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Theory into Practice - Behaviourism

Andy Thomas & (Name Removed)

Introduction to Behaviourism

Issue Arising

Defined as: Explanations of learning

concerned with the effect of external events
on behaviour. (Duchesne, et. Al. 2012)



The issue relates to bullying and threats in the

classroom and school yard
Results in one child not wanting to come to
Looking at the ABC model in behaviorism
A- standing for antecedents
B standing for behavior
C- standing for consequence
Using the behaviorist ABC model we can
make and table of the behaviors occurring

Viewed as a Cause and Effect mechanism

where events lead to a response, over time,
response becomes learnt behaviour.
Not concerned with cognitive practices,
personal values or beliefs and emotions.
Rather the effect of reward and punishment,
for example.
Learning involves a change in behaviour.
Children are seen as a blank slate- their
minds are easily shaped and persuaded





Source: (Atherton J S. 2011)



Learning is largely the result of changes in

environmental effects. (Ormrod, J.E,1999)


After basket ball
training with

Casey accuses
Jordan of stealing
his notes
Jordan calls Casey
a waste of space

Students egg
Casey on saying
he is all talk and
they would love
to see a fight

Tells Casey he

Jordan tells Casey

he is a waste of
Casey threatens
Jordan saying he
will get whats
coming and that
he never knows
whats waiting in
a dark corner
Threatens Jordan
again saying Im
sick of you Jordan,
youre always
giving me a hard
time. And Im sick
of everyone. Youll
be sorry one day

Casey lets it go as
Jordan is a
valuable team
member and will
be suspended by
the coach if
he/she knows
Casey threatens
Jordan that he will
get whats coming
One student says
be quiet its not
worth getting in
trouble for. Other
students say they
would love to see
the two have a
real fight
There are no
consequences and
Casey gets the
reaction he is
after, Jordan is
now scared to
come to school
because of the

Theory Into Practice

The law of effect states that the
association between a stimuli and
response will be strengthen or
weakened depending upon whether a
satisfier or annoyer follows the
response (Woollard. J. 2010)
Stimuli : Competition/ Dominance over
each other (Casey and Jordan)
Response : Degrading comments,
Threats, Bullying
Satisfier : Attention from class mates,
the other getting scared, no
consequences from teachers

Evaluation of Our Approach

Provides teachers with simple strategies for
changing behaviour.
Helpful in managing disruptive behaviour.
Especially helpful when dealing with
students with behaviour problems, young
children and disabled children.
Useful for teaching sequences that must
become automatic over time. e.g. Brushing
teeth, learning to run and more.
Ignores the use and importance of cognitive
processes and their role in learning.

Tends to overlook human personalities and


ANTECENDENTS- change these by

changing the environment, create a class
room where you as a teacher are alert to
what is being said and happening
BEHAVIOUR - replace bad behaviour with
good by counselling the students into
expressing what upsets them instead of
retaliating, show that this works better
consequences that encourage the bad
behaviour to ones that encourage good by
having a behaviour chart

Why do some people respond differently

to similar situations?
Why do some people engage in
negative behaviours? (Heffner, CL,

Atherton J S (2011) Learning and Teaching; Behaviourism
[On-line: UK] retrieved 12 April 2013 from
Heffner, CL, (2011) Section: 4 Limitations of Behavioural
Theory, AllPsychOnline
Duchesne, S., McMaugh, A., Bochner, S., & Krause, K.
(2012) Education Psychology for Learning and Teaching
4.e Cengage Learning Australia
Ormrod, J.E. (1999). Human Learning (3rd Edition).
Wollard. J. (2010) Psychology for the Classroom:
Behaviourism. Routlege. USA. p.g.23 p.g. 40

This poster was completed as part assessment for
EDUC2320 at Flinders University, 2013.