Comparison Between Behaviorism and Cognitive Theories in Tesol

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Name: Võ Thị Minh Phương Class: DIP12A Due date: January 6th 2013 COMPARISON BETWEEN BEHAVIORISM AND COGNITIVE THEORIES IN TESOL After decades of development of learning theories, many approaches have been inspired and researched basing on the two most popular theories, behaviorism and cognitive theories. Because of their diverse significant devotion at a certain period in pedagogical history, these theories have been brought on debate over and over, to answer the fundamental question of what is learned (Navarick, 2002). “The primary difference between these two theories is the emphasis on overt behavior in behavioral theory and in cognitive theory, the focus is on cognition or individual thought processes” (Corey, 2009, as cited in Stone, 2012). Many studies have been carries out to distinguish the differences as well as similarities between these two traditions in order to have a closer view on their affection on human behavior in learning foreign languages. Initially developed by J. B. Watson (1878-1958) and more prominent later by B. F. Skinner (1904-1990), behaviorism though has different versions which have certain valuable influence, it still remains the principle of viewing human behaviors and theirs relation to environmental stimuli and reinforcers (Wikipedia, 2012). External motivations are explained as positive and negative reinforcements; therefore, obtaining enough helpful experiences stimulates learners to react with appropriate responses. For example, learners tend to be encouraged by positive praise to keep performing well more effectively; they on the contrary try to avoid poor grade or mistake after being scolded or punished (University of California, n.d., para. 4). Furthermore, it goes on to explain that the transmission of information from instructor to learner is positive and appropriate. In addition, authentic reinforcements are required to help learners maintain positive responses which are easily extinct after time (University of...
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