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Behavioral Learning Theory Paper

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 1945 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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B.F. Skinner 1904-1990 a behaviorist that introduces an application to all aspects of psychology and life; schedules of reinforcement; and programmed learning and Ivan Pavlov 1849-1936 a physiologist who was a Russian that discovered classical conditioning in dogs. Behavioral learning theories combine many different ideas that serve as the basis for human behavior (Snowman & McCown, 2015). A theory based on an idea of all behaviors being acquired by conditioning and interaction with an environment. This is a process looked at by observing the way a person behaves then dictate their change in their relationship due to a specific stimulus and desired responses. This type of learning theory consists of two types of conditions which attempt to explain the theory of learning from behaviorism. The types are classical and operant. Classical conditioning also known as the respondent which is a learning determined by using an unconditional and neutral stimulus in order to get an unconditional response (Snowman & McCown, 2015). Mr. Pavlov is the theorist of this type of conditioning. He focuses his theory on conditioning being an automatic process that happens when the conditioned stimulus is repeated. The next is known as operant conditioning also known as instrumental conditioning. It is a type of learning that is proposed by rewards and punishments for behavior causing an association to be made between a behavior and a consequence of the behavior. Mr. Skinner is the theorist of this type of conditioning. He focuses his theory on voluntary behaviors being strengthened or weakened due to the consequences that may follow them (Snowman & McCown, 2015). Behaviorism is defined as “the theory that human and animal behavior can be explained in terms of conditioning, without appeal to thoughts or feelings, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior patterns” (Oxford Dictionary). From a Christian worldview, behaviorism strategy can help people who are struggling with issues to have self-control. Many Christians counselors and leaders use behavior techniques. Even scripture reveals that we are influenced by our surroundings. 1Corinthians 15:33 (KJV) says that “Bad company corrupts good character”

Examples of Lessons and Activities

 Regarding to examples and lessons in the classroom, this can vary depending upon what is going on and what is being taught. For example, if I wanted to see young adolescents increase their grades, I will use positive reinforcement. I can agree to give them something that they like each time they get good grades. Just as if I wanted adolescents who were misbehaving to change their behavior in the classroom, I would use positive reinforcement for each achievement of being good. I could also take a privilege away from them for bad grades as well as for bad behavior which is negative reinforcement (Snowman & McCown, 2015). Lessons and activities can be created upon the ability to grasp the concepts as well as being placed in a setting where they can concentrate. In the classroom, some lessons and activities must be differentiated because there are many behaviors that need to be dealt with in an operant manner in order to manage the classroom properly. For example, students bringing cellular phones to class knowing they are not allowed out in the open, yet a student leaves it out in the open causing the teacher to enforce negative punishment (Felton & Elliott, 2013). When negative punishment are enforced the students may not receive points that are vital to their grade or attendance as well as get their phone taken until the end of the year, or until a parent comes to pick it up. The use of behaviorism in the classroom can increase learning and decrease distraction and in order to have an impact on classroom management teachers can develop a system for tracking the progress of their students and be prepared to intervene when problems arise (Snowman & McCown, 2015).


Impact of Classroom Management

The most vital statistic in managing a classroom well is communication with the students and explain to them up front your academic and behavioral expectations. In teaching the youth at church I find the use of quizzes to be effective and when grading them I provide feedback and encourage them to keep doing their best. For instance, to control their disruptive behaviors that I can visually see that is affecting my teaching and their learning, I begin to explain that good and positive behavior gets rewarded. You must not ignore behaviors that are distracting and irritated. Teachers must stay on guard and they must consistently enforce consequences for breaking rules to manage their classroom with authority (Slain, 2015). The classroom supposed to be a setting where teachers maintain their class and expect students to behave well. In order to accomplish well-behaved students teachers must require respect, maintain control, and usurp authority in their classroom to impact behaviorism. There can be a positive impact when behavioral techniques are used effectively. These techniques allow the teacher to create an orderly environment which can help her children social, and emotional development. The outcome can impact many in the whole facility especially seeing teachers take control and managing their classroom well not being passive or showing favoritism (Sabinene, & Emmer, (2016).

Instructional Time

Time is important for teachers to create their lessons as well as accommodate their pupils, but it may be very frustrating yet enjoyable for those who love what they do. Planning activities around time can be overwhelming but teachers must arrange lessons for all pupils to be able to learn and be able to complete their tasks. When dealing with pupils with behavioral issues it really takes patience to plan instructional timely lessons that will fit into their strengths, interests, and needs. A person who teach must build trust with their class. There may be many different background, culture, and environment some students can be very difficult. The lesson plan for their pupils must be well organized for them to develop and explore their own strategies before imposing something new upon them. When imposing her way upon them she must communicate to them that regardless of their differences, or issues they are expected to participate. Therefore, teachers must develop a general plan for instructional time, space, and materials in their classroom that will help each student to master their challenges (Kirkpatrick, 2010).

Three Ways to Differentiate

Regarding several ways of differentiating instruction in the classroom. One way is teachers may try using the same materials for every student or deliver lessons at varying levels of learning according to the student ability. This will enhance their thinking skills according to their learning styles. Also, teachers can design lessons based on their students testing scores, shared interests, or assessment to dictate learning abilities or enhance their skills. Another way in which I find to be very effective for any age group is to read stories or have them to read stories and answer related questions (Kirkpatrick, 2010). For older students, you can have them analyze a story and tell about the situation that happened in the story. This will help students to differentiate fiction from nonfiction or differentiate fact from opinion in the story. Finally, teachers can make use of PowerPoint presentations by having students to research a specific topic using presentations to dictate their learning skills. This will help students to participate and learn on their own. Differentiate instructions may require more planning or more time but it can also be worth it and beneficial for the teachers as well as the students (Slain, 2015).

Manage and Motivate to Maximize Learning

Teaching may be very difficult when one thinks about all that goes in a class setting. Teachers must be able to build their lessons and control their classroom as well as motivate their students to maximize their learning. This process can be difficult especially in behaviorism. When it comes to motivation sometimes the circumstances of how the student comes into the classroom can limit a teacher’s ability to teach them their lesson plans because of their outward behavior. To manage and to motivate them to maximize their learning operant conditioning must be put into use or set goals to motivate them to maximize their learning. Motivation as self-efficacy also can help manage student ability to learn. Self-efficacy to me is when one believes that they can carry out a specific task or reach a specific goal. Teachers can give students a specific goal like to write a term paper or do a specific project with a specific time limit to help motivate their learning process (Slain, 2015).

Why as a Learner I Can Identify with Behaviorism?

Personally, as a learner seeking a profession in teaching, and as a youth teacher at my mom outreach, I mainly identify with behaviorism because I can relate to children with learning disabilities, issues with attention deficient, autism, and other disorders. I know how important it is to have a teacher who is patient and has concern for helping her learners. Being a person who had learning problems in school and not being able to comprehend or grasp certain concepts. Many who taught had little concern for special education children and no patience.

How I Can Utilize Knowledge to Assist Students in the Classroom

Learning happens when we can connect with the students and provide new information, new ideas, or strategies to what we already know. I can utilize knowledge to assist students in behaviorism by complimenting good behavior, support praise with positive reinforcement, as well as utilize negative reinforcement and apply unpleasant consequences when needed. I can utilize knowledge by using technology to help students learn in a new way.


  • Behaviorism. (2019). In Oxford English dictionary online (2nd ed.), Retrieved on 5/6/19 from www.oxforddictionaries.com
  • Blue Letter Bible (2019). 1 Corinthians 15:33 KJV Retrieved on 5/6/19 from www.blueletterbible.com
  • Kirkpatrick, J. (2010). Time management and strategy selection: Deciding to practice retrieval during learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, 469-486.
  • Sabinene, E. & Emmer, E. (2016). Handbook of classroom management (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.
  • Slain, R. (2015). Classroom management & assessment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Snowman, J. & McCown, R. (2015). Learning theories applied to teaching (14th ed). Stanford, Cengage.
  • Felton, J. & Elliott, E. (2013). The Use of Phones on Campus: All things marketing. Retrieved May 4, 2019  from http://dstevenwhite.com


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