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Classical and Operant Conditioning


Classical and Operant Conditioning Have you ever wondered how you will control a class of students? There are various techniques in how teachers can “manipulate” students to act in a manner that is appropriate and conducive for learning. Behaviorism tells us that learning is observed through changes in behavior. When students respond to situations in their environment, this is when we can see the occurrence of learning unlike cognitivists that suggests learning is also an unobservable change that occurs within the brain. The use of behaviorism is prominent in a teacher’s classroom management plan as this is where the teacher wants to see an observable change in behavior. Read Chapter 5 of our text to gain an understanding of Pavlov’s classical and Skinner’s operant conditioning. In the first paragraph of your response, describe the difference between classical and operant conditioning. Reflect on your own educational experience. Describe examples of classical and operant conditioning that you have experienced. Also, describe outcomes of each. In the next paragraph of your response, compare positive and negative reinforcement strategies. How is negative reinforcement different than punishment? Refer to the examples you shared in your first paragraph: explain whether they were instances of positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, or punishment. Provide your reasoning and explain how they impacted your learning. Chapter 5 LeFrançois, G. (2011). Psychology for teaching (11th ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Chapter Five: Behaviorism and Social Cognitive Theory 5.1 Learning He was apparently the victim of what psychologists call one-shot taste aversion learning. It’s a type of learning easily illustrated with animalslike rats. When rats are given something to eat and then exposed to a single dose of radiation, which makes them ill, they will then refuse toeat the food they ate just before the radiation. This is a special kind of learning that can be extremely important for survival. If we, and otheranimals, didn’t easily learn to avoid things that make us ill, many of us wouldn’t be here today: Too many of our ancestors would havecontinued to eat mushrooms of the kind I can easily find. A Definition of Learning The learning of taste aversions is a biologically based phenomenon, of little direct importance to the business of teaching. However, moregeneral forms of learning are absolutely central to the educational enterprise, which is really all about learning. Learning, you see, is the acquisition of information and knowledge, of skills and habits, and of attitudes and beliefs. It always involves a changein one of these areas—a change that is brought about by the learner’s experiences. Accordingly, psychologists define learning as all relativelypermanent changes in potential for behavior that result from experience but are not due to fatigue, maturation, drugs, injury, or disease. (SeeFigure 5.1.) Figure 5.1 Figure showing that change in behavior is achieved after experience and learning.Evidence of learning is found in actual or potential changes in behavior as aresult of experience. But learning itself is an invisible, internal neurologicalprocess. Note that learning is found not only in actual but also in potential changes in behavior because not all changes involved in learning are obviousand observable. For example, in the case entitled “The Talking Marks,” there are some immediately apparent changes in the students’ actualbehavior—as, for example, when Tyler makes a pair of “talking marks” and places them appropriately, a behavior of which he was earlierincapable. There may also be other important changes that are not apparent but are still a fundamental part of learning. Cases from the Classroom: The Talking Marks The Place: Lynn Sw


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