Behavior Theory In Education Essay Paper

Essay on Behavioral Learning Theories

887 Words4 Pages

Behavioral Learning Theories

Most theorists agree that learning occurs when experience causes a change in a person's knowledge or behavior . Behaviorists emphasize the role of environmental stimuli in learning and focus on the behavior, i.e., an observable response. Behavioral theories are based on contiguity, classical and operant conditioning, applied behavior analysis, social learning theory and self-regulation/cognitive behavior modification. Early views of learning were contiguity and classical conditioning. In contiguity learning, two events are repeatedly paired together and become associated in the learner's mind. Pavlov took this idea one step further in his experiments on classical conditioning where a…show more content…

A 6-week inservice program focusing on the principles of operant conditioning and positive reinforcement was implemented. The study was designed to evaluate the use of behavior management strategies in the classroom, and positive results were found in the decrease in restraints and crisis incidents. Crisis incidents were defined as a child being required to leave the classroom because of unacceptable behavior, e.g., persistent noncompliance. As the revised treatment module began to work, community special education programs began to send students for short term diagnostic placements, and a plan is in development for "transition classrooms" intended for children who no longer need intensive treatment but are not yet ready to return to the community. Applied behavior analysis provides teachers with methods for encouraging positive behaviors and coping with undesirable ones. Negative reinforcement and forms of punishments like reprimands and social isolation can help alter behavior, but should be used with caution. Teachers can reinforce desirable student behavior through attention, recognition, praise and other reinforcers. An article entitled "Food For
Thought: Teacher Nonverbal Immediacy, Student Learning, and Curvilinearity" touched on immediacy behaviors as a type of reinforcer. The article states

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B.F. Skinner is a major contributor to the Behavioral Theory of personality, a theory that states that our learning is shaped by positive and negative reinforcement, punishment, modeling, and observation. An individual acts in a certain way, a.k.a. gives a response, and then something happens after the response. In order for an action to be repeated in the future, what happens after the response either encourages the response by offering a reward that brings pleasure or allows an escape from a negative situation. The former is known as positive reinforcement, the latter known as negative reinforcement (Sincero, 2012). A teenager who received money for getting an “A” is being positively reinforced, while an individual who skips a class…show more content…

Behaviorists also feel that are personality is established by these learned responses, which help individuals develop habits. These habits become so ingrained in people that individuals start to engage in them automatically, which leads to patterns of behavior that form one’s personality (Cicarelli & White, 2011). Some examples of habits include allowing others to take charge in a group situation, waiting until the last minute to write papers, and lighting up a cigarette when out at a bar.
Behaviorism is sometimes described by other theorists as being too focused with the external world and not enough on what an individual wants. In a sense, behaviorism regards people as more of robots, who just respond to whatever the environment throws at them. Under this theory, individuals do not have as much control of their own destiny, operating as just a by-product of whatever their environment presents. The needs, desires, wants, and the goals of person are not focused on as much as theories, such as Carl Roger’s or Abraham Maslow’s Humanism Theory, which gives more control to the individual.
However, Behaviorism cannot fully explain how individuals who have lived in horrendous environmental conditions, such as poverty, domestic violence, discrimination, and concentration camps have been able to show positive personality traits and accomplish great things, while still in the

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