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Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Cconstructivism

Without going in to details, learning is” a permanent change in behavior.” (Burns, R, 1995) and can be gained through observation or interaction. These include behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.

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In this paper we are going to comprise and have personal reactions toward these three schools of thought.

“Is there any best method in teaching English?”. This is the commonest question that English teachers raise. Most teachers try to be the best in their classrooms, but they even don’t know how. Obviously, there is no best method to use in teaching English; we should take all of them in to consideration and manipulate the fruitful points.

According to scholars in cognitivism and constructivism students are responsible for their own knowledge; experiences, cultural and social aspects are so important in constructing the knowledge and the teacher is a guider. In contrast to behaviorists who know humans as a programmed machine which achieve knowledge through repetition and conditioning.

In my opinion, when learners think about an issue critically and have some ideas from different aspects to solve the problems, they understand the idea better, Thus, collaboration and interaction motivate the students; the motivated student has no time to devote to do other unrelated things in the classroom. Therefore, they can work in groups and have explanation or prediction and make sense of current experience.

However, we can’t deny the role of conditioning and repetition in learning another language. According to elements of observational learning students pay attention by marking and highlighting and as they memorize the knowledge they can remember it easily. “when individuals are learning a new behavior, they will learn it faster if they are reinforced correct response.” (Woolfolk, A, 2016). Reinforcement plays a really essential role in learning. When the teacher commends the students systematically they have more positive reactions toward their learning.

As a teacher who works in ministry of education, I think behaviorism is more dominant at Iranian school. Students and their inner abilities, intelligence – according to multiple intelligence theory by Gardner – are ignored. The higher level the students are the less creativity and critical views they have.

The cultural and social learning (authenticity) are ignored as well. Moreover, group working and collaborating play little role in Iranian schools. Students are not able to predict and organize their knowledge. As they are fed by the teacher they can’t use the knowledge they know to understand the subject that they don’t know.

The focus is most on the operant conditioning and students are likely to memorize the knowledge rather than understand the point. The testing tools also are not that professional in order to evaluate students who are learning through constructivism and cognitivism. The materials which have been covered in the books are not powerful enough to juice up the students discovering abilities and help them to build their own knowledge.

In conclusion, as I mentioned before none is superior to another. We have to recognize the advantages of each and use them appropriately. Teachers have to put both students’ inner abilities and the effects of habit formation into consideration. But they have to help students to level up their intellectual abilities and build their own knowledge with previous experiences.