While reading through our text this week, there were many activities that teachers were using in classrooms in order to teach the importance of effort and give students opportunities to practice what they have learned in school. While reading through these one specific activity gave the impression of behaviorism more than other activities.
The activity that stands out in my mind, as behaviorism, is the effort and grades data collecting and charting. The lessons involve students tracking and recording the time spent on and quality of class notes, attention in class, participation in class, homework, and studying. Then, they graphed it against the graded outcome (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007)
Behaviorism is a system that is based on rewarding desirable behavior and punishing undesirable behaviors (Standridge, 2002). In this particular case, the reward is a good grade, and the punishment is a lower grade. In this process, the students also have to internalize the desire for good grades as motivation. The students are expected to see a correlation between effort and their grades. The higher the effort equaled the higher the grade. In order for this to work, the students need to have the desire for high grades. Without that, there is no reward. No reward means there is no reason to condition oneself to put forth effort to earn nothing (or something you do not care about.)
That raises the question, how do you make a student care about good grades if they do not see the value? How do you convince a child that good grades can get you a better job and no, you do not have to settle for just any job that is out there?
Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction
that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD
Standridge, M.. (2002). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching,
and technology. Retrieved February 29, 2012, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/