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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Constructivist and Behaviorist Philosophies Are Beneficial in the Classroom

Constructivist and Behaviorist Philosophies Are Beneficial in the Classroom

There are many different philosophies on education, and many people focus on one philosophy or another, but as a teacher I believe it is important to make use of both constructivist and behaviorist philosophies. My personal philosophy on educational practices embodies and incorporates behaviorist and constructivist philosophies, and I believe both of these philosophies can be used effectively to educate students in the best possible manner.

Classroom organization is a very important part of education, and it can be maximized by using both constructivist and behaviorist philosophies. As a teacher I would prefer for my classroom to be open and flexible in compliance with the constructivist viewpoint (Johnson, Musial, & Hall, 2005, p.363). This constructivist approach to classroom organization can be reflected in the classroom by allowing everything from seating arraignments to the lesson plans to be subject to change. A behaviorist classroom organization does not allow for change and is organized by the teacher. As the teacher I would set a standard that the students would have to maintain, but I would also give them the freedom to make decisions in the classroom. In order to maintain a standard in the classroom I would use behaviorist ideas such as rewards and punishments, but I would also allow for the constructivist ideas of the students involvement in decision making. I feel letting the students organize their own environment is important because it creates enthusiasm, comfort, and a sense of responsibility for the students.
Motivation is another extremely important factor in the learning process. I feel that motivation should be created by both constructivist and behaviorist philosophies. Motivation can also be inspired by direct involvement and interaction of the students which is according to constructivist views. Motivation can be accomplished by setting a standard and maintaining it by positive and negative reinforcement which is in accordance with behaviorist views. Constructivist philosophy provides "internal incentives" which are created by the student's direct involvement in the educational experience, and "external controls" are the behaviorist focus for providing motivation by setting a system of ideas by which the students will be expected to abide by (Johnson, Musial, & Hall, 2005, p.363). Motivation can be provided to students effectively by using both constructivist and behaviorist philosophies.
Discipline plays an important role in the classroom, and must be provided in order to effectively teach. I think that as a teacher I would have more of a constructivist approach to teaching because the "high control" provided by behaviorist philosophies may seem appealing at first, but I believe that both the teacher and the learner should have control of the classroom in accordance with constructivist philosophies (Johnson, Musial, & Hall, 2005, p.363). I think that the constructivist ideas on discipline help the students learn responsibility, confidence, and self expression while also respecting them as individuals with opinions. I believe that this is important because it builds goodwill amongst the members of the class, and helps the students grow as individuals. This also gives the students experience working with many people for a common goal. Discipline is an extremely important factor in the classroom and I would maintain discipline through the application of constructivist methods.
Teaching styles vary amongst teachers, but they are an exceptionally important factor in the education process. I feel that the use of a constructivist teaching style is beneficial in a classroom because the learning is based on hands-on experiences and personal discoveries. (Johnson, Musial, & Hall, 2005, p.363) I think that the behaviorist teaching style is not the right teaching style for my classroom because it is based on "extreme amounts of teacher talk" (Johnson, Musial, & Hall, 2005, p.363). The constructivist teaching style is more beneficial in the classroom because it provides a more interactive and enjoyable classroom experience. It is also a more memorable learning environment because the students are actively involved in all the aspects of the classroom. Teaching styles that support constructivist ideas are valuable in the classroom environment.
I think that both behaviorist and constructivist educational theories have many beneficial ideas. As a teacher I would employ methods from both behaviorist and constructivist philosophies in the classroom because I feel it is important to use the most effective methods of teaching. I think that the behaviorist idea of positive and negative reinforcement is very effective in the learning environment, and I also believe that the student's direct involvement in the classroom is extremely important. I think that the students can also be directly involved in providing negative and positive reinforcement which follows both behaviorist and constructivist viewpoints. Overall, I believe that giving the students the ability to learn hands-on, and the right guidance through the reinforcement of standards is the most effective way of teaching.
Reference
Johnson, J.A., Musial, D., & Hall, G.E. (2005) . Introduction to the Foundations of American Education, (13th ed.) : Allan and Bacon.

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