Task 7.2.2: Assessing Learning Modalities
Pavlov, Watson, Skinner: Classical Behaviorism
Behaviorism was founded by John B. Watson and later contributed to by Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner. Behaviorism is a personality theory of learning that is based on all behaviors being gained by conditioning. Watson thought that if he had control of a person’s life from infancy, he could make the person be anything from a doctor to a criminal. Watson studied what people do and made predictions as a result of those observations. This showed him that human conditioning is a result of inner reactions to stimuli. Pavlov discovered classical conditioning, which is a technique used that makes associations between a natural stimulus and a learned (neutral) stimulus. He discovered that a previously neutral stimulus will give a response if it is paired multiple times with an unconditioned stimulus for that response. Pavlov demonstrated his theory by doing an experiment with dogs. He rang a bell every time the dogs ate, and the dogs would salivate every time they heard the bell. He rang the bell without feeding the dogs and they still salivated. Pavlov believed that humans would react to stimuli the same way the dogs did. Skinner believed that the way we turned out was a result of what we have learned over the years. His theory is based on the change of behavior by using reinforcements after a desired response.
In my classroom, I will use Pavlov’s theory of classical conditioning. I will do my best to have the main tone of my classroom to be praise and enjoyment in learning. By doing this, students will associate enjoyment with my class and be more likely to regularly attend school. Also, when the whole class does something good, I will reward them. This will encourage them to do their best on their work or behave appropriately since they aren’t sure if they will be rewarded that day or not.
Thorndike: Law of Effect
Thorndike’s Law of Effect is based on the idea that when an act is followed by a favorable effect it is more likely to be repeated in similar situations, and when an act is followed by an unfavorable effect it is less likely to be repeated in a similar situation. Thorndike studied learning in animals (usually cats) and came up with an experiment with a puzzle box to test the laws of learning. Thorndike put a cat in the puzzle box and the cat was encouraged to escape to reach a piece of fish on the outside. He would put a cat in the box and time how long it took for the cat to escape. The cats developed different ways to escape and reach the fish. A lever opened the cage, so once the cat escaped they put it back in again. The time was noted to see if the cat learned that pressing the lever would lead them to the fish. If they were successful in learning to push the lever, the time was quicker. After this experiment, Thorndike stated that any behavior that was followed by a good consequence is likely to be repeated, and any behavior followed by a bad consequence is likely to be stopped.
In my classroom, when a student does their work well or is helpful, I will compliment or praise them. Being complimented for something they did will make them feel good and reinforce the behavior. They will try to do well on their work, be helpful, etc. more often because a favorable effect was received for it. Since it was a pleasing consequence, it is more likely that they repeat it in the future. On the other hand, I would reprimand a student for talking during the lesson or not doing their work. Being reprimanded would be an unfavorable consequence and it would not make them feel good. Since it is unfavorable, they are less likely to repeat the bad behavior in the future.
Bandura: Social Modeling
Albert Bandura developed observational learning, which is learning that involves acquiring skills, strategies, and beliefs by observing others. The four main processes to observational learning are attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation. Attention involves the student paying attention to what the teacher does. There are factors that influence how much attention a student pays to the model, such as if the teacher is warm and powerful versus cold and weak. Retention involves what the student recalls after listening to the lesson. Verbal descriptions, vivid images, and videos can help students increase their retention of a lesson. Reproduction involves the student being able to imitate the information that they have listened to and retained. Practice leads to improvement and advancement in the skill that you are imitating. Motivation is something a student needs to imitate what the teacher has taught them. Children can retain information and possess the skills to perform the action, but are not motivated to do so. Occasionally an incentive (such as stickers) can be used to motivate a child to imitate a modeled behavior, but it is not good to always do that.
In my classroom, I will make sure to reduce distractions so that my students will be able to pay attention. I will use and explain models to help them understand the information. I will use videos, describe step by step how to do what I am teaching, and use images to increase retention in my students. I will do my best to inspire motivation in my students, even if that means occasionally giving them a reward as an incentive. My students will be given time to practice what I have taught and ask me questions about the lesson so that they will be able to adequately imitate what they have learned.
Gardner: Multiple Intelligences
Howard Gardner believed that there were many different types of frames of mind. He said that there were eight specific types of intelligence including verbal skills, mathematical skills, spatial skills, bodily-kinesthetic skills, musical skills, intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, and naturalistic skills. Authors and journalists are good at verbal skills, which is the ability to use language to express meaning. Engineers and accountants are strong in mathematical skills, which includes the ability to carry out mathematical operations. Artists and architects have strengths in spatial skills by being able to think three-dimensionally. Surgeons and dancers are good at bodily-kinesthetic skills by being proficient physically and able to manipulate objects. Composers and musicians are strong in musical skills by being sensitive to pitch, melody, and rhythm. Theologians and psychologists have strengths in intrapersonal skills by being able to understand themselves and direct their life effectively. Mental health professionals and teachers can be good at interpersonal skills if they are able to understand and interact with others effectively. Farmers and landscapers are strong in naturalist skills by being able to see patterns in nature and understand both natural and human-made systems. Gardner argued that each frame of mind could be destroyed by brain damage, depending on where the damage is located. This explains how someone could have an intellectual disability, but are talented in music, drawing, etc. Gardner endorses using his theory in education, but he has some cautions to avoid misuse. He says that every subject cannot be taught in all eight ways. It is not enough to just apply one type of intelligence (having students just do random movements will not increase their cognitive skills), and using one type of intelligence as a background activity (playing music while students do an assignment) is not necessarily useful to their learning.
In my classroom, one part of the theory I will use is bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. I will set aside time for my students to be able to act out skits or scenes in their book. I will also involve physical games like Simon Says or Twister in the lesson plan. These can be used when learning the information or for a test review. Another thing I will incorporate is allowing my students to move throughout the day, even if it is for a quick stretch.
Madeline Hunter: Direct Instruction
Madeline Hunter developed a lesson plan model that involved getting students ready to learn, instruction and checking for understanding, and independent practice. The steps to her lesson plan were stating objectives, anticipatory set, input modeling/modeled practice, checking understanding, guided practice, independent practice, and practice. Stated objectives let students know what they should know by the end of the lesson. An example of a stated objective is to ask a question that is essential to the lesson. Anticipatory set is something that gets the learner ready to accept instruction and creates anticipation in the lesson. This is the “hook” that is based on prior knowledge and lets the students know why the lesson is important. Input modeling/modeled practice involves the teacher sharing the knowledge they have so that the students can master the information. The teacher can explain and give examples for the main concept and have students participate in the lesson. Checking understanding includes the teacher observing the students’ body language, asking questions, and observing responses and interactions to determine if the student is understanding the material. If the students aren’t understanding the material in the lesson, the teacher can adjust instruction. Guided practice happens after instruction and is used to give students an opportunity to practice what they just learned. The teacher can ask students questions or have a class discussion and give feedback to the students. This also gives the teacher the opportunity to give feedback to students based on their individual levels of learning. Independent practice can be in class or given as homework to further check the students’ understanding and give them practice. Independent practice helps students solidify the knowledge that they have learned and demonstrate understanding of the content. Closure involves going over what they learned again and bringing the lesson to a close.
In my classroom, I will make sure my students understand what they will need to know by the end of the lesson. I will link the new lesson to their prior knowledge and I will explain the lesson content to the best of my ability using examples and outside resources that will help. I will ask questions and observe my students during the lesson to check their understanding of the lesson. Having class discussions on the content that we went over will be a way that I have them practice, as well as letting them practice on their own. I will also make sure to give feedback based on every students’ individual learning instead of as a class.
William Glasser: Reality Therapy/Quality Schools
William Glasser believed that Quality Schools apply the ideas of Choice Theory, practices of Lead Management, and the process of Reality Therapy throughout the school. Choice Theory states that behavior is chosen, whether consciously or unconsciously. There are five basic needs that need to be fulfilled: survival, power, fun, freedom and love, and belonging. Glasser thought that all behavior comes from a person’s desire to satisfy one or more of these needs. He also believed that all behavior is ‘total behavior’ and is made up of acting, thinking, feeling, and physiology. Lead Management is Choice Theory and Reality Therapy applied to management. This means that the workers or students are encouraged instead of coerced. Reality Therapy is a method of counseling that is based on the choice theory. All humans have a need to feel love and self-worth. Steps to reality therapy include building a relationship, focusing on behavior instead of the person, giving responsibility and evaluation, developing a plan, having the person commit to the plan, and following up and following through with the plan. With reality therapy you should also emphasize effort (by teaching the person to redo, retake, and revise), create hope, respect power, and express enthusiasm.
In my classroom, I will use Glasser’s Reality Therapy approach to help my students make the right choices in the classroom. If they don’t make the right choices on their own, I will work with them to evaluate their reasoning for the misbehavior. Together we will make a plan for the student to make amends. In my classroom, we will have meetings and discussions about rules and consequences so that the students will understand them and be able to express their personal opinions about them.
These theories involve children’s behaviors and models of learning. As a future educator, I should study these theorists to ensure that I can adapt my lessons to best suit my students. By studying Pavlov, Watson, and Skinner I realized that human conditioning is influenced by inner reactions to stimuli. Reviewing Thorndike’s theory I learned that good and bad consequences can influence behavior. Bandura’s theory reinforced to me that there is more to a student’s learning and retention than listening to a lesson and doing assessments. Gardner’s theory provided me with knowledge that different people learn in different ways and some are better at certain skills. Hunter’s theory helped me understand a different way to make a lesson plan. Glasser’s theory taught me that working with students on a plan for their behavior would work better than just giving them premade consequences. If I didn’t study these theories I would be a much less effective educator when entering the teaching field.