Behaviourism

Behaviourism as a Learning Theory can be described as direct transmission of knowledge from teacher to student.

It follows from this that Behaviourism does not require interaction between learners, or even between learners and actors outside of the classroom.  Behaviourism is Objective in nature as the facts of the world are seen to be independent of human understanding or interaction with the world.

Associated Teaching Techniques

Programmed Instruction, Explicit Instruction and Direct Instruction are all teaching techniques that are based on Behaviourism as a Learning Theory (Schuh & Barab, 2008, p. 76).  Each of these techniques make it very clear to students what is expected for them to succeed, but give students no ownership of learning, and so tend to result in low commitment, other than what is immediately required for each lesson.

Proponents of these styles of Instruction often value teacher accountability, and describe these techniques as evidence-based in terms of producing improved results.  However, accountability as a strategy for improvement is a relatively poor way to look for improvements in outcomes. (Fullan, 2014, p. 27) If teachers are primarily accountable for the data and results they produce, then that will become the focus (Kreber, 2013, p. 859).  Behaviourism, as a learning theory, works well for students who are working at the level of Ritual Compliance, in that they have low commitment and attention, but will do what is asked by the teacher in order to avoid negative consequences.

A very common technique is Differentiation.  Simply put, Differentiation is a process where a teacher directs students at different levels of ability to complete work at different levels of complexity.  This is not usually done on an individual basis, but by grouping students according to ability, and perhaps by work ethic.

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