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Chapter 7

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University of Waterloo
Maureen Drysdale

Chapter 7: Behavioural and Social Cognitive Approaches to Teaching and Learning What is Learning? What learning is and is not - Learning is a relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs through experience Approaches to learning - Behavioural ○ Behaviourism is the view that behaviour should be explained by experiences that can be directly observed, not by mental processes  Mental processes are thoughts, feelings and motives that each of us experiences but that cannot be observed by others ○ Emphasizes associative learning, which two events are connected or associated ○ Classical conditioning, operant conditioning and applied behaviour analysis are behavioural view that emphasize associative learning - Cognitive ○ Social cognitive approach, emphasize how behaviour, environment and person factors interact to influence learning ○ Cognitive information processing, how individuals process information through attention, memory, thinking and other cognitive processes ○ Cognitive constructivist, emphasized learner’s cognitive construction of knowledge and understanding ○ Social constructivist, focuses on collaboration with others to produce knowledge and understanding Behavioural approaches to learning - Classical conditioning ○ Exploring classical conditioning  A type of learning in which an organism learns to connect or associate stimuli  Neutral stimulus becomes associated with a meaningful stimulus and acquires the capacity to elicit a similar response (ex. Pavlov’s theory with dog)  Unconditioned stimulus (US), stimulus that automatically produces a response without any prior learning (ex. Food)  Unconditioned response (UR), unlearned response that is automatically elicited by the US (ex. Dog’s salivation to food)  Conditioned stimulus (CS), previously neutral stimulus that eventually elicits a conditioned response after being associated with the US  Conditioned response (CR), learned response to the conditioned stimulus that occurs after US-CS pairing ○ Mechanisms of classical conditioning: generalization, discrimination and extinction  Generalization, involves the tendency of a new stimulus similar to the original conditioned stimulus to produce a similar response • Ex. Fails biology tests and get criticized, is not anxious studying for chemistry test because two subjects are closely related in science  Discrimination, occurs when an organism responds to certain stimuli but not others • Ex. Student experiencing anxiety during English course doesn’t experience similar anxiety when preparing for science test  Extinction, involves the weakening of the conditioned response in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus - Systematic desensitization ○ A method based on classical conditioning that reduces anxiety by getting the individual to associate deep relaxation with successive visualizations of increasingly anxiety-producing situations ○ Involves a type of counter-conditioning  Relaxing feelings that the student imagines (US), produce relaxation (UR),  Student then associates anxiety-producing cues (CS) with the relaxing feelings - Evaluating classical conditioning ○ Can help us understand a variety of physiological and behavioural relations ○ Not as effective in explaining voluntary behaviours Operant conditioning - What is operant conditioning? ○ Form of learning in which the consequences of behaviour produce changes in the probability that the behaviour will occur - Thorndike’s law of effect ○ States that behaviours followed by positive outcomes are strengthened and that behaviours followed by negative outcomes are weakened ○ S-R theory, because the organisms’ behaviour is due to a connection between a stimulus and a response - Skinner’s operant conditioning ○ Consequences of behaviour lead to changes in the probability that he behaviour will occur - Mechanisms of operant conditioning: reinforcement and punishment ○ Reinforcement (reward)  Consequence that increases the probability that a behaviour will occur  Punishment is a consequence that decreases the probability a behaviour will occur ○ Reinforcement can be complex  Positive reinforcement, the frequency of a response increases because it is followed by a stimulus • Something is added or obtained  Negative reinforcement, the frequency of a response increases because the response either removes a stimulus or involves avoiding a stimulus • Something is removed, subtracted or avoided  Positive punishment, involves the administration of an unwelcome consequence (ex. Detention, addition homework)  Negative punishment, involves the removal of a valued item (ex. Field trip, free time)  Reinforcements  to strengthen or increase the frequency of a targeted
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