CE420: Curriculum Development
Professor Katherine Berry
October 20, 2012
Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select -- doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. --John Watson, Behaviorism, 1930
Behaviorism is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behavior is acquired through conditioning (Behaviorism, 2012). I will address how behavioral perspective connects to early childhood theory. I will also discuss if the behavioral model is supported by current breakthroughs in brain research, relevant current trends and best practices used in private and community schools. I will then explain how the behavioral model support best practices like DAP and maximizes student development in the Cognitive, Language, Affective, Aesthetic, Physical, and Social domains. Finally, I will conclude by either defending the curriculum model or questioning it based on my examination. We know that human beings are creatures of habit and studying past behavior patterns of humans in a given situation helps to anticipate future behavior in a similar situation (Answers, 2012).
Behavior perspective connects to early childhood theory in several different ways. One way is that researchers have shown that deficits in language development, such as specific language impairment are related to deficits in various psychosocial outcomes. B.F.Skinner studied operant conditioning by conducting experiments using animals. Skinner identified three types of responses or operant that can be used to follow behavior. The first response is the neutral operant which is the responses from the environment the neither increases or decreases the probability of a behavior being repeated. The second response is the reinforcers which are the responses from the environment that increases the probability of a behavior being repeated. Reinforcers can either be negative or positive. The third response is the punisher which is the response from the environment that decreases the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. Punishment weakens behavior. Skinner showed how positive reinforcement strengthens a behavior. Skinner also showed how negative reinforcement worked and could also strengthen behavior when an unpleasant reinforce was removed (McLeod, 2007). John B. Watson coined the term “Behaviorism” in 1913. Behaviorism assumes that behavior is observable and can be correlated with other observable events. There are events that precede and follow behavior. The goal of behaviorism is to explain relationships between antecedent conditions (stimuli), behavior (responses), and consequences (reward, punishment, or neutral effect). Watson stated in his autobiographical sketch 'I never wanted to use human subjects. I hated to serve as a subject. I didn't like the stuffy, artificial instructions given to subjects. I always was uncomfortable and acted unnaturally. With animals I was at home. If felt that, in studying them, I was keeping close to biology with my feet on the ground. More and more the thought presented itself; can’t I find out by watching their behavior everything that the other students are finding out by using [human subjects]?”(Watson, 1913).
There are seven different areas that brain research will shift the current behavioral orientation of teaching and learning. The first area is brain imaging which is a relatively recent development of neuro-imaging technologies escalated the scientific study of our brain and cognition. The second area is the mirroring system which is parental genetic information combines to provide a developing embryo with the necessary bodybuilding directions. The third area is called the plastic...