Two of the instructional strategies that were discussed this week in the class that we are partaking in, “Reinforcing Effort” and “Homework and Practice” from the book Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, relate to Behaviorism by reinforcing what is learned in a classroom setting. The strategies use technology as a means to make learning more interesting and hands on for students. Examples could include online tutorials, charts, spreadsheet software, word processing applications, iPads or iPods, etc. All of these tools are excellent resources in technology that can reinforce ideas in the classroom outside the classroom.
The first strategy “Reinforcing Effort” uses graphs, charts, and other programs on the computer for teachers, students, and parents to use to track the effort that students make in order to measure their effort and achievement. By using these types of strategies it can develop an attitude seeing the progress that they are making in a class. This way of showing progress can reinforce a student’s effort much in the ways that behaviorist ideas suggest.
The second strategy is also a reinforcing Behaviorist idea “Homework and Practice”. When a student practices and does homework they are in turn reinforcing what has been taught in the classroom. Dr. Orey suggests that reinforcement is much more powerful then punishment and when something is reinforced it can show that a student is learning something. In particular in my classroom I do not particularly have homework assignments, but often when students come to me and show me that they practice drawing skills outside of school I will reward them with a sketchbook of their own so that I will reinforce the effort of practice. I have students tell me daily “I can’t draw” and my response is “do you practice” and I am still waiting for a student to tell me yes. It is because when you want to get great at something you have to practice, practice, practice and practice. Practice is what makes the ideas of a the Behaviorist Theory of believing that desirable behaviors need to be reinforced.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Behaviorist learning theory. Baltimore, MD: Dr. Michael Orey.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.