Behaviorism and Constructivism Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1337 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … behaviorism and constructivism using the beliefs of Skinner, Pavlov, and Kohn as a way of explaining behavior and learning. This also includes my personal critique. A comparison and critique of the philosophy undergirding behaviorism and constructivism is also carried out. My own thoughts regarding the employment of these practices in classrooms as well as the critique of authors such as Skinner, Pavlov, and Kohn and the rest is also carried out.

The concept of behaviorism and constructivism has long dominated the domain of learning as well as behavior analysis. This is due to their in-depth and critical viewpoints regarding the reasons as to why people behave in certain ways and also their processes of learning various skills and habits in the course of their daily lives.

Behaviorism as a learning theory

Behaviorism as a learning theory is traced back to Aristotle. The trace lands in his essay "Memory" which was focused on the association that exists between events like thunder and lightning. The other philosophers that evolved their theories from the works of Aristotle are Hobbs, Hume, Brown, Bain, Ebbinghause, Black, Pavlov, Watson, Thorndike and then Skinner who later developed the behaviorism theory into detail. In deed Watson is the one who is credited for coining the term itself. Behaviorism theory views learning as a straightforward process that occurs on the basis of certain stimuli.

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The corresponding reward or rather reinforcement is said to be responsible for the strengthening of the response which in turn results in behavioral change. The main test in this school of thought is to judge whether learning had taken place. It is said that "the behaviorist perspective, associated with B.F. Skinner, holds that the mind at work cannot be observed, tested, or understood; thus, behaviorists are concerned with actions (behavior) as the sites of knowing, teaching, and learning" (Spillane,2002).

Skinner's belief of behaviorism

Term Paper on Behaviorism and Constructivism Assignment

His theory of behaviorism is based on the idea of learning as a function of change in behaviors that are overt (Skinner,1954).It postulates that changes in an individual's behavior are due to their response to certain events (stimuli) which are existent in the environment. He summed it up as operant conditioning.

In a nutshell his behaviorist theory identified the following:

Certain pleasant experiences (like rewards and praise) being positive reinforcers. These causes the learners to make certain desirable connections between the stimuli and the corresponding responses.

Certain pleasant experiences (like punishment) which are negative reinforcers. These cause the learner to avoid the undesirable responses to a certain stimuli.

The continuous reinforcement does increase the rate of learning.

The intermittent reinforcement that contributes to a longer retention of the learnt material

The positive and negative reinforcement do shape behavior.

A lack of any form of reinforcement may also shape behavior. This is because is a person receives no form of acknowledgement of their behavior, they would most likely modify that behavior up to the time when they receive some form of reinforcement.

Pavlov's belief of behaviorism

Pavlov's theory was focused on observable behavior. He believed that behavior can be measured as opposed to thought. He likened the human behavior to a black box that can never be opened. The only thing that can be known is what comes out of the box.

In his experiment with dogs to gauge their reflexes (as a proof of conditioning) he came up with an important conditioning theory referred to as the first order conditioning.

In this form of conditioning, a neutral stimulus that has no form of natural response in a certain organism can be associated with an unconditioned stimulus. The temporal association causes the response to the stimulus (unconditioned), the unconditioned to response to transfer itself to the neutral stimulus. Thereafter, the unconditioned stimulus would no longer need to be present for the occurrence of the response in the presence of the initial neutral stimulus. In a nutshell, Pavlov's experiment shown that neutral stimulus is associated with the food which is the unconditioned stimulus. Then the unconditioned response (salivation) became the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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