behaviorist theory in education
Skinner was influential in defining radical behaviorism, a philosophy codifying the basis of his school of research (named the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, or EAB.) While EAB differs from other approaches to behavioral research on numerous methodological and theoretical points, radical behaviorism departs from methodological behaviorism most notably in accepting treatment of feelings, states of mind and introspection as existent and scientifically treatable. This is done by identifying them as something non-dualistic, and here Skinner takes a divide-and-conquer approach, with some instances being identified with bodily conditions or behavior, and others getting a more extended ‘analysis’ in terms of behavior. However, radical behaviorism stops short of identifying feelings as causes of behavior. Among other points of difference were a rejection of the reflex as a model of all behavior and a defense of a science of behavior complementary to but independent of physiology.
Behaviorism is both a psychological movement and a philosophy. The basic premise of radical behaviorism is that the study of behavior should be a natural science, such as chemistry or physics, without any reference to hypothetical inner states of organisms. Other varieties, such as theoretical behaviorism, permit internal states, but do not require them to be mental or have any relation to subjective experience. Behaviorism takes a functional view of behavior.
Behaviorists explain motivation in terms of schedules of positive and negative reinforcement. Just as receiving food pellets each time it pecks at a button teaches a pigeon to peck the button, pleasant experiences cause human learners to make the desired connections between specific stimuli and the appropriate responses. For example, a student who receives verbal praise and good grades for correct answers (positive reinforcement) is likely to learn those answers effectively; one who receives little or no positive feedback for the same answers (negative reinforcement) is less likely to learn them as effectively. Likewise, human learners tend to avoid responses that are associated with punishment or unpleasant consequences such as poor grades or adverse feedback.
Behaviorist teaching methods tend to rely on so-called “skill and drill” exercises to provide the consistent repetition necessary for effective reinforcement of response patterns. Other methods include question (stimulus) and answer (response) frameworks in which questions are of gradually increasing difficulty; guided practice; and regular reviews of material. Behaviorist methods also typically rely heavily on the use of positive reinforcements such as verbal praise, good grades, and prizes. Behaviorists assess the degree of learning using methods that measure observable behavior such as exam performance. Behaviorist teaching methods have proven most successful in areas where there is a “correct” response or easily memorized material. For example, while behaviorist methods have proven to be successful in teaching structured material such as facts and formulae, scientific concepts, and foreign language vocabulary, their efficacy in teaching comprehension, composition, and analytical abilities is questionable.
Therefore, internal events, such as thinking should be explained through behavioral terms (or eliminated altogether).
Cognitive psychology states that mediational processes occur between stimulus and response, such as memory, thinking, problem-solving, etc.
Duchesne, S., McMaugh, A., Bochner, S., & Krause, K. L. (2013). Educational psychology: For learning and teaching (4th ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Cengage Learning.
The reason Skinner is so famous is that he really reinforced the fact that ‘reinforcements’ in the form of rewards and punishments lead to the outcomes that he desires.
Three learning theories: