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Behaviorist Paradigm and the Cognitive Theory of Learning

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Behaviorist Paradigm and the Cognitive Theory of Learning

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  • September 2006
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Helping students learn more effectively is a major goal of every teacher. As a teacher of 9th grade High School students it is important to realize efficient teaching methods to better achieve this goal. To help accomplish this we look towards two philosophy methods; the Behaviorist Paradigm and the Cognitive Theory of learning. The Behaviorist Paradigm (or classical and operant conditioning) teaches us that we learn based on how we interact with our environment. The Paradigm explains that the decisions we make in our environment have direct consequences, whether good or bad, and these consequences will affect our decision making capabilities, whether enticing us to do the action more often with good consequences or less often with bad consequences. The Cognitive Theory considers learning to be a mental change rather than an alteration in behavior. Cognitive Theory addresses inward phenomena such as memory, attention, concept learning, problem solving and reasoning. The Cognitive Theory suggests that people learn selectively, meaning they do not retain everything observed or read, and that what is retained depends on the individual and what they think is important. To help students learn more effectively we will give examples of how we can use both of these theories.

The Behaviorist Paradigm can be used to assist the students to act in a mature and professional manner while in the classroom. The nature of 9th grade students does not lend itself well to this goal. The Paradigm states how the use of reinforcements can be used to influence the student to engage in a positive behavior more often. An example of this would be to praise a student who politely raised his or her hand to answer a question. Praise is a form of encouragement to the students. Other student will see the positive attention and act accordingly, as well as the initial student will be more keen to raise his or her hand more often. This was an example of how the Behaviorist Paradigm says that we...

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