Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Behaviorism in Practice
"Reinforcing effort" is a method I already use in one of my classes. The class in which I apply this strategy in is Word processing. Students will complete various assignments and turn them in for a grade. IF a student wants to improve the grades received on their work, I allow them to redo the assignment for a better grade. I make it very clear to students that they will only receive the additional point if the rework is 100% correct the second time, and they can only earn half the points they lost the first time. (ie: receive an 84, redo the assignment correctly and receive a 92) by allowing them to do this, they are learning the concepts, getting a better grade, and it is still fair to those students who got everything right the first time around. In the text "Using Technology with classroom Instruction that Works" written by Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski,(2007) the authors state that "effort is the wisest choice for someone who intends to achieve success or maintain it, as it is within an individual's control, and is the most important factor in achievement." (2007, p155) By allowing students the opportunity to have a choice in the outcome of their success, gives them the incentive to do well. They put effort into fixing their errors, and get immediate results by getting a better grade. At the same time they are given a second opportunity to learn the skill correctly and form good working habits.
Orey states, (2001) all "behaviors can be unlearned and replaced by new behaviors." Therefore, by allowing students to take ownership in their achievement and success, this allows students to generate new positive behaviors and promote intrinsic motivation. It teaches them that when someone really does put forth genuine effort, it pays off. Additionally, I use this strategy as a data collection tool. It allows me to be able to pinpoint specific weaknesses students may have if they repeat the assignment for a better grade and still do not get it right. I then take measures to ensure that those students get the additional instruction they need to achieve that particular skill.
In regards to the “Homework and practice” strategy, my school district has formed a committee to review how much homework is given out to students, whether it is manageable, and if it should be reduced. I feel that some degree of homework is good. Homework allows students to "review and apply what they have learned" (Pitler et al., 2007, p.187) outside of class. In some cases when homework is given the night before, it allows students the opportunity to get acquainted with the material, so when they come to class the next day they have been exposed to the material and are less likely to be lost during class discussions and lecture. Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski,(2007) provide a wealth of ideas using technology in chapter 10 of their book that can aide students in doing homework. The authors provide lists of websites, software applications such as word and excel, and multimedia that students can utilize to reinforce skills and concepts. Methods of technology such as these, facilitate and increases learning in a creative and engaging way.
The key point to the strategies mentioned above and how they relate to behaviorism is to create lessons, supported by technology, that students will find value in and will be motivated to complete. Technology offers educators the means to engage students, differentiate lessons, and track their learning. At the same time, technology provides students with a means to work on skills that best meets their individual needs by using a variety of activities and tools " (Pitler et al., 2007, p.196)
Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/
Pitler , H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.