Today with my classmates from University of Barcelona after having watching a video about Skinner´s theory of learning and reading something about Constructivism, we had in interesting discussion on WhatsApp about these topics, the relationship with the classroom and our own experience as students.
You can find our discussion below:
Karen: Hi girls!
Jess: I should admit that I still can’t answer this question: “Which areas of knowledge do you think would work best being taught or learn through a behaviorist approach?”
Karen: me neither
Jess: I am trying to find an example, maybe it is easier than I think… but until now I have no answer
Cristina: Yes, me too I don’t know how to approach to this in practical terms
Karen: The thing is that I like Constructivism, the area who cares about that
Karen: but, it seems to be really scientific , isn’t it?
Karen: I am thinking on the student motivation
Karen: you should give a positive feedback to get a better result
Jess: I agree with you, motivation is essential in a classroom
Cristina: Yes, I think that a positive impact leads to motivation and encourages students to make an effort to get the results they want
Karen: I am thinking for example on my practices. The students were used to a different positive stimulus
Karen: For example, while they were talking about whatever with them classmate, the teacher was constantly moving her head like saying yes
Karen: In this way they were always motivated to continue interacting with each other
Jess: You are right. Is also important to find the right moment and the right way to correct mistakes
Karen: when they were wrong, the teacher took notes and then she put on the whiteboard without saying any name
Karen: so they never were afraid of being wrong
Jess: Is an excellent technique
Cristina: I feel that when I do substitution you realize how much influence does the teacher role have on the students because in some classes you find that they have no stimulus to motivate them and they just do exercises from the book and grammar explanations and they feel they are not learning a language. I always try to teach language in a way that they realize that they are able to use it in real life and teaching expressions that they are going to use for sure
Karen: for sure!!!!
Cristina: And then you see that their motivation changes from frustration into encouragement because they feel they can do something with language
Karen: to create a “real” interaction is a good thing to get your purpose
Cristina: Of course! I couldn’t agree more with you
Karen: It is essential for me, too
Jess: The way I try to teach Spanish is completely different from the way I learned English
Karen: then, it is important to create a good method to correct them but making them feeling well
Cristina: Yes for sure!
Jess: I didn’t have that experience as student with English in general
Jess: And sometimes I felt really bad because of my mistakes
Karen: I feel the same. Last year I was teaching english, and I feel that my students were really used to learn with a traditional method. So, when I tried to do it different, it was hard for them, just because they were ashamed to speak in english, just because they didn’t know how to do it
Cristina: Exactly they panic just when you tell them that they have to talk in English and they know for sure how to say that!
Cristina: But they are not used to
Karen: Absolutely agree!
Jess: The truth is that not all methods are for all students
Jess: So, we have to find an equilibrium
Jess: Is a challenge!
Cristina: True! some might prefer just working on grammar exercises whether others prefer speaking practice or other methods
Cristina: It is!
Karen: Yes, it is a challenge for sure. The equilibrium I think is combining the different methods that work for them
Karen: What do you think about the second question: Which areas would not work as well through a behaviorist approach??
Karen: As I’ve said, I think that this method is focus on repetition, so, I strongly believe that the method doesn’t cares on comprehension or reflexive area
Jess: I understand your idea. But do you really think that this method doesn’t work in any area?
Jess: I really don’t know
Jess: I am trying to find an example
Jess: Probably the way babies learn? What do you think?
Karen: not at all. What I think it is that you need repetition in some aspects but not on everything
Cristina: I don’t think that repetition would work in most cases because you are just repeating the same structure without developing strategies to be able to use the language itself with its variations, its naturality etc. you are able to recall sentences without linking one to another
Cristina: Maybe in terms of practicing pronunciation would be better as by repeating the word you finally are able to say it correctly
Karen: good point of view Cristina
Jess: That is an excellent example!
Cristina: I’m glad you liked my idea hahah
Karen: For example, Spanish babies are used to think that the participle ends in -ado
Karen: for this reason they produce words like: rompido (it is _roto_)
Karen: and they just produce that just because of the repetition of some common participles, so they generalize the rules
Karen: maybe it is not the best example, but what I mean is just that if you repeat some rules, you don’t care about another aspects that need more reflexion
Karen: this way, thinking on constructivism and on the line of this babies question
Jess: This happen with some students. They automatically apply the rule for regular verbs to irregular and when teacher explain how irregulars are they ask if there is some rule for that
Karen: little by little they cares that always it doesn’t work the rule “-ado” for participles
Karen: is that the idea of the constructivism? isn’t it?
Cristina: This is true and we have to teach them how to unlearn the rule in order to apply irregular forms
Jess: I think it is
I would like to know your opinion about this topics, especially about which areas of knowledge you think would work best being taught through a behaviourist approach.