In education there are three big ways to teaching. Behavioral Analysis, Humanism, and Constructivism play a major role in every school. While all three are different in nature, they all affect the way a teacher teaches, and in turn how the students learn. Behavioral Analysis is the first of the three. Behavioral Analysis is derived from Skinner’s work with stimulus- response learning. The antecedent, a, behavior, b, and consequence, c model of behaviorism. The ABC model allows for the teacher to determine the condition that is causing the behavior that is destructive, interruptive, or disruptive, which leads to the consequence.
The behavior can have consequence that are reinforcements or punishments. Reinforcements increase the probability of the behavior, while punishments decreases the probability of the behavior. Reinforcements can be positive or negative. Positive reinforcements are stimuli presented contingent on a response that increase the future probability of a response. A negative reinforcement are stimuli removed contingents on a response that increases the future probability of a response. Positive reinforcement is a gain, while a negative reinforcement is an escape.
The second of the big three is Humanism. The Humanist theory follows Maslow’s hierarchy. The bottom of this hierarchy is physiological needs; such as hunger or thirst. The next level is safety needs; including security and protection. The third tier of Maslow’s hierarchy is social needs; it is important to have a sense of belonging, and love. The fourth tier is esteems needs, self-esteem, recognition, and status fall into this category. The final tier is self-actualization. According to the Humanist thinking, all of these categories need to be fulfilled in the classroom.
Humanism also draws from Karl Rogers. Rogers believes in a client-center learning. He also believes in personal growth as the most important, like Maslow, Rogers believes that self-actualization is the most important aspect. There are three conditions according to Rogers that must be present for change, growth, and learning to occur. The first, as a teacher, we must be a genuine person. According to Rogers, who you are on the inside is what people see on the outside; he believes highly in the saying, what you see is what you get.
The second condition is empathy. Rogers says we have to understand the world through another’s eyes but also remaining objective. The third and final condition, is unconditional positive regard. To Rogers this means finding something of worth in a student that you may not necessarily like, no matter how small it is. The third of the big three is Constructivism. Constructivists look to make meaningful connections from text to text, text to self, and text to world. This theory puts more emphasis on the learner, and the teacher is simply a facilitator.
New knowledge is built of previous experiences and knowledge. According to Jean Piaget, “biological maturation establishes the preconditions for cognitive development. The most important changes are qualitative (changes in kind) rather than quantitative (changes in amount). ” Piaget claimed that adaptation is promoted “by a biological drive to obtain balance between schemes and the environment (equilibration). ” Piaget’s research determined that children learn differently than adults, they create “mental maps. ” There are four developmental stages according to Piaget’s studies.
The first is sensory motor stage. This stage occurs between the ages of birth and two years old. This stage has the children learning through a lot of physical interaction with its surrounding environment. The second stage is preoperational stage, which occurs between the ages of two and seven. This stage, children need concrete objects to understand. They do not have a understanding of abstract concepts yet. The third stage is concrete operations. This stage is from ages seven to eleven and here children begin to grasp abstract concepts.
For example, math problems using numbers instead of blocks are more readily understood. The final stage is formal operations. This stage is ongoing from the age of twelve. Abstract concepts are easily understood, and most learning is in this form. While each of these three big theories is important to have in a classroom that does not mean a classroom can have only one. All three theories can be combined depending on the classroom. Each of these theories plays a distinctive part in every school. Each theory is as important as the others and in one way or another is implemented in every classroom.