of the following ideas could be used as a springboard for a
thoughtful reflection about behaviorism. Encourage learners to expand on the information they
have read by provided examples from their own lives and offering
original insights or creative applications.
how modeling and observational learning (see Bandura's Social
Learning Theory) has impacted your behavior at some point in
ways in which you could use Bandura's Social Learning Theory
to establish behavioral guidelines for your classroom.
- What is the relationship between Bandura's Social Learning Theory
and Vygotsky's views of development.
several behavior modification techniques that were used in classrooms
you participated in or taught in. Were these techniques effective?
what you consider to be the strengths/and or weakness of operant
conditioning for helping you to control behavior in a classroom
several ways in which you could employ Thorndike's Law of Effect
in an effort to elicit specific behaviors from learners.
some the problems that can arise with the use of positive and
negative reinforcers. Use examples from your own childhood or
from your teaching experiences.
the value of intrinsic motivation and describe specific ways
in which you can enhance intrinsic motiviation in your students
the use of punishers in the classroom. Provide examples of effective
and ineffective punishers.
the concept of generalization, discuss why it is important to
help your students develop positive attitudes regarding classroom
tasks and their own abilities.
can a classroom teacher help her students become self-regulators?
Provide specific examples.
ways in which some types of reinforcement might be inappropriate
or counter-productive in a classroom setting.
theories assert that we can only assume learning has taken place
when there is an observable change in behavior. Why is this
a useful distinction for a teacher to make, on the one hand,
but a troubling assumption on the other?
about some of the forms of punishment that you have seen adminstered
in your school career. Was each of these punishments effective
or damaging? Explain your reasoning.
two or three ways in which you can use the concept of extinction
to help alleviate test-taking or mathematics anxiety in your
several ways that you could use schedules of reinforcement in
the classroom. Classify each idea as a fixed-ratio, variable-ratio,
fixed-interval or variable-interval method and explain why you
think this method would be most appropriate for reinforcing
the behavior you are trying to elicit.
several situations in which secondary reinforcers, such as grades
or praise, might not be effective motivators.
how you would set up a classroom system in which students become
accustomed to providing the reinforcement for each other.
an extra-curricular reading program that provides appropriate
positive reinforcement to the children participating. Be prepared
to share your ideas with the class.
a reinforcement program in which the entire class, or several
large groups of children must depend on each other's good behavior
to receive positive reinforcers. Be prepared to share your ideas
with the class.
Your Own Assignment
your own learning objective and design a short activity to support
The Behavioral Kiss
class by offering each student a handout or another paper. Whenever
a student say's "thank you," give that student a chocolate
kiss and say "you're welcome." Eventually the students
should catch on and consistently thank you for the paper in
order to receive a candy. This brief illustration of operant
conditioning may be silly, but it's fun.
on Behavioral Methods of Maintaining Order in the Classroom
Invite your students to recall behavioral proceedures their
own teachers used in the classroom—sytems of reward and
punishment, stimulus/response, response/stimulus. Ask them how
well these systems worked. Did they enhance learning? Did they
help the teacher's to keep order? How did the student's feel
about these systems.
on Classical Conditioning
Invite your students to recall a song that evokes powerful
emotions for them. Ask them if there is a specific event or
person that they associate with that song. One student shared
the story of how her elderly dog convulsed and died in her arms
while she was watching the movie "Sgt. Bilko." To
this day, she has a strong distaste for that movie and other
movies of that genre. Point out that this is the power of classical
conditioning and that a teacher can use this behavioral principle
to her advantage by helping her students to build positive associations
between their learning activities and things that they already
love. For example, she might invite students to read in a comfortable
loft with pillows and stuffed animals. She might create mathematics
activities that include outdoor games. She can also help students
to overcome negative associations (such as test anxiety), by
slowly building a new set of associations with the students
(ie. test day is also treat day; introducing authentic testing
activities that are enjoyable, etc.)
Psychology with Phil Zambardo—PBS series.
flim clips that show how positive teacher expectations change
student behavior (cues 10:43 and 11:28).
Books on Learning