There are three behaviorist theories,
in this essay I will address the behaviorism theory. Behaviorism is a theory of
learning that is based on the idea that behaviors could be modified or controlled
based on the consequences of a behavior. (Verywell, 2017) Behavior is
very complex. Individual ideas and backgrounds we come from hake us all have a
different behavior and that makes us unique. There isn’t one person who thinks
or acts the same as anyone else that’s why were all different and unique.
John Watson published the article called
psychology as the behaviorist views it in 1913. (simplypsychology.org, 2017) In
his article he proposed the process of classical conditioning. There are two
main parts of Behaviorism. The two parts are classical conditioning and operant
individual differences in behavior were due to different experiences of
learning is what Watson believed.” (Simplypsychology.org, 2017) Change of someone’s
behavior can only happen by changing the environment around them.
Imagine riding your bike down a dark
road the road has many pot holes and you almost crash and hit the car in the
other lane who swerved to miss a hole. Your pulse rapidly increases and your
palms become sweaty. You continue on the road even with your near collision.
The next time you drive down this road you get the same feelings of sweaty
hands and a rapid pulse. There aren’t any cars around this time so why do you
feel this way?
Ivan Pavlov and john Watson have the explanation.
Pavlov did an experiment on a dog with a bell and food. When food was present the
dog would salivate. Pavlov used the bell to teach the dog that when the bell is
rung it is time to eat eventually just the ring of the bell was enough to make
the dog salivate. John Watson also did an observation called “Little Albert”.
Little Albert was given a white rat which he was not afraid of. Every time he
was given the rat in front of him one of john’s assistants would hit a hammer
against a steel bar, this caused albert to jump and then cry. They did this
several times until just the rat being in front of him made him cry and crawl
away. These observations and procedures are called classical conditioning.
Classical conditioning when
two stimuli are often paired together to get a response.
If we take a closer look at the
experiment of Little Albert, albert was scared of the noise at first then he
became scared of the rat until the rat alone made him scared. The loud noise is
referred to as the unconditioned stimulus. Unconditioned stimulus is something that
comes natural it automatically triggers a response. The reaction to fear is
called unconditioned response which is the automatic reaction to something. The
neutral stimulus is this observation was the white rat. By seeing the rat, it
does not trigger a response. The rat and the noise are paired together and
eventually the rat becomes the conditioned stimulus. The experiment and
observation that john Watson did isn’t the only classical conditioning reaction
there are many more such as anxiety and happiness and fear.
Classical conditioning in the classroom is
important. Teachers need to associate school with a positive attitude and
emotion towards learning. Students could think of school as a negative
experience that would have a bad result the child could not want to learn or
even come to school, they could develop a phobia. Bulling for example would
create a negative experience at school weather a student didn’t know the
correct answer or if the student’s pants are too short this could humiliate the
student and cause the student to be afraid of coming to school or afraid of a
Examples of operant conditioning are winning
a body building competition or winning a race because they are reinforced by
the results. Operant conditioning is behavior that is changed and encouraged to
have this behavior because of negative and positive reinforcement. (Dictionary.com, 2017) Edward Thorndike
was one of many behaviorists who studied operant conditioning. Edward was the first to
observe the behavior of animals trying to escape from boxes. B.F. Skinner took
Thorndike’s law of effect and made his own twist on it. Skinners box was an
invention skinner made after he did his own research. His experiment involved a
rat who pulled the lever to receive food which made the rat pull the lever
often to receive the food.
The difference between classical conditioning and
operant conditioning is that classical conditioning is something that isn’t learned
it’s just a natural response. Operant conditioning is learned, your behavior
changes by reinforcement or punishment.
Let’s talk about positive and negative reinforcement.
Reinforcement is when one encourages a behavioral pattern by rewarding them. (Dictionary.com, 2017) Positive reinforcement
is reinforcing a behavior that someone or something finds rewarding. For example,
at my job we reward the children with a skittle each time they do a good deed. Negative reinforcement makes
the behavior stronger because it stops the unwanted behavior. (Simplypsychology.org,
2017) Again the example with the skittles at work if we were to give the
children 10 skittles in a baggy and have the children give a skittle back every
time they misbehave and at the end of the day however many are in their baggy
they get to eat, this would strengthen the good behavior of the children.
Skinner took the rat and did another observation and showed how negative
reinforcement works. He put the rat in the box again but had an electric
current running through it which discomforted the rat. Every time the rat would
hit the leaver the current would shut off so the rat would go right to the
leaver and shut it off every time.
Positive and negative punishment are
both used by many adults to get children to react a certain way neither positive
or negative punishment are the right way sometimes it takes a little of both to
get the outcome you might be looking for. Positive punishment is designed to
weaken or eliminate a response rather than increase it. (Simplypsychology.org,
2017) for example if your cell phone were to ring in class and the teacher
tells the class why it isn’t okay to have your phone on in class. Negative
punishment would be when something they enjoy is removed from them. For
example, taking away recess time when they are not listening in class.
Behavior shaping theory of learning was built by
skinner. He believes that if punishment and rewards are used the right way it
will make the person or animal perform the desired behavior. Each time they get
closer to the desired behavior the reward should change in the direction of the
“Learning is viewed as a process of acquiring
and modifying associations among stimuli and responses”. (View.ebookplus.pearsoncmg.com,
2017) Many things I would do in my classroom
would fall under the behaviorism category. Classroom management is important
when wanting to have effective teaching and learning. I work at daycare and we
love to use positive reinforcement. It works for most of the children. In my
class room I would first set ground rules and if they are followed every day I
would let them chose a reward. For the children who do not listen they will
have to do more homework or read an extra chapter as their friends got to play
a game or have free time. From working in a daycare for 6 plus years and
student mentoring a few times I have picked up on a few ways to get your students
to follow the rules.