF Skinner believed that behaviorism subsistence of perception can be traced back to the earliest days of fallacy and unexplained and is useless (Gene Zimmer 1999).

Task of Psychological Behaviorism According to Watson, J. (1913), the task of psychological behaviorism is to identify kinds of connection, recognize how environment events manage behavior, determine and clarify basic regularities or laws or functional relations which direct the structure of associations, and foresee how performance will change as the environment changes. It is indispensable that one should understand the methods attributing behavior of students in the classroom that teachers may encounter.


Based on the research of Parent Coach Plan (2004), a contract is a written agreement between the student and a teacher that is directed toward changing the youngster’s behavior. Giving emphasis on desired behavior of a student and offering incentives to the student to increase the occurrence of the desired behavior. This will motivate the most stubborn child to behave positively in a proper manner. The term and conditions outlines, time and amount of limitation, reinforce to be administered are laid down on the contract design. Sample of contract Excerpted from Behavior Management Advice Site (2002):

Results of Parent Coach Plan research explained that this contract will help the child dealing responsibility properly and gain trust from teachers and parents as well. It will also build child’s creativeness in doing tasks without being supervised and the child acts in accordance with the rules set by the teachers for them to respond positively. The positive response of the students will also depend on the reinforcement given by the teacher. Consequences/Reinforcements The contract designs between the students and the teacher has something to do with the reinforcement given by the teacher.

In education, behaviorisms have effectively embraced the system of reward and punishments in their classrooms by rewarding positive behaviors and punishing negative ones. Reinforcement is the main factor in Skinner’s R-R theory. There are several kinds of reinforcements that can strengthen the students’ positive response. It could be praising the child in successfully accomplishing a task on time, a good grade for doing correct answer or a feeling of increased accomplishment or satisfaction or giving chocolate to a positive response shown.

This method has been proven effective as tested according to B. Skinner. People will behave and do good things because they know what it brings and expects to receive something good out of it. Like for example, if the students study hard, they have a better chance of garnering high scores or grades. Another, if they will obey their parents, they will receive rewards from their parents in terms may be by receiving higher allowance. This describes the Reinforcement theory of B. F Skinners. The reinforcement has three principles that typically occur after consequences.

First is the “consequence which gives rewards increases a behavior, second, consequences which give punishment decrease a behavior and third, consequences which give neither rewards nor punishment extinguish a behavior” (Skinner, B. , 1953). Punishment Melissa Standridge acknowledged that “Punishment involves presenting a strong stimulus that decreases the frequency of a particular response. Punishment is effective in quickly eliminating undesirable behaviors”. Skinner believed that the student’s learning in responding positive or negative will take a gradual development shaping a new behavior of a student.

Skinner believed more on positive punishment, that if the students do something bad, something bad will also happen. This correlates the teacher’s punishment to the students who are not doing assignments or homework, thus penalized for more extra work (cleaning the classroom before going home) as punishment. On the other hand, a student receives punishment (negatively), if he insults his classmate he cannot take his recess. These are just simple punishments that can help change the behavior of the students.

Behavior Modification

Behavioral modification is a therapy technique according to Skinner. Extinguish a negative behavior by taking away the reinforcer and change it with positive behavior by giving reinforcement (Skinner, B. F. , 1971). Behaviorist Melissa Standridge explained that behavior modification offers educators a way to shape students’ behavior to promote better classroom performance. It needs a combination of methods that consists series of steps outlined by Standridge as excerpted below: Specify the outcome you desire for a child. Catch the child being right.

Ask for a response when you know the student has the answer to help develop confidence. Identify and use positive reinforcement when the student responds correctly. Reinforcement continues until the child consistently exhibits the desire behavior. After the child consistently exhibits the behavior, begin reducing the amount of reinforcement. Finally evaluate and assess the success based on the continuance of the behavior with no reinforcement. (Standridge, M. , 2002) This theory can be an effective method to cause change in student’s behavior.

Students enjoy having positive rewards and positive comments from teachers and other students. Accordingly, this desire for positive comments from teachers and other students is a powerful stimulus. Conclusion B. F. Skinner’s theory of education is a powerful tool that has been tested through several experiments which are likewise used by teachers who are even unaware of Skinner’s theory. The reward and punishment system has been publicly accepted not only applicable in schools for students but also in jobs or works where employees’ productivity is the main concerned of employers.

Employers’ personnel management is geared towards the attainment of corporate vision and mission. The application of this theory helps a lot in shaping the students’ behavior which will then be useful in shaping the entirety of a person to attain the good future everyone is looking for.


“ Behavior Management Package” Parent Coach Plan ,2004. 26 March 2007, from ;http://www. parentcoachplan. com/behavior_contract. php#anchor1;.

“Behavior Contract” Dr. Mac’s Behavior Management Advice Site, 2002. 26 March 2007, from ;http://maxweber.hunter. cuny. edu/pub/eres/EDSPC715_MCINTYRE/Contracts. html;.

“B. F. Skinner, behavioral psychology, behaviorism” Gene Zimmer 1999. 26 March 2007, from ;http://www. sntp. net/behaviorism/skinner. htm;.

Hopkins, B. L. (1968). Effects of candy and social reinforcement, instructions, and reinforcement schedule learning on the modification and maintenance of smiling. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 121-129.

Mazur, James E. "Learning. " Microsoft Encarta 2006 [CD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2005.

Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and Human Behavior. New York: Macmillan. 26 March 2007, from ;http://www. as. wvu. edu/~sbb/comm221/chapters/rf. htm;.

Skinner, B. F. (1971). Beyond Freedom and Dignity. New York: Knopf. Standridge, Melissa. Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed. ), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology, 2002. 26 March 2007 , from ;http://www. msu. edu/~zendlerm/Matrix/theories/Behaviorism. htm;. Watson, J. “Psychology as a Behaviorist Views IT,” Psychological Review, 20158-77

Workforce Education

Author Note Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Terre Eversden to have given me an opportunity to present a paper on the Adult Educational Philosophies – Benefits and Challenges ; their involvement in real life scenarios or the environment we live in. The paper captures the benefits, challenges and example to each Adult Education Philosophy i. e. Liberal, Behavioral, Humanistic and Progressive. Abstract An adult education philosophy, or philosophical orientation, is the categorization of an individual's beliefs, values, and attitudes toward adult education and what the purpose and outcome of adult education should be.

In this paper, I shall discuss of Liberal Educational Philosophy, Behaviorist Educational Philosophy, Progressive Educational Philosophy, Humanistic Educational Philosophy and finally Radical Humanistic Philosophy. These are the Adult Educational Philosophies. Benefits and Challenges of each of these philosophies shall be discussed in brief. Keywords: liberal, behaviorist, progressive, humanistic, radical, educational, philosophy Liberal Educational Philosophy

The liberal adult education philosophy stresses the development of intellectual powers. Liberals always seek knowledge. They work to transmit knowledge and clearly direct learning. The educator is the "expert", and directs the learning process with complete authority. Learning methods used include lecture, study groups, and discussion. Socrates, Plato, and Piaget were practitioners of the liberal philosophy. (Note: Liberal adult education does not refer to liberal political views; it is related to Liberal Arts. ).

According to liberal adult education, "the educated person possesses the four components of a liberal education: rational or intellectual education which involves wisdom, moral values, a spiritual or religious dimension, and an aesthetic sense" (Elias & Merriam, 1995, p. 26). Liberal adult education emphasizes liberal learning, organized knowledge, and the development of the intellectual powers of the mind. It also stresses philosophy, religion, and the humanities over science. The teacher is given a prominent place within this philosophy, and must be well-versed in many intellectual interests.

Liberal adult education employs heavy promotion of theoretical thinking. This philosophy is suited for adult learners because it requires life experience in order to fully gain from the reflection and contemplation involved in liberal education's goals. To illustrate the significance of this philosophy, Elias and Merriam (1995) write: As long as the human person does these things [searches for truth, desires to develop their moral character, strives for spiritual and religious visions, and seeks the beautiful in life and nature], the liberal tradition in education will be a potent force. (p. 42).

The negatives of liberal approach are not everyone is critical thinkers and problem solvers and their opinions can be swayed by others. Example: A liberal classroom setting is a more traditional environment. In the classroom you my just have a lecture or even break students or adults into study groups to help each other out. Another option is critical reading and discussion. This approach allows students to free themselves from past experience. They are able to prepare themselves for diversity and change. It teacher teaches them to be critical thinkers and problem solvers.

Behaviorist Educational Philosophy A major tenet of behaviorism is the belief that "all human behavior is the result of a person's prior conditioning and is determined by external forces in the environment over which a person has little or no control" (Elias and Merriam, 1995, p. 79). Because behaviorism fundamentally aims toward individual and societal survival, emphasis is put on skill acquisition and learning how to learn. Thus, the teacher must create an environment that is optimal for bringing about behavior that ensures survival.

The behaviorist adult education philosophy emphasizes the importance of the environment in shaping the learner. The traits of the behaviorist teacher are close to those of the liberal, in that the behaviorist "manages" the learning process and directs learning. Behaviorist concepts include mastery learning and standards-based education. Some teaching methods used by behaviorist educators include programmed instruction, contract learning, and computer guided instruction. Learners are active and able to demonstrate a measurable, learned behavior.

Accountability is an important concept in behaviorism and punctuates that teachers and learners are both accountable for successful learning. Behaviorism is strong in setting clearly defined purposes, learning objectives, and in selecting experiences that work toward those purposes and objectives. Evaluation is valued in assessing the attainment of the behaviors being taught. Vocational training and teacher certifications are both behaviorist practices. Skinner, Thorndike, and Steinberg were believers in the behaviorist philosophical tenet.

Example: A good example of Behaviorist is a coach. If a coach tells you what to do then you have to do it, otherwise you won’t get to play. You must practice the task on hand in order to be successful just like in sports. The teacher has to be a manager who directs the learner outcomes and design the environment. Many teachers must be competency-based teacher. Competency-based focuses on outcomes and has a certain curriculum that teachers have to follow to get the outcome that they want. Progressive Educational Philosophy

The power of progressivism runs deep in American adult education, as stressed by Elias and Merriam (1995): "Progressivism has had a greater impact upon the adult 14 education movement in the United States than any other single school of thought" (p. 45). The progressive philosophy of adult education stresses an experiential, problem-solving approach to learning. Like behaviorism, progressivism sees the goal of education being individual and societal. However, the goal of progressive education is improvement rather than survival, which is achieved through liberating the learner.

There are five basic principles of adult progressive education. The first is a broadened view or concept of education, meaning that education is not restricted to formal, classroom instruction but is a lifelong process influenced by many sectors of society and daily life. The second principle is a new focus on the learner and the potential of that person to learn more than his or her immediate interests. The third principle is the introduction of new instructional methodologies.

Diversifying these teaching methods in turn diversified learner knowledge gained by learning from those methods. The fourth principle is a new teacher-learner relationship that is interactive and reciprocal. The fifth principle is that education is an instrument for preparing learners to change society. Learners of this philosophy need problem solving skills and practical knowledge. They learn by doing, inquiring, being involved in the community, and responding to problems. Teaching methods used in this philosophy include problem solving, the scientific method, and cooperative learning.

The educator is an organizer who guides learning instead of directing learning and evaluates the learning process. Progressive proponents include Spencer, Dewey, and Lindeman Example: Progressive setting is showing someone how to frame a wall while constructing a house and then watching them do it themselves. Progressive is showing someone how to do something and then they do it while you guide them through the task. Training and Development in present organizations follow such type of education. Humanistic Educational Philosophy

Humanistic education aims at the development of people who are open to change and continued learning, people who strive for self-actualization, and people who can live together as fully-functioning individuals. The humanistic philosophy of adult education follows some basic principles such as the following: human nature is naturally good; freedom and autonomy influence behavior; individuality and potentiality are unlimited and should be nurtured; self-concept leads to self-actualization; perception of the world explains behavior; and individuals have a responsibility to humanity.

Foundations of humanistic education lie in the following: the notion of self-concept; that the adult defines himself in terms of the accumulation of a unique set of life experiences; that an adult's readiness to learn is linked to developmental tasks unique to a stage in life; and that adults desire an immediate application of knowledge. The humanistic adult education philosophy seeks to facilitate personal growth and development. Humanists are highly motivated and self-directed learners; responsibility to learn is assumed by the learner. The humanist educator facilitates learning but does not direct learning.

According to Elias and Merriam (1995), "Humanistic adult educators are concerned with the development of the whole person with a special emphasis upon the emotional and affective dimensions of the personality" (p. 109). The educator and learner are "partners. " Concepts that define the humanistic philosophy include experiential learning, individuality, self-directedness, and self-actualization. Humanistic teaching methods contain group discussion, team teaching, individualized learning, and the discovery method. Rogers, Maslow, Knowles, and McKenzie are facilitators of the humanistic philosophy.

The challenge is as this concentrates on people’s natural desire to learn, the teacher is a facilitator and students relate to past experience with this approach; however, if there isn’t mutual respect between the students and teacher this method will probably fail. Radical Educational Philosophy The radical adult education philosophy promotes extreme social, political, and economic change through education. Radical education does not work within existing social norms or structures, but strives to change those structures. Within this philosophy, the educator and learner are equal partners in the learning process.

The educator is the coordinator of the class and makes suggestions but does not direct the learning process. This philosophy embraces concepts such as noncompulsory learning and deschooling. Exposure to the media and people in real life situations are considered effective teaching methods. Holt, Freire, and Illich are proponents of the radical adult education philosophy. Radicalism falls outside the realm on mainstream adult education philosophy, mainly because the purposes of many adult education activities are not parallel with the purposes of radical adult education. Identification of Adult Education Philosophical Orientation

Related Questions

on Application of behaviorism in Education

What is the application of behaviorism in education?
Behaviorism is an approach to education that focuses on the observable behaviors of students. It is based on the idea that behaviors can be modified through reinforcement and punishment. In the classroom, behaviorism is used to encourage positive behaviors and discourage negative behaviors. It is also used to help students learn new skills and concepts by providing rewards for correct responses and consequences for incorrect responses.
What are the applications of behaviorism?
Behaviorism is a psychological approach that focuses on the study of observable behavior. It has been applied in many areas, including education, clinical psychology, and organizational behavior. It is also used to help people learn new skills, modify existing behaviors, and develop better coping strategies.
How to apply behaviorism learning theory in the classroom?
Behaviorism learning theory can be applied in the classroom by using positive reinforcement to reward desired behaviors and negative reinforcement to discourage undesired behaviors. Additionally, teachers can use modeling to demonstrate desired behaviors and provide feedback to students to help them understand how their behavior affects their learning.
What are the educational implication of behaviorism?
Behaviorism has implications for education in that it emphasizes the importance of reinforcing desired behaviors and punishing undesired behaviors. It also suggests that learning is a result of environmental influences, rather than an innate process. Finally, behaviorism suggests that learning can be measured and assessed through observable behaviors.

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