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What we experience and how we experience it impacts our responses.

Theorists: B.F. Skinner, Ivan Pavlov, Edward Thorndike, John B. Watson

Key: The focus is on observable behaviors instead of internal processes.

It was a dominating view in the first half of the 20th century. It is one of the more traditional views on education and I feel a default for many public institutions. This approach is at a disadvantage because it doesn't take into account emotions, moods and thinking patterns readily. (cognition)


Stimulus: a change to the environment

Response: reaction to the stimulus ( change in environment)

Classical Conditioning:  The stimulus is natural to the environment ( association) Over time it becomes conditioned. This is then referred to as a "conditioned" response.

Operant Conditioning: ( Popular in clinical settings) Reinforcement plays a big role here. At this point, it is either reinforcement or punishment. Invoking punishments makes it less likely the behavior will be repeated and vice versa.


Teacher:  In terms of the classroom, the teacher needs to be the facilitator in order to receive the desired outcome. Although there are a variety of factors at play, positive feedback is a cornerstone to this learning approach.

  • (Teacher) only source of knowledge

  • Controls all aspects of informational flow ( design, delivery, evaluation)

Tools: Rewards and Punishments ( both negative and positive)

Student: Passive is the only way to be! Students are the star of "operant conditioning". They only need to show their understanding.


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