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THEORIES OF

LANGUAGE LEARNING

WEEK 1 & 2

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Theories of Language Learning

Behaviourism
Cognitivism
Social Constructivism
Humanism

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Behaviorism Theory of
Learning
Teachers must learn how to
teach ... they need only to be
taught more effective ways of
teaching. -B. F. Skinner

BEHAVIOURISM
This theory implies that the learner response to
environmental stimuli without his/her mental state
being a factor in the learners behaviour.
Individuals learn to behave through conditioning.
Two types of conditioning
Operant
Classical

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Operant Conditioning
Learner is able to make a connection with the
consequences associated with his/her behaviour
through positive and negative reinforcement and
punishment.
Positive reinforcement offering a rewarding
factor to increase a respond.
- Words of encouragement or
physical rewards.

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Negative reinforcement relinquishing a


negative factor to increase a response.
- A teenager cleaning his room
after being nagged by his mom.
Punishment - decreases the chances of a
negative behaviour happening again.
- A child is spanked by his/her parent
after behaving inappropriately.
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Classical Conditioning
A natural reflex that occurs in response to a
stimulus.
A naturally occurring stimulus is placed with a
neutral stimulus, allowing the neutral stimulus to,
in time, evoke a natural reflex.
Techniques of classical conditioning are used
today in treatment of phobias and anxiety.

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Key Figures
Albert Bandura his social learning theory points out the
importance of observational learning.
B.F.Skinner coined the term operant conditioning.
Clark L.Hull wanted to explain learning and motivation
by observing ones behaviour, famous for the drivereduction theory.
Ivan Pavlov discovered classical conditioning.
John B. Watson known as the father of behaviourism

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Ivan Pavlov
Researched the physiology of
digestion in mammals
This research led to his interest
in conditioned reflexes
Discovered classical conditioning
Pavlovs dog is a well-known
experiment in which Pavlov used
classical conditioning
Ivan Pavlov trained the dogs to
salivate when they heard a bell
after he associated the sound of
the bell with the dogs being fed
Awarded the Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine in 1904

Classroom Implications:
what the teacher does under this theory
A teacher uses behaviorism to manage his/her
classroom.
Teacher could use operant conditioning to reward or
punish his/her students
- When a student does well on a test, the teacher could use
candy as an incentive to continue to do well on a test
(positive reinforcement).
- Whenever a student misbehaves, the
teacher may prevent
the student from going outside during recess (punishment).

Classroom Implications:
What the students do under this theory
Under this theory, a student learns what
behaviors are or are not appropriate
- A student received a bad behavior mark for talking during
class. The bad behavior mark (or punishment) will teach the
student that talking while the teacher is talking is not an
appropriate behavior.

A student could also be classically conditioned to


behave a certain way in a classroom

If students realise that they always have pop quizzes when


their teacher is carrying an orange-coloured folder, they
will learn to prepare for a pop quiz at the sight of the
orange-coloured folder, even if there is no pop quiz.

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TUTORIAL
My Classroom

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