What is the behaviorist approach to education?
Behaviorist approaches are built on the idea that behavior is a reaction to a stimulus, and identifies which can be rewarded, becoming more likely to be recurrent in future. Behaviorists such as Skinner and Pavlov focus on observable behavior rather than ideas that cause it. However, this effort refuses to discuss psychological processes that may be involved in learning as these could not be detected easily or accurately studied. It is sometimes known that these explanations are called stimulus-response and refer solely to obvious stimuli whilst ignoring everything else. For effective learning to be established, a plan, (Appendix 1), used to form teaching should be in place before each lesson. This plan should be adaptable and allow for changes and detailed enough for others to cover if needed. It is important to make learning aims and objectives SMART; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely to enable effective teaching and learning, making sure that words that are used are at the correct level for students. These objectives should be challenging enough to ensure progressive learning and inclusion for all learners to ensure achievement.
Although with the greatest will and a lesson plan in place, many factors may affect a student’s motivation to learn. For example, interest in the subject, desire to achieve, esteem and self-confidence. Not all students will be driven by the same values, needs and wants. To help preserve motivation and attention it can be of value to be aware of attention spans, challenging and supporting those who need it, provide on-going constructive feedback, praise and encouragement and vary teaching approaches to influence all styles of learning. It may be necessary to plan lots of short tasks rather than long lessons. Most healthy teenagers and adults are able to sustain attention on one thing for about 20 minutes. Making lessons interesting, practical and relevant may increase the effectiveness of classroom management and lowers the risk of disengaged behavior and distractions, lengthening the learning period.