My current fear is something that I noticed fellow classmates have commented about in the class threads as well. It is my fear of posting on a thread for all to see. It took some time to get used to and I'm still a bit nervous about it but the positive reinforcement I received from doing so from my fellow learners has helped me to overcome my fear. It was a nice feeling when someone commented on a thread I started. I also received positive reinforcement in the comments provided by Sunah on my participation evaluation submissions every week. It definitely kept me going.
Using behaviourism principles, how could you influence your current work situation to be a more engaging and collaborative community? I envision a behaviourist/constructivist classroom where students can construct their own knowledge. It would be set up in such a way that they could be learning at a pace that is self-guided, that is to say that those who understand the goals of a given task can move on quickly. Whereas those that require more explanation or "shaping" and "modeling" can get those explanations and feedback on their performance in order to maintain the pace of their learning. A classroom like this would need student input to create a disciplined learning environment. Rules could be built using the input of the learners themselves. They would help make the rules. They would play a role in deciding what happens as a "punishment" and as a "reward". This would involve students in shaping the expectations for behaviour and possibly other aspects of the classroom as well. Doing this would promote conditioning. Students would then understand what is acceptable and unacceptable since they play an active role in defining these criteria. Co-creating the learning space in such a way might guide students to an understanding of what type of response they will receive for a particular stimulus. As an example, students that work quietly and appropriately during times meant for such work would likely receive positive reinforcement for this behaviour. Conversely, students displaying unwanted behaviour would be subject to positive or negative stimulus to reinforce a positive learning environment. Beyond practice and modeling, cueing could help inform students if they are displaying appropriate behaviours. Ultimately, involving students in the establishment of the classroom environment could be carried out using a behaviourist model. As such, hopefully, they will be able to make conscious decisions about the types of behaviour they want to see, and the resulting positive and/or negative responses to these. If students are involved in this process and are therefore aware of the rules and expectations, they will become more capable to navigate within the structure of their learning environment and be more able to learn at a pace that suits their learning needs.
I love your idea of a self-paced behaviourist/constructivist classroom. My concern about many constructivist environments with group learning activities is that the advanced students often have to wait until the other learners catch up with them, which can be frustrating for them. If there was a self-guided element to it, then these students would not be held back. I also like the idea of providing guidance in the form of modeling, shaping, or cueing for those students who need it.
I've often thought that these two methods of teaching could work in tandem and you have described exactly how this could look. Impressive! :-)
Thanks for your reply to the classroom approach. I too like the idea of putting both constructivism and behaviourism together to create a successful classroom environment. I am actually planning on taking this stance with my lesson plan critique and incorporating these two theories. I think that the collaboration of two different (or more theories) is ideal in learning as one thing often does not work for every individual.
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