Learning and Behavioral Approaches to learning

Learning and Behavioral Approaches to learning

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Hi everyone,

The week’s readings aimed at helping teachers understand what is learning and approaches used in learning like behaviorism. Learning, therefore, can be defined as a process in which individuals or learners acquire knowledge and skills through being taught, studying or even experience. In this contest, learning can be described as the process of modifying one’s behaviour either as the consequences of his or her action or what ones observe. When one is changed through responding to a situation or external factor that is referred to as learning. According to Phllips & Soltis: Chapters 2 & 3, people have their original understating and therefore, they change from what they initially knew to what they currently understood though it might be either permanent or temporal (Phillips & Soltis, 2009).

Additionally, Phllips & Soltis, in chapter three, adds that there are several types of learning whereby some are simple while others are complex. There are those things which can be learned in the absence of a teacher while others require teacher’s help. For learning to be effective, a conducive environment of learning and the teaching strategy is essential to the learner.

Behaviorism as an approach in education only focuses and emphasizes on the role played by the surrounding factors in influencing the learning within an individual. Behaviorists like John Lock hold that infants are born with what he termed as ‘empty cabinet’ or the ‘tabula rasa’ which means that they have devoid of content and it is only through their interaction with the environment that they get to acquire behavior (Phillips & Soltis, 2009)). Similarity, these environments are different to different people and therefore, making people to be wired concerning their environmental factors. Classical conditioning as one of the types of conditioning to produce learning among learners helps teachers instill the behaviour among the learners through punishing poor behaviour and rewarding desirable ones (Schunk, 2012). In most of the teaching sections, I frequently use this to encourage excellent and helpful behaviour like clapping as a sign of appreciation of well-answered question. However, I am cautious not to use it to discriminate some learners holding in my mind that students have different levels of understanding.

In this week’s reading, I started with the work of Hattie and Donoghue, which I enjoyed reading the models of learning and various strategies used in certain stages in the cycle of learning. In my teaching career, I always use different teaching strategies just within the content of a subject which is connected to the article by Hattie and Donoghue. In my reading, I came across a model of skill, will and thrill, which means that learning is a phrase that is from the surface to deep and then transfers. I always make sure that the learners understand the surface meaning of before proceeding to deeper learning. Further, the week’s reading by Phllips & Soltis provided a behavioral approach which is crucial in achieving a result among learner (Hattie & Donoghue, 2016). I ensure that students are encouraged to perform and portray good behaviour through encouragement and rewards, while bad manners are discouraged through punishments.


Hattie, John & Donoghue, Greg. (2016). Learning Strategies: A Synthesis and conceptual model. npj Science of Learning. 1. 16013. 10.1038/npjscilearn.2016.13.

Phillips, D.C., & Soltis, J.F. (2009). Perspectives on Learning (5th ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.

Schunk, D.H. (2012). Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

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