This essay allows you to deepen your understanding of learning behaviour theory and to analyse and understand how it might be applied to behaviour in the classroom. In particular, you need to differentiate behaviours displayed by students in learning environments and formulate reasons for these behaviours using learning behavioural theories.
This task is assessing your ability to demonstrate that you meet the criteria for the following unit learning outcome:
- Differentiate behaviours displayed by students in learning environments and formulate reasons for these behaviours using behavioural and educational theories.
Write a 1500-word essay in response to one of the quotes below. Reflect on what behaviour is and utilise one of the theories of behaviour that you have been introduced to in the unit to date. Discuss different behaviours displayed by students in learning environments and formulate reasons using a learning behavioural theory with examples where possible. Keep in mind there may be multiple contributing factors as to why different behaviours may occur.
1. “The evidence is unequivocal – children who have difficulty regulating their emotions, paying attention, initiating peer interactions and sustaining engagement in learning tasks are at risk for school difficulties.” (Bulotsky-Shearer, Dominguez & Bell, 2012, p. 421)
2. “Children’s experience within school is crucial in determining their likelihood of experiencing MHD (Mental Health Disorders), but this experience is clearly individual in nature and individual differences in competencies such as self-regulation and social skills help to explain why children in similar environments may experience different levels of well-being.” (Humphrey & Wigelsworth, 2012, p. 339)
In your essay you will need to:
- define behaviour based on the theory you have chosen
- demonstrate an understanding that behaviour is a socio-cultural construct
- introduce the quote you have chosen and identify the behaviours displayed by students in a learning environment according to the quote
- formulate reasons for these behaviours based on the theory you have chosen. Choose from the following learning behaviour theories:
- Behavioural theory.
- Humanist theory.
- Cognitive theory.
- Ecological theory.
- Sociocultural theory.
When you approach your assessment, it is important that you examine the implications of mental health discussed in the quotes, but that you do not focus solely on the possible ramifications of mental health escalation. You are encouraged to use the topic of resilience and positive psychology to inform your response and connection to the theory you have chosen.
To receive maximum marks for the essay you must demonstrate clarity and understanding of the topic and offer interpretation of the issues and implications together with a very high level of scholarship. Presentation, format and structure must be of a professional standard.
- Knowledge of behaviour and behavioural theory.
- Understanding of behaviour in the classroom in relation to socio-cultural constructs.
- Format and structure of essay, including conventions of academic English.
- Academic research, including APA referencing.
Your work will be assessed using the following marking guide:
Understanding Behaviour: Dealing with Disruptive Behaviors in a Classroom
One of the major challenges in any teaching institution is the occurrence of disruptive behaviors in the classroom. Disruptive behaviors not only hinder the teacher from delivering his content effectively but also affect the response of the learners and their ability to understand what are taught. As the dictionary would define behavior, it is the way an individual conducts himself about his surrounding environment. Human behavior is, therefore, a byproduct of the innate nature of a person and the environment is living (Anderson, 1974). Disruptive behaviors are a pattern of actions that disrupt the conducive environment for the classroom and the effective learning of the students. Different educators, philosophers, and psychologists have attempted different ways of explaining the causes of different behavior in humans. They have developed different theories that explain the causes of these deviant behaviors in students. In most cases, the behavioral patterns of learners are a product of their innate nature and the environment live.
Disruptive behaviors vary in nature depending on their causes. For a teacher to address a certain behavior, has to understand the cause of that behavior to deal with it effectively. It requires an in-depth analysis of the behavior and the possible causes. We will examine some of the disruptive behaviors in the classroom and some possible causes. Different behaviors need different approaches to solving them. We examine various educational and psychological issues that might cause certain behaviors in students and possible solutions to dealing with such behavior. If not controlled, these disruptive behaviors could lead to Mental health disorders (Humphrey,2012). These behaviors manifest themselves in either of the following ways, difficulty regulating their emotions, paying attention, initiating peer interactions and sustaining engagement.
The behavioral theory is one of the most effective psychological theories that explain human behavior. The behavioral theory assumes that all habits are learned. It assumes that the behavior of a child in the classroom is learned from the environment. One of the key components of the behavioral theory is the behavioral reinforcement and punishments. According to this theory, various behaviors observed in the classroom are learned both in and out of the classroom. The teacher can control such behaviors depending on their reaction to such behaviors. If an action receives a positive feedback, the action is likely to be repeated. According to Ivan Pavlov’s classical conditioning theory, the continuous rewarding of a certain behavior encourages its reoccurrence in a certain environment (Carlston, 2009). B.F Skinner on the other developed the operant conditioning theory that argued that punishment for a particular action limits its occurrence. These two theories emphasize the role of the teacher in promoting and limiting the occurrence of various disruptive behaviors.
An example of disruptive behavior in the classroom explained by the behaviorism theory is calling out in class. This is one of the most disruptive behaviors, especially among young learners. Unlike other behaviors, this behavior depends on the principle and nature of the teacher. Calling out is an example of a problem involving regulations of emotion. Learners may call out because they are excited, angry or emotional. Calling out is a reaction that helps the learner deal with their emotions. For teachers to deal with the habit effectively, have to understand the emotional problem of the student and deal with it effectively. They need to address the inability of the learners to regulate their emotions.
In classes where there are different teachers, students will call out in some lessons and remain silent in others depending on the nature of the teacher (Rogers, 2010). Calling out is an example of attention –seeking behavior in a classroom. Calling out not only affects the concentration of the individual but also tampers with the concentration levels of the rest of the class. If the student gains attention by calling out, then the behavior is likely to be repeated. Teachers that respond to the students that call out encourage such behavior in the classroom. If the student acquires emotional satisfaction by calling out, then the behavior is likely to be repeated (O’connell, 1999). However, the teacher attaches negative consequences to such actions the learner will learn to remain silent in the classroom. The teacher can decide to use either operant or classical conditioning to deal with the problem of calling out in the classroom. In a behaviorist perspective, the teacher has the responsibility of setting up conditions that will either encourage the occurrence of a certain behavior or inhibit it (Greenwald, 2013). The teacher has the duty of creating experiences that will determine the behavioral patterns of the students in the classroom.
Another common disruptive behavior in a school setting is bullying. Bullying is the use of superior strength, physical or mental, to intimidate someone and cause him to do something against their will (Huesmann, 1994). This is one of the most common disruptive behaviors in most schools. Bullying not only affects the physical state of the victims but also disturbs their mental stability and affects their esteem. Bullying is a complex behavioral issue as it involves both the aggressor and the victim. Both the aggressor and the victim have certain qualities that make them fit their roles (Nansel, 2005). For teachers to understand the psychological causes of bullying, need to understand the mental operation of both the aggressor and the victim. What makes the victim an easy target for bullying? What is the motivation behind the aggressor’s aggression and zeal against the other student? To understand this behavior the teacher ought to make realistic examinations of the possible causes of the behavioral patterns of both the aggressor and the victim.
Susan M. Swearer 2014, describes bullying as a complex phenomenon that involves various psychological and social factors. She argued that bullying occurs as a result of the social construct in a certain environment that influences the psychological state of an individual. Different people have different reactions to bullying. Bullying occurs as a way of satisfying various influences in the society. The ability to satisfy these influences by asserting physical or mental torture on a victim gives the aggressor a strong sense of achievement. Other psychologists have attributed bullying external influences that boost the ego of the bully. The bully has a sense of achievement by inflicting pain on other students. This influences maybe personal, or social-cultural (Espelage, 2004). The personal influences to bullying give the bully a feeling of success if he proves he is better than his colleagues are by inflicting mental or physical pain. The cultural influences depend on the beliefs of a society. If a society believes that oppression is a show of strength, then the bully will assert his power over his victims to attain social recognition.
The behavioral theory explains some of the possible causes of bullying in class. The victim of bullying undergoes operant conditioning and accepts his fate as a weakling. One of the main element of bullying is that the victim allows himself to become a victim of bullying to avoid some negative consequences if he does not (Stern, 2000). The bully uses his strength mental and physical to inflict pain on the victim if he does not fulfill certain conditions. In fear of the consequences of such conditions, the victim of the bullying accepts his position as a slave to the oppressor (Mullen, 1987). The victims of bullying restrain from fighting back because they lack the ability to stand the mental or physical strength of the oppressor. The oppressor, on the other hand, feeds on the fear and respect he earns from inflicting mental or physical pain on the victims of the oppression. The biggest motivation of the bully is the positive response he gets from oppressing the victim. This might be in the form of ego or physical goods. The continuous provision of such goods reinforces that behavior (Takemura, 2014). For bullying to take place, the bully needs positive reinforcement from, family, peers, and community to keep up his acts. Without positive results from either of these fields, he is discouraged to bully anyone. The teacher can deal with bullying by limiting the positive feedback the bully gets. This can be done by identifying the source of reinforcement for such behavior and limiting it.
The inability of earners to pay attention in class is another challenge to the teachers in any class. When the learners cannot pay attention, have a difficult time getting concepts taught in class. On a behaviorist’s perspective, the inability of the learner to pay attention is learned. The problem of not paying attention occurs when the teacher cannot regulate the classroom effectively. Paying attention is a habit that can be acquired through reinforcement (Carlston, 2009). The teacher can use various strategies to earn the attention of the learner and help them keep them. Paying attention is a habit that can be acquired through classical conditioning. Rewards and positive compliments to students can help solve the problem of attention seeking.
One of the key pillars of behaviorism is that human behaviors are acquired through reinforcement and repetition. The teacher had a pivotal role in influencing the behaviors of his students. The teacher can reinforce various behavior and discourage others by setting the right conditions in the classroom. The teacher needs to focus on the experiences he exposes the learners. These experiences shape the behavior of the learners on a daily basis (Stern, 2010). If the experiences are right, the learner is conditioned to behave in the right manner. The reaction of the teacher to an action in the classroom influences the perception of the learner. It is, therefore, mandatory for the teacher to uphold professionalism when dealing with every action to ensure he encourages the right behaviors in the learners.
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