Rats, reinforcements and role-models: Taking a second look at behaviourism and its relevance to education.

O'Siochru, Cathal (2018) Rats, reinforcements and role-models: Taking a second look at behaviourism and its relevance to education. In: Psychology and the Study of Education: Critical Perspectives on Developing Theories. The Routledge Education Studies Series . Routledge, Oxon, UK, pp. 142-160. ISBN 978-1-138-23764-3

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Abstract

In Chapter 9, Cathal Ó Siochrú explores the behaviourist perspective on learning, investigating what lies beyond the image best known to most educators: ‘black box’ theories which fail to acknowledge any mental processes and whose relevance is mainly in the areas of behaviour management and maintaining discipline. This chapter takes a fresh look at well-known early behaviourists like Skinner and Watson, while also considering some who are less well known but still influential, such as Edward Thorndike. We will see how the pursuit of functionalism and rejection of structuralism by some key figures came to define the early behaviourist model, but that this view was not shared by all early behaviourists or those that came after them. Following on from this, the chapter explores developments of the behaviourist model of learning, ranging from the well-regarded social learning and self-efficacy theories of Albert Bandura, to less widely known but nonetheless significant work done by Kazdin on token economies, or Tomasello and Carpenter’s work on intentionality and behaviour. These developments show that behaviourism has grown beyond its strict functionalist origins and reintroduced mental concepts like self- efficacy in order to broaden the scope of behaviourism’s relevance to education. Finally, the chapter will consider some examples of recent research on educational practices and important social issues which draw on the behaviourist model of learning to achieve their insights, such as ‘token economies’, ‘gamification’ or the effects of videogames on children’s behaviour. Ultimately, this chapter aims to show that the behaviourist model of learning is an applied model, a sophisticated and flexible tool which can help us to understand and positively influence many kinds of learning in a wide range of educational contexts.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: psychology education learning behaviourism
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Education Studies
Depositing User: Cathal O'SIOCHRU
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2018 15:45
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2018 11:19
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2451

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