Answer to Question #178400 in Psychology for Lesedi

Question #178400

Ayanda is a student teacher at Childhood Joy Primary School. She has just arrived at the school but wants to get a head start in preparing for her teaching practical critique. Ayanda is nervous to teach in front of the college supervisor as one of her biggest fears is classroom discipline.

In the form of an essay, discuss how Ayanda may use a Behaviourist perspective to assist her in improving on her classroom management and encouraging better learning to take place.

In your essay, ensure to briefly outline the historical origins of Behaviourism as a perspective in Psychology, explain the difference between classical and operant conditioning, and use at least two academic sources to aid in providing examples on how Ayanda may encourage learning and classroom management through the use of operant conditioning techniques

Expert's answer

The behaviorist perspective is concerned with how environmental factors affect observable behavior. The behaviorist perspective proposes two main processes whereby people learn from their environment: classical conditioning and operant conditioning. The main idea behind the behavioral perspective on personality is that all behavior is learned and can be modified through conditioning. Conditioning is the process of encouraging desired behavior and discouraging unwanted behavior through a system of rewards and punishments. Ayanda can use a behaviorist perspective by leads the class through a topic, setting a task based on the information; after the students answer, Ayanda can then get feedback from the students, then he gives his feedback and sets another task or question. Using the behaviorist approach, by each round of feedback, the student is being conditioned to learn the material, and it encourages the students to learn well.

John B. Watson founded the behaviorism perspective in Psychology in 1913 with his publication on "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It," and he described it as a theory of learning based on the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment, and behaviorists believe that our responses to environmental stimuli shape our actions. Classical conditioning involves associating an involuntary response and a stimulus, while operant conditioning is about associating a voluntary behavior and a consequence. In operant conditioning, the learner is rewarded with incentives, while classical conditioning involves no such enticements. By using operant conditioning, Ayanda can give students immediate feedback about their behavior (Pitts, 1971). When Ayanda rewards positive behavior, other students are more likely to copy that behavior to earn the reward. The rewarded student is also more likely to repeat that behavior because of the positive feedback, and in that way, Ayanda will make the students encouraged to learn more (Goetz et al., 1992).


Pitts, C. (1971). Operant conditioning in the classroom. Crowell.

Goetz, E., Alexander, P., & Ash, M. (1992). Educational psychology. Merrill.

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