As a teacher I
believe, to see the success of teaching and learning process we need to
understand the process of learning in students. Because we can find different
levels and different types of students in a classroom. We cannot say students are learning only within the class
room. They can learn outside the class room such as in the playground, home
etc. and also we cannot say they are always learning the right thing. There is
a huge possibility to learn wrong things also. Learning is not always occur in
conscious manners. Sometimes it can be occurred unconsciously also. As an
example eyes are closing when there is a bright light. Learning can lead to
change not only knowledge and skills but also attitudes.
educationists put some effort to find answers to the question as to how
learning take place in individuals. According to their view there are three
main groups of learning theories. They are Behavioral theories of learning,
Cognitive theories of learning and social learning.
Now we are going
to analyze how the theory of classical conditioning and operant conditioning
helps in learning.
scientist called Pavlov developed a theory of learning in the 1920s based on
his findings related to experiments on how digestion of food and drink takes
According to his
explanation by providing stimuli continuously, the expected responses can be
obtained. Even though we change the stimuli that is similar to the previous
stimuli we can obtain the expected response.
As teachers we
also can apply similar methods in teaching learning process .As an example some
students are facing their grade five scholarship exam math paper with fearful
situation with anxiety and pressure. Even when the student is older, the
student may have autonomic responses, such as sweating and increased heart rate
etc. As a class teacher we can aware of this types of situation and arrange a
test environment continuously that reinforces a feel of calm and focus. When
the student takes test in a low pressure, positive similar type of environment
again and again, the students can familiar to the examination environment and
show their performance well. Another example is in rural area the school
children in primary section are receiving a plate of rice and curry during the
interval. The bell also ring to start
the interval. After few weeks grade one students know when the bell is ringing
they can get their food.so they are learning to get a balance diet in a well-mannered
And also when
starting time and the ending time also children can identify easily with the
help of bell. After the bell the school plays two songs. Then start the pansil.
National anthem and the school song. Every day they are playing as a recode
tape with the support of speakers. Therefor they are observing pansil, singing
the national anthem and school song properly on time after practicing it every
day all the children can continue them without having a speakers also.
teachers are giving sweets, to get the answers from students. That is a
positive reinforcement to encourage the students to familiar with the teacher
and lessons. Students also accept it and taste the sweet. Even though teacher
stop the giving sweets by explaining the reason children like to have sweets
when giving positive answers.
According to the
above examples we can believe classical conditioning can support to learning,
in forming habits both good and bad and helping children to remember.
B.F Skinner used
a pigeon, a box with a tray and lever to explain the theory of operand
conditioning. As a result of press the leaver (active response) pigeon gets the
food (reinforce). Operant conditioning is consider as the process of learning behavioral patterns
which are based on certain stimuli from the environment, That external stimuli
lead to certain behavior. A person knows the kind of values that a particular behavior
will lead to, that can be caused to either encourage or discourage that value,
he will behave in a particular way. This concept can be further explained by
breaking it down into 4 sub-parts such as positive reinforcement , negative
reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment
conditioning is based on two main principles such as behavior shaping and
If the teacher
wants to practice a dancing item with primary students, she can use the
behavior shaping method. She can start with a small step and achieve the
expected behavior via a number of small steps and the reinforcement of each
successful step in order to stabilize that behavior. She can motivate students
by clapping at the end of that each and every successful step. The reinforcement
schedules can be done for the following situations. The monthly test can be
done in a fixed time schedule like 30th March. Or it can be done as
a variable interval schedule as if teacher says that the monthly test will be
held on any day of the month.
conditioning involves with punishments and rewards. As a teacher if we can put
a star, happy face or write something like good job, well done, very good it is
a reward. As a punishment teacher can give extra homework. Students also try to
do their homework continuously. Because the teacher as well as the parents also
continuously checking and appreciate their effort. This is a very good example
for a positive reinforcement in the classroom. These types of reinforcement helps
to increase the interest and the productivity of the students.
operant condition can be used to maintain the discipline and behavior of the
students also. During the assembly time if the children are listen and behave
properly teacher can appreciate it by saying ‘good effort, well done’ students
are also motivate to maintain it furthermore. The prefects are checking and
note down who are the late comers in every day. If the student comes late
continuously in three days they are giving small punishment for the late
comers. So the students are concern about it and try to come without late
continuously. That is a very good example for negative reinforcement. Students
are respect to some teachers very much. Even though they do not scold, students
do not like to come late .so they try to reduce or decrease these types of
unpleasant situation. It can be consider as a positive punishment.
When the teacher teach a new lesson or new
word, if the child it done it properly, always teacher can appreciate it by
clapping and maintaining a star chart .At the end of the term teacher can select a best student of the
class, the students who got the highest marks and well-disciplined student
and give small gifts then the selected students
also try to maintain that record I each and every term. Other students also try
to be like those students and work hard to achieve their targets. These are
very good examples for positive reinforcement
When one student
hit to another student teacher can separately sit them and never allow others
to talk with the troubled student. Then that student will learn not hit others
furthermore. That is a positive punishment in the operand conditioning
Therefore operant condition also help teacher to
make students with a good attitude and positive approach,
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Available at: https://psychologenie.com/operant-conditioning-examples
Accessed 14 12 2017.
Lekamge, D. G., 1989. Educational Psychology. September 2009 ed.
Nawala,Nugegoda: Open University of Sri Lanka.
Renata, R., n.d. Uses
of Classical Conditioning in the Classroom. Online
Available at: https://classroom.synonym.com/uses-classical-conditioning-classroom-7603215.html
Accessed 11 12 2017.
Teachnology, I., n.d.
How To Use Operant conditioning in your classroom. Online
Available at: http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/teaching/operantcond.html
Accessed 11 12 2017.