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Behaviorism Theory of

Teachers must learn how to
teach... they need only to be
taught more effective ways of
teaching. -B. F. Skinner
By: Brittaney

Behaviorism assumes that a learner is essentially
passive, responding to environmental stimuli.
Believes that a learner starts out with a clean
slate, and behavior is shaped by positive and
negative reinforcement.
Reinforcement, positive or negative, increases
the possibility of an event happening again.
Punishment, both positive and negative,
decreases the possibility of an event happening

Behaviorism cont
Positive reinforcement is the application
of a stimulus.
Negative reinforcement is the
withdrawal of a stimulus.
Behaviorism is a precursor to cognitive

Important People in
Ivan Pavlov- Did the experiment with the dogs.
Came up with the theory of classical
B.F. Skinner- Developed the theory of operant
conditioning. Operant Conditioning is the use
of consequences to modify the occurrence and
form of behavior.
John B. Watson- The Little Albert experiment.
He gets credit for establishing the
psychological school of behaviorism.

Pavlovs Dog Experiment

Ivan Pavlov did a famous experiment that
demonstrates the theory of classical
conditioning (or respondent conditioning).
- Every time Pavlov would bring put out the
dogs food he would ring a bell.
- After doing this for a certain period of time,
Pavlov would ring the bell without presenting
food. The dogs would salivate just from the
sound of the bell.

Pavlovs Dog Experiment

- The connection the dogs made
between the bell ringing and the food,
caused the dogs to associate the two,
so they responded to the bell even
without the presence of the food.

Important B.F. Skinner

Schedules of reinforcement- Continuous,
interval, and ration. These theories are used
often in daily life with everything from
parenting to schooling to work life.
Operant Conditioning- the use of
consequences to modify the occurrence or
form of behavior. Differs from classical
conditioning in that it deals with voluntary

What teachers do under this


Give the learner immediate feedback.

Break down the task into small steps
Repeat the directions as many times as possible
Work from the most simple to the most complex
Give positive reinforcement
Skinner believed that positive reinforcement is more
effective in changing behavior then punishment.
All of these are to be adjusted to be age appropriate

What students do under this


Respond to reinforcement
Pace themselves in an assignment to
work from the most basic to the more
complicated concepts
Ask questions for more clarity in
Ask for feedback

Behavioral Theory and my

own Teaching
I think that the behavioral theory can be very useful in
my own teaching.
I can use reinforcement to encourage students to do
their best work and to encourage improvement.
I will try to avoid punishment, unless absolutely
I will clearly explain my expectations and have clear,
printed out and verbally explained, directions to
I will always be positive and let my students know
that they can do it, and can do it well.

Integrating Technology and Digital Media in the
Classroom- Shelly, Cashman, Gunter, and Gunter