Learning Theory Paper Essay Sample

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Behaviorism is one of the most used theories in education. Due to it can fit in both a classroom setting and at home. Educators had sought out the reason why for many years. But due to each child learns a different way so should the educator. Behaviorism was study by many great Psychologists over the years. Just to name some that had done work and publish books on the subject are, John Watson, Ivan Pavlov, Clark Hull, and B.F. Skinner.

Behaviorism is defined as,” a school of psychology that takes the objective evidence of behavior (as measured responses to stimuli) as the only concern of its research and the only basis of its theory without reference to conscious experience.” (Merriam-Webster, para. 1) Then it would be best to give the definition of behavior which is “the manner of conducting oneself; the way in which someone behaves; an instance of such behavior.” (Merriam-Webster, para.3 & 6) Behaviorism is a psychology term why behavior is based on how a person acts.

John Watson was the very first psychologist to publish a book on behaviorism from the research that he had done on his own. In my option it does not matter how much research that is publish on the matter because no one will always have it right. We are all created different in the eyes of God so that would mean each and every person is different in their own way. But it never hurts to have some information to help out an educator in the process of teaching a student.

Author Kendra Cherry had stated a quote by John Watson on what best summed up behaviorism. “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.” (Cherry, para 3) What is thought about this quote from John Watson? It is thought that he meet that he can take any child and with the right teaching and discipline he could make them be anything that he wants them to be.

Learning can get larger by a change in behavior while the environment can turn behavior into something better. Behaviorism is made up of two conditions Behaviorism is made up of two conditioning. The first one is by Ivan Pavlov which he called Classical conditioning and she second one is by B.F. Skinner which is called Operant conditioning.

Ivan Pavlov classical conditioning was first used on dogs then it went to the human stage. If the dogs were good they were rewarded and if they miss behavior then they was not. B.F. Skinner did his research around the classical conditioning called operant conditioning. In his studies Skinner had come up with the same theory. In Skinner’s operant conditioning he did his study on rats. In Dr. C. George Boeree Biography on B.F. Skinner he had gave a definition to operant conditioning which states, “the behavior is followed by a consequence, and the nature of the consequence modifies the organisms’ tendency to repeat the behavior in the future.” (Boeree, para. 9) This means each time a good behavior is rewarded then the behavior is marked into the child’s memory. The same can happen when the child is miss behaving. If that child is punished then that would let that child know now and in the future that he/she cannot act that way and be rewarded for it.

In the web site Funderstanding by a series of different authors it had given some easier ways to understanding behaviorism. In the definition it states, “Behaviorism is a learning theory that only focuses on objectively observable behaviors and discounts any independent activities of the mind. Behavior theorists define learning as nothing more than the acquisition of new behavior based on environmental conditions.” (On Purpose Associates, para. 2) Which means base on the child’s environment will make it easier for the child to learn. If that child is pick on all the time then it makes it harder for that child to learn good and bad behavior.

The same website goes on to speaking about the classic and operant conditioning. “Classic conditioning occurs when a natural reflex responds to a stimulus. We are biologically ‘wired’ so that a certain stimulus will produce a specific response.” (On Purpose Associates, para. 5) We as human beings are all different but we each can learn the different from right and wrong just as Pavlov had taught the dogs. “Behavioral or operant conditioning occurs when a response to a stimulus is reinforced. Basically, operant conditioning is a simple feedback system: If a reward or reinforcement follows the response to a stimulus, then the response becomes more probable in the future.” (On Purpose Associates, para. 6) If the behavior is good or bad and if that behavior was either rewarded or punish then it would be more likely kept in the minds of the child.

As it can be seen behaviorism is a major part of any classroom. For if one student acts out then the rest might get the idea that they can also act out in class and not receive punishment for it. It is also good to have a classroom management in place. Classroom management is also called behavior management. As it states in A Beginning Teaching Portfolio Handbook, “For these teachers, motivated students are those who do what they are told to do when they are told to do it.” (Foster,Walker,Song, pg. 99, para. 9) Which means when a teacher tells a student to do something they should do it in order to be rewarded for do the task. If a good classroom management is in place for students and if the students knows ahead of time what the classroom management plan is before school starts could make it easier for them to remember. It goes to say in the book,” students will be motivated when they expect they can complete the task, when they find value in the task, and when they complete the task in an environment supportive of their basic personal needs.” (Foster,Walker,Song, pg. 100, para. 1) If a teacher can make her classroom management reachable for the students and had a reward system set up for them then the students will want to follow the classroom management more.

In conclusion to this, it would make things easier for the teachers and the students if there was a classroom management set for every classroom. Even if the schools do not make the teacher have one but most schools now days do. If it is not the classroom management that the students go by then it would be one set up by the school or most schools have both a classroom management and a school management in which both student and parent must sign off on. I would suggest that the same be one with classroom management that both parents and student must sign a piece of paper stating that they had read and understand it all. If there are any questions than it would need to be asked. A teacher must also set up rewards and punishments to go along with it just as it was stated at the beginning of this paper. Always followed God for he will lead you in the right path to go.


Cherry,Kendra (2014) What is Behaviorism? About.com Education Psychology Theories. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/behavioralpsychology/f/behaviorism.htm Behavior, (2014) Merriam-Webster, An Encyclopedia Britannica Company, Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/behavior Behaviorism, (2014) Merriam-Webster, An Encyclopedia Britannica Company, Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/behaviorism Boeree, C. George, (1998, 2006) Personality Theories, B.F. Skinner 1904-1990, Retrieved from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/skinner.html On Purpose Associates, (April 14, 2011) Funderstanding, Behaviorism. Retrieved from http://www.funderstanding.com/theory/behaviorism/ Foster Jr, Bill R, Walker, Michael L., Song, Kim Hyunsook. (2007) A Beginning Teaching Portfolio Handbook: Documenting and Reflecting on Your Professional Growth and Abilities. Columbus, Ohio. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Pearson, Merrill Prentice Hall.

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