- Behavioral learning theory relies on stimuli, things that provoke reactions, and responses, the reaction to stimuli. Behavioral learning theory assumes that if students are given the right stimulus, then the students will give you the response you want. The approach is simple.
1. Present the desired behavior or response.
Examples of this might include a method for solving a problem or the proper way to sit in a chair.
2. Reinforce the behavior or response.
Reinforcement is the consequence of a behavior that either encourages or discourages that particular behavior. Every time the student performs the desired behavior, the teacher should positively reinforce the behavior by rewarding the student. Conversely, a teacher may reinforce undesirable behaviors by punishing the student.
Positive reinforcement can include:
- Praise and encouragement
- Prizes – stickers, tokens etc
- Privileges – lead the class, leave early, class captain
Negative reinforcement might include:
- Removal of prizes of privileges
3. Provide new goals.
A teacher should create incremental growth by constantly setting new behavioral goals and then continuing to reward the appropriate behaviors.
4. Be consistent.
Teachers should provide positive reinforcement every time the students exhibit desired behavior.