Psychological Learning Theories Essay

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Psychological Learning Theories

There are many theories of learning behavior that can be applied to classroom management successfully, and that are currently used in classrooms and are applied to learning, motivation and behavior. Though many teachers have adopted many of the principles of classical and operant conditioning, few would actually describe their techniques as a form of conditioning. Having studies conditioning and psychology with regard to learning, I have made a concerted effort in the classroom to use conditioning to engage students in positive behaviors through association and other classical methods.

Among the more common theories and models related to learning and classroom management include Canters', Dreikurs', Glasser's, Pavlov, Thorndike and Gordon's which are largely used "during pre-service teacher training session" (Tauber, 1999: 41). I would affirm this notion, having been introduced to many different theories in my internships and training sessions with the high school I taught at. Despite the widespread usage of many theories, studies suggest that few schools have actually truly evaluated these models for effectiveness; rather they simply implement them assuming that they will serve the purpose they are intended to (Tauber, 1999). I would have to agree with this theory.

During my service as an administrator, not once was a study conducted to determine which learning theories were most successful within the classroom learning environment.

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In my work as a teacher I have found that Fredric Jones positive discipline model fits in well in a classroom management setting. Among the many tenants of this theory is that the classroom should spend as much time as possible circulating within the classroom and among students rather than simply lecturing to students. As Jones puts it, a natural teacher will 'work the crowd' as much as possible, thus spending as much time in front of students as possible (Tauber, 1999: 91).

Essay on Psychological Learning Theories There Are Many Theories Assignment

I have found that students are more communicative and open to ideas and suggestions when the teacher becomes a part of the classroom rather than an object at the front of it.

From a learning perspective, previous studies on classical conditioning procedures indicate that a "classroom teacher effect" may be evidenced in learning environments (Parish, et. al, 1975). This theory suggests that the teacher's actions have an immediate impact on students, and that generally the level of permissiveness a teacher allows in the classroom will determine the extent to which positive or negative behaviors are demonstrated by students.

To further clarify, studies support the idea that aggressive behaviors appear more frequently in a classroom setting where a permissive atmosphere is encouraged by the teacher, than in an atmosphere where more limits and restrictions were placed (Parish et. al, 1975). This is not to suggest that only a stringent classroom environment is conducive to learning; rather one may simply conclude that in a more permissive setting students are conditioned to act out to a greater extend and continually test teacher control and authority over student behavior.

In my work as an administrator, I have found a positive relationship to exist between disruptive student behaviors and over-permissive teachers. Namely more students are likely to act out in a learning environment that is less structured than one that is more formal. From an individual perspective, I have found that while teaching a certain level of permissiveness may actually encourage learning.

The key to successful management of behaviors and learning is establishing the correct balance between control and permissiveness within the classroom setting. Teachers can allow students a certain level of control and freedom over daily activities, but must still work to maintain a structured and ordered learning environment in order to be truly successful in motivating and managing students in class.

I have found in my teaching career that instrumental conditioning is very similar to the principles associated with classical conditioning but also very different. I generally tend to combine both in the classroom setting to maximize student's learning potential.

Instrumental conditioning is utilized to address non-reflexive voluntary behaviors whereas classical conditioning addresses involuntary ones; it suggests that active behaviors lead to reinforcement, whereas classical conditioning suggests that the responses conditioned are physiological and emotional responses to ones environment (Willman, 2004).

Instrumental conditioning adopts the premise that the source of a behavior is emitted by the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Psychological Learning Theories" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Psychological Learning Theories.  (2004, October 24).  Retrieved April 6, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Psychological Learning Theories."  24 October 2004.  Web.  6 April 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Psychological Learning Theories."  October 24, 2004.  Accessed April 6, 2020.