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Behavioristic theory-by-skinner-1225479226245432-8 (3)


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Behavioristic theory-by-skinner-1225479226245432-8 (3)

  1. 1. Behavioristic theory by Skinner.The process of learning language has always been a complex phenomenon among thecritics. It is an acknowledged fact that the lap of mother is the first educational cente4rfor the child and the foundation of every human activity is laid when a child uses the lapof the mother, the only shelter of man. In this way this has always been a debatablequestion how for the lap of mother, the surroundings and the entire atmosphere in whicha child lives, proves helpful in learning language one. In this respect, two theories havebeen put forward, the innate theory presented by chomesky and the behaviouristic theorypresented by skinner:-According to skinner child acquires his first speech through a process which is called theoperant process. Operant process means that language is an activity that a child acquiresvoluntarily without any external force. In this way child acquires his language one in hisown free will without any sort of pressure. According to skinner the whole process isbased upon four elements. 1. stimulus 2. response 3. reinforcement 4. repetitionskinner has elaborated all these things after making experiments on animals. Heillustrates the whole process as a rat is put in a box containing a bar and this rat isrewarded food only if it presses accidentally and as a result of that initially process it willbe rewarded with the food, but eventually it will get the perception that it cannot get fooduntil it presses the bar. Later the process is made a bit difficult and now it gets the food ifit presses the bar at certain number of time. Initially it will feel confusion but eventuallyit will learn the trick.After this experiment, skinner expresses the very notion that every stimulus which isfollowed by a response plays a vital role in learning the first language. Initially thisresponse is given only in case of sort of punishment or reward but eventually the childbecomes volunteer in this.Skinner also maintains that learning language one depends the imitation and the childimitates his nears and dears around him. First of all any thing plays a role that stimulatesthe child to speak. For example, when a child listens a word toffee, he tries to store thisword in this mind and when he tastes a toffee and enjoys it, he tries to associate this wordwith actual theme (Toffee).When the child gives response to such a way by uttering the word toffee it proves no lessthat farrie song for his parents. So they reinforce him to utter this word again and againand the child makes repetition. This is the whole process that has been referred andpresented by the behaviourists. Child enjoys a flexible mind, he is easily attracted by theatmosphere which he lives. That is why , skinner seems to be firm in his notion thatlanguage learning is mot different from learning any thing else and anything which isstuffed in the mind of the child becomes the part and parcel of his life. That is why,skinner denies that language is a preprogrammed activity. It is just the gift of society andoperant conditioning of his around. If we take up the example of fictional characterTarjen, skinner seems to be true in his notion because Tarjen was brought among the
  2. 2. animals and according to the story tellers he spoke the language of animals. So he couldnot help being affected by the company in which eh lived.Skinner is not without his critics. It was chomskey who made a bitter attach on the theorypresented by skinner. He considered it to be an inappropriate theory that is why, hebrought his own theory named Nativistic theory or mentalistic Theory or Innate Theory.Conclusion:-So to sum up the discussion we may say that although skinner’s theory was challenged bychomesky yet the paved the way for the other language scholars to test their abilities andsolve the mystery of child’s first language acquisition.