Saturday, August 05, 2006

Education from a behaviorists point of view


"If students do not learn, is it their fault? No, their teachers have not arranged effective instructional contingencies. Is it then the teachers' fault? No, the culture has not arranged effective contingencies for them.

"Is it then the fault of the cultures? By the time we reach this question, the notion of fault is at fault. How shall we punish a culture? In moving from student to teacher to culture, we move steadily away from the feasibility of punitive measures - from the cane for the student, to dismissal for the teacher, to - what for the culture?

"A culture could be said to be punished if it does not survive (this is the ultimate selective consequence), but we change it, if at all, through other means. We look for alternative measures. Similarly, we can look for other ways of improving the behavior of teachers and students - as by designing contingencies under which productive behaviors are reinforced."

B. F. Skinner
1980 Note books. Prentice-hall Inc.: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

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