A learning theory that only focuses on
objectively observable behaviors and discounts
any independent activities of the mind.
Alan E. Kazdin
Edwin Ray Guthrie
Richard J. Herrnstein
Clark L. Hull
Edward Lee Thorndike
Edward C. Tolman
John B. Watson
Ole Ivar Lovaas
Steven C. Hayes
The natural reflex that occurs as a response to a
Learning that is controlled and results in shaping
behavior through reinforcement of stimulus to
Watching something and then mimicking it
A behaviorist educator would use positive
and negative reinforcement as a means to
motivate their students. An extreme
behaviorist believes all motivation for the
students to learn is extrinsic.
•Handing out treats to reward good test scores
•Emphasizing grades, rather than significance of
•Giving free homework passes to students who complete
all their assignment on time
•Smiling and complimenting students on a job well done
In this behaviorist environment, students adapt to the
reinforcement. They learn to base their efforts,
academic performances, and behavior off the resulting
positive or negative reinforcement. The behaviorist
theory proposes that the students’ behavior and
academic performance will come develop as a result of
their responses to certain stimuli.
Behavior theorists define learning as nothing
more than the acquisition of new behavior
based on environmental conditions.
I think that this is a really important theory to grasp.
Behaviorism is something that an educator must take
hold of before getting in from of a group of students.
Understanding why people act the way they do, and
better yet, predicting what they are going to do will
allow a teacher to better manage their classroom. I also
think that understanding HOW to alter behavior is key.
Whether it be by example or by positive reinforcement,
I believe that knowing what will motivate your
students is essential to their success.
I agree to an extent with the behaviorist theory of
learning. I do think that positive and negative
reinforcement will prove effective in the classroom;
however, not all of the motivation we give our students
should be extrinsic. I believe that students do have a
personal desire to learn, and if we constantly use
reinforcement to control the desire, it will slowly lose
it’s intrinsic motivation, transferring it to extrinsic.
Students will acquire more information in the long run
if their learning things for the knowledge, not the