Behaviorism in the Classroom
Behaviorist learning theory has been discussed for many years. Although it is an older learning theory, it still can be used in the classroom today. There are instructional strategies that incorporate behaviorism. Teaching math at the secondary level and having to prepare students for state standardized test, I can appreciate many of the ideas that behaviorist learning theory has to offer. Also, how technology can help enhance some of these ideas in the classroom.
There are many articles that explain about behaviorism. Two articles that I have recently read are Behaviorism: From Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology by Melissa Standridge and The Behaviorist Orientation to Learning by M. K. Smith. Behaviorism is the idea that humans learn from activity, repetition, and reinforcement (Smith, 1999). These three ideas have been involved in teaching since I was in elementary school. The idea that teachers create lessons that cause students to take an active role in their learning has always been thought of as good teaching. Also, it is important that students understand simple ideas that are learned by doing again and again. For example, spelling, learning names of states, and multiplication tables are all things that we have learned by repeating information. Finally, positive reinforcement helps the students understand what behaviors are appropriate in the classroom and if the work they are doing is correct and accurate. Behaviorists believe that although behavior is learned that it could also be unlearned (Standridge, 2002). Reinforcement, both negative and positive, can help unlearn unacceptable behavior and replace it with acceptable behavior.
Two instructional strategies that use the ideas from behaviorism are homework and practice, and reinforcing effort. Both of these strategies are described in the book Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that...
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