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 educational philosophy
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Remember. This is just a sample.
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