Feedback on Behaviourist group work

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Main ideas of the behaviourist learning theory

    • Content is at the centre of the learning process –not the learner

    • Learning takes place through conditioning behaviour.

    • Classical conditioning (stimulus and response)

    • Operant conditioning (reinforcement of learning through reward and punishment)

    • The main idea is that this theory focuses on the learner’s observable behaviour and learning takes place through conditioning learners to bring about change in their behaviour. It does not focus on the learner’s internal/ mental thought processes.

    • What one learns is determined by the environment in which one is supposed to function and perform and not by the learner.

      Principles of the theory (what do we need to be doing as behaviourist teachers)

    • Teachers approach learning as a process resulting in a change of behaviour. Desired behaviour is reinforced through reward. Undesirable behaviour is discouraged through punishment.

    • Deductive teaching

    • Frequent practice –and practice in varied contexts- is necessary for learning to take place. Skills are not acquired without frequent practice.

    • Positive reinforcers like rewards and successes are preferable to negative actions like punishment and failures. Reinforcement through rewards e.g. praise helps to motivate learners.

    • Repetition is very important.

  Implications for practice

  Teaching/learning styles & strategies

    • Teacher is the reinforcer, director not a facilitator

    • Teacher is the fountain of knowledge- who fills learners’ with their knowledge of what needs to be learnt.

    • Learners may be disempowered and passive in terms of controlling and directing their own learning process.

    • Learners are dependent on the teacher as learning is teacher-led.

    • Teacher presents content, gets learner to...