Explain Rote Learning. How Might Teachers Use This Aspect of Behaviourist Theory to Guide Their Practice in the Classroom? What Are the Benefits for Learning and What Are the Drawbacks?

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Behaviourist theory is a type of teaching approach that can be used by a teacher within a classroom in the form of rote learning. This will be discussed throughout this essay with the benefits and drawbacks. I will briefly discuss reinforcement as a behaviourist approach too. Behaviourism is the idea that everyone responds to a stimulus. Pritchard believed that behaviourism is based on the idea that learning is a change in behaviour and that changes in behaviour occur as a response to a stimulus of one kind or another’ (Pritchard 2005:11). Children’s behavioural response is influenced by the stimulus. Skinner is a psychologist who analysed children’s behavioural responses and came up with the theory of operant conditioning: This concept shows ‘how behaviours are learned through reinforcers and punishment’ (Hughes 2001:22). The behaviour response is dependent on how the child reacts to the stimulus. A reinforcer is something that increases their behavioural response whereas punishment decreases their behavioural response. If the behaviour is followed by a reward then it will occur again but if the behaviour is followed by a punishing stimulus then it will less likely to occur as the child will have to change their behaviour to get a reward. Skinner proved this by experimenting with animals. He placed rats in a box and wanted to see how they would respond to the given stimulus which was the trap. ‘He found that an organism will tend to repeat a response that has been reinforced and will suppress a response that has been punished’ (Papilia 2002:31). Positive reinforcement was shown on placement as the teacher positively reinforced the child by saying ‘well done’. This praise meant that their behaviour occurred again. This reinforcement allows the child to keep engaged in their learning and focused on the tasks ahead. Another example was where the teacher gave out stickers to the children who helped tidy away after play which meant they would repeat this behaviour...
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