What is Behaviorism?
Behaviorism is a learning theory that studies observable and measurable behavioral changes, which result from stimulus-response associations made by the learner.
This theory stems from the work of Pavlov who studied animal behavior, and was able to condition a dog to associate the ringing of a bell with food. Pavlovian conditioning is known as classical conditioning.
Pavlov's premise was later developed by Thorndike, Watson and Skinner. Skinner introduced the theory of operant conditioning (i.e., a behavior followed by a reinforcer results in an increased probability of that behavior occurring in the future; a behavior followed by a punishment is weakened or suppressed in the future).
Behaviorism in the classroom
Behaviorist techniques have long been applied in educational practices, especially in classroom and behavior management.
The learning process, according to Behaviorism, places the teacher in a primary role wherein he or she adjusts the learner's behavior and directs learning through drill and practice, through habit-breaking, and punishment/reward.
Conversely, the learner's activity, be it thinking or doing, is confined to the framework of "behavior", and is governed by the stimulus-response-reinforcement process.
Limitations of Behaviorism There's been much criticism of Behaviorism, especially when it comes to its disregard for mental processes, moods, social dimensions and human emotions. Moreover, Behaviorism fails to explain the kinds of learning that take place without reinforcement and punishment (for example, language acquisition in children). Another criticism of Behaviorism is that it fails to explain all aspects of human behavior, and that it...