Description:

Students learning is focused on observable behaviors. Learning is defined as the aquisition of new behavior in a student.

What Behaviorist Theory looks like in a classroom:

- Teacher gives positive reinforcement- rewarding students for good behavior
- Teacher gives negative reinforcement- punishing students for bad behavior.
- Theory cannot explain some learning- such as recognition of new language patterns because that has no reinforcement mechanism.
- It relies only on observable behaviors and describes several universal laws of behavior
- Students should be active.
- People learn when they have a chance to behave.

Other examples of Behaviorist Theory


-Classical Conditioning- natural reflex to a stimulus. Ex) Pavlov's dogs salivate when they see or eat food.
-Operant Conditioning- occurs when a response to a stimulus is reinforced. If reinforcement follows the response to a stimulus, that response becomes more likely to occur in the future.
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Assumptions of Behaviorist Theory:


- Principles of learning apply equally to different behaviors and to different species of animals. (Equipotentiality)
- Learning processes can be studied most objectively when the focus of study is on stimuli and responses.
- Learning involves a behavior change.
- Organisms are born as blank slates- they know nothing when they are born.
- Learning is largely the result of environmental events.

Theorists for Behaviorist Theory:

- Ivan Pavlov- His ideas played a large role in the behaviorist theory of psychology, introduced by John Watson around 1913
- Edward Thorndike- Law of effect: Responses to a situation that are followed by satisfaction are strengthened; responses that are followed by discomfort are weakened.
- John B. Watson- He was especially interested in stimulus-response reactions to various situations, such as rats going through a maze.
- Edwin R. Guthrie- Guthrie had the notion of one-trial learning - that an S-R connection is fully formed on one pairing.
- Clark L. Hull- Proposed that a number of intervening variables must be considered in order to predict the likelihood and strength of a response's occurrence
- Burrhus Frederic Skinner- Introduced the theory of operant conditioning


Other Links for more information and references:


http://www.funderstanding.com/behaviorism.cfm

http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/literacy/implementaliteracyprogram/behavioristtheoriesoflearning.htm

http://www.psychnet-uk.com/psychotherapy/psychotherapy_behaviorism.htm

http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Behaviorism

http://www.msu.edu/~kalinkat/professionalpages/TechMatrixMaterials/BehaviorismSummary.htm