By: Zeinab, Lauren, Amanda L,
Erica, Amanda D
The theory is based on observable behaviors. It
describes how all learning and behaviors are directly
correlated with environmental stimuli. It can be a
stimulus causing a response by having with it put with
a trigger. An example of this would be a dog salivating
when they hear a bell that he correlates with food.
Another concept of this theory is to reward a reaction
with a having a stimuli. A dog pushing a button to
release food would be a good example for this. In
addition, behaviorists do not believe that there is any
difference between humans and animals because both
can be trained by using positive and negative rewards.
Ivan Pavlov is known for using dogs for
behavioral tests. He used a bell to teach the
dogs to know that food was being given and it
resulted in the dogs salivating while waiting
for the food. This became known as classical
B.F. Skinner founded behavioral, or operant,
conditioning. He used pigeons with his experiments.
After giving the pigeons rewards when they do a
specific activity, they learned that they must to that all
the time to get the reward. Skinner even taught the
pigeons to dance and bowl! He believed that positive
reinforcement ultimately forms peoples’ behaviors. He
also believed that behaviors would be released if the
response were negative.
Another person associated with this theory is Albert
Bandura who became well known for the Social
Cognitive Theory. Instead of just focusing on how the
environment affects behavior, he found that
motivational factors also play a key part of a person’s
behavior. An example of this would be people
imitating behaviors that they would observe.
Teacher’s Role in Behaviorism:
- Motivates and facilitates learning
- Actively keeps students participating
- Provides the stimulus (which may be the
lesson plan, theme, or subject matter at hand)
- Provides positive reinforcement
Provides the stimulus:
- Teachers should present material in small portions
- Teachers should use repetition and lots of practice
Provides positive reinforcement
- Teachers should offer rewards for correct responses;
this may be through:
a) Stickers (for younger)
b) Special recognition or duties (elementary)
c) Bonus points (middle – high school)
Technology: many software programs provide
rewards, such as mini-games for answering questions
correctly; Also, using computer time (which is exciting
for students) as a reward will provide positive
feedback and integrate technology to the class
Students Role in Behaviorism:
Children work for rewards of some sort.
Their behavior is diverse based on their
environmental surroundings, thus children respond
Children respond to stimuli.
Many computer programs reward the student
when an answer is correct or a goal is reached.
Children use the internet to play math games and
quiz their selves on books they have read. Many
times they receive a physical prize from the school
for getting so many points in these games.
Technology has enthused children to like learning
and under the behaviorist theory children are
working for their reward while doing something
they like and avoiding punishment.
We think that Pavlov’s classical conditioning
behavioral experiments and learning theory is
important to study before teaching our own
class. There is much to be learned from
Pavlov’s theory that can be applied to our
classroom. It can be used to help students
follow good behavior and can also be used to
help anxiety and fear that students may face in
Good behavior can be enforced using Pavlov’s theory of classical
conditioning. Actions such as students raising their hand to speak
could be considered one example of classical conditioning. Students
realize after given time that when they want to speak they will only be
recognized after they have raised their hand. We, as teachers, could
also use classical conditioning to help influence good behavior in the
classroom. When students complete their homework they will be
given a star, then when they reach 10 stars, they can be given a
reward. Eventually, students get in the habit of doing homework
without having to be rewarded all the time. It will also encourage the
students, who would not normally do their homework, to want to
complete their homework and receive stars.
McDevitt, TM, & Ormrod, JO. (2002). Child
development and education. New Jersey: Pearson
“Behaviorism Theory." Michigan State
University. Est. 1855. East Lansing, Michigan
USA. Web. 18 Nov. 2010.
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