I recently took a class in classroom management, though I did not realize it at the time I was being conditioned to respond to certain stimulus—A student acts out my job is to stop the misbehavior following a set process. Oh wait this is about the students, let me start over. In the class I learned a lot about processes one is Fred Jones “Say, See, Do” in this model the student learns one step at a time. (Jones, Jones, & Jones, 2000) The teacher says it, the student sees the process, then is expected to perform the process. This sure sounds a lot like Skinner or Pavolov. In this model we are conditioning the student to respond a certain way. Harry Wong also is a behaviorist He calls his process procedures but the routine is the same. (Wong & Wong, 2005) Practice the procedure until it becomes so ingrained into the student that not thought is no longer required.
If the behaviorist model is about say, see, do until it becomes so ingrained into one’s psyche that it can be done without thought the cognitive model is concerned with how the brain functions. In other words what stimulates learning. In this model teachers are encouraged to “provide them with choices in the curriculum and ensure their learning environment reflects a sense of freedom” (Pearson Education Inc, 2005) In this model the idea is to allow the student the freedom to learn and progress at their own pace. The teacher is there to provide support and to give them the resources to succeed.
The question now becomes is any one model superior to another. The answer has to be no. Both models are needed in the classroom. For example I would use the behaviorist model at the beginning of the school year. Class these are the expected behaviors prior to class you will sharpen pencils, have books ready, etc. The teacher would have the students model each until it is just habit not thought required. But if the teacher’s mission is to facilitate learning then the cognitive model takes over. How do I stimulate the brain to want to learn. If I were to use the cognitive model of learning I would have to make the lesson relevant to the student. For example as a history teacher I would stimulate an artist by showing how an artist influenced history. Or show pictures of historical events, anything that would stimulate a desire to learn.
The question remains unanswered is one model superior to another? I say no each is needed to accomplish the overall objective which is to get student to learn in the least stressful environment possible.
Jones, F. H., Jones, P., & Jones, J. (2000). Tools for Teaching. Santa Cruz: Fredric H. Jones and Associates, Inc.
Pearson Education Inc. (2005). Learning and the Brain. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishig.
Wong, H. K., & Wong, R. T. (2005). The First Days of School. Mt View: Harry K. Wong.
8 years ago