• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the behaviourist and cognitive theories of learning. Evaluate the implication of each for the classroom setting

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the behaviourist and cognitive theories of learning. Evaluate the implication of each for the classroom setting This paper will discuss both behaviourist and cognitive theories. It will comment on both theories and apply them to a classroom setting. The paper will look at classical, operant and social theory of learning. Behaviourism developed its principles from the work of Pavlov and Thorndike, namely classical and operant conditioning. Hill (2003) states classical conditioning is the process in which people learn to associate reflex responses with certain stimuli. Pavlov found that dogs would start salivating before the food was introduced to them. Hill (2003) affirms Pavlov found for learning to take place, the two stimuli had to be presented close together in time. If the time between the appearance of the neutral stimulus and the appearance of the unconditional stimulus was too large then learning would not take place. The conditional stimulus will result in a conditional response. Flanagan (2001) asserts, some features of classical conditioning include; extinction, generalisation, timing and discrimination. Within the classroom it is important for teachers to ensure students only associate pleasant and positive emotional responses with educational situations. ...read more.


However, Gadsdon et al (2005:20) argue, "not all reinforcers are administered by the teacher. Peers themselves have an effect on how the learner behaves". Despite being told off by the teacher, if the learner gains approval from peers, then others may choose to misbehave to gain the same social reward. Fontana, (1995 cited in Gadsdon et al 2005) laid out a number of practical implications to offer the best educational practise for teachers. Some examples which show definite links to the three theories of behaviourism are; to make lessons interesting and relevant, be consistent and fair, don't be over familiar and convey confidence and good organisational skills. Cognitive development is the study of how mental activities develop. The cognitive developmental approach focuses on how thinking changes in age-related stages. Flanagan (2001) affirms the main essences of Piaget's theory are as follows; there are qualitative differences between child and adult thinking, biological approach and language is the outcome of a generalised cognitive ability. Alternative cognitive structures increase with age: schemas and operations. Invariant cognitive structures are assimilation and accommodation. The development is 'driven' by disequilibrium. Thus, learners go through different stages of development. ...read more.


Bruner believed language train could speed up cognitive development, thus putting more emphasis on the significance of education from others. Bruner stressed education and social interaction as major influences upon cognitive development (Hill 2003). Both Bruner and Vygotsky argued with Piaget's firm belief of readiness and disputed that teachers should actively intervene to help a child in their understanding. The teacher provides the tools required for the child to develop cognitively by providing structure, direction, guidance and support, not just the facts. The following concepts are important in education, according to the theories of both Bruner and Vygotsky: the spiral curriculum, scaffolding and the zone of proximal development. In conclusion, this paper shows that there is a place for both theories in an educational setting which needs to meet the needs of the learner by having a variety of methods, as there are different learners who require different learning styles. Along with the behaviourist and cognitive theories, there is also a place for the humanist theory which considers the learners feelings. I feel that cognitive development is important as it empowers the learner and the facilitator brings about social cohesion. However, there is a place for the behaviourist theory because learners need reinforcers, they need support and guidance and importantly structure which allows the learners to progress. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Education and Teaching section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Education and Teaching essays

  1. Language Development. I have chosen to observe Kaitlin for my assignment focusing on ...

    A member of staff asks Kaitlin "Do you want some more bread?" Kaitlin says "Ta" as she takes it out of her hand. Next step - To continue to support communication and language through role play e.g. playing with the kitchen and plastic food or telephones.

  2. Describe the difference between the pre-normalised and normalised child.

    The materials that we choose for the environment will act as keys to the child's development and we need to prepare the environment with this in mind. The keys we choose will be directed by the child's essential developmental needs at each age range.

  1. Early Years Setting. This report is based on the wellbeing of children in my ...

    respect their needs and wishes by following each babies individual routines giving support. What does the extract say about wellbeing and health? Article 24 - "Children have the right to good quality health care" Within my job role I promote this by ensuring each child has access to the basic needs, e.g.

  2. Explain how practical Life Exercises in the home and Montessori school can provide the ...

    "At such a time everything is easy; all is life and enthusiasm. Every effort marks an increase in power." ( The Secret of Childhood, Chapter 6, Pg.40). It is driven unconsciously by an inner force that the best way that the best way an adult can support this passion is

  1. Idendification of literacy needs. A dyslexia assessment is a full process that focuses ...

    Naming speed (pictures) 93 130 93 86 112 Average Above Average Average Average Above Average Digit Memory Test Auditory short term/working memory 86 Average Appendix 2 Summaries of the assessment data Sam's difficulties are consistent with a profile of dyslexia, with specific difficulties in word attack skills, reading accuracy, decoding, spelling and writing.

  2. Theoretical approaches for discipline essay. The setting of productive rules and the enforcing ...

    The consequence for being late on this occasion may be to stay back and catch up on the work which was missed. A further preventative strategy for late students is to set a task to be started as students arrive in class.

  1. This assignment will be based on observational accounts of 2 children within my setting.[p1] ...

    Part 2 It is important to observe and assess the children within our setting in order to see what stage of development they are at. We can also look at their interests, abilities and if they have any needs. From this information, we can then look at the possible lines of development for the individual child.

  2. How the montessori directress assists the child in his psychic development.

    254). The Montessori teacher must be lively. "For one thing, she must keep her imagination alive". (The Absorbent Mind, Chapter 27, Pg. 252). She must be skilled at motivating and engaging students. She must be able to run, jump, sing, dance and even roll on the floor with the children.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work