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Education, Behavior and Motivation Theories Term Paper

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Reducing violence and promoting non-aggressive behaviors (using Bandura’s theory and ideas about aggressive behaviors)

A theory is a set of interrelated abstract propositions that attempt to examine a phenomenon (Gredler, 2009). Principles form the basis of formulating objectives and policies. Educational theories play significant roles in formulating educational policies (Gredler, 2009). They guided the process of education and how learning should take place.

According to Albert Bandura, one’s conduct results from processes that occur in mind in a social context. Bandura posits that learning occurs through observation, rewards, and punishment (Cherry, 2014). The environment plays a key role in modeling the behavior of organisms. Unlike other theorists, he argues that aggression is determined by learning. This learning results from reinforced aggressive behavior (Cherry, 2014). Also, he demonstrates that learners whose aggressive behaviors threaten others feel motivated and continue with their unwelcoming behaviors. Since the theory holds that learning takes place through observation, aggressive behavior can be learned by observing others (Cherry, 2014). Thus, from an educational perspective, learners and other stakeholders in education must play their roles appropriately. First, educational leaders should be good role models to the students since learning takes place through observing other people.

Moreover, aggressive behavior should be punished, while good behavior should be rewarded. This will deter those with aggressive characters to repeat the mistake and encourage good behavior through reinforcement. Furthermore, Bandura argues that certain external environmental factors increase the chances that aggressive behavior will be expressed (Cherry, 2014). Teachers should choose words carefully because abusive language can result in the development of aggressive behavior.

Bandura’s theory can be applied in real-life education in the following way. In a situation where a class is very aggressive, teachers can correct students’ behaviors by modeling the right behaviors and rewarding those who behave expectedly. Educationists should ensure that the learning environment is conducive, and teachers do not insult each other or label students negatively.

Strategies to avoid gender stereotyping and activities beneficial for both genders (based on the ideas in Carol Gilligan’s Moral Reasoning Theory)

Education institutions in many nations across the world are characterized by discrimination and stereotypes. Many are times that teachers call students by their tribes and, at times, using a nickname that has originated from stereotyping. However, this should not be the case because learners might be ashamed of certain stereotypes that held about a particular gender. Thus, this makes Carol Gilligan’s moral reasoning theory crucial in developing strategies that would be used to reduce stereotyping in schools (Omrod, 2008). According to her, adult women should resolve their issues independently. It is evident from the moral reasoning theory that caring relationships exemplify women. Thus, there should be strategic approaches that provide opportunities for them to exercise their roles. Carol adds that women opt to use morality of care instead of justice (Omrod, 2008). They rarely conform to the morality of justice as being sets of rules. Educationists should develop positive attitudes that link themselves with others. Also, they should demonstrate care for others instead of care for oneself, as evident in the role of the women. Educational stakeholders should understand that there is nobody who is inferior, even though men outperform women (Omrod, 2008). The truth is that they are different from each other. It is also important for the administrators to apply their moral reasoning and act according to the ethics of care, as Carol suggests. This will promote the virtue of responsibility, accountability, and transparency that would result in improved performance outcomes. Educators should develop strategic approaches that are beneficial to both males and females (Omrod, 2008). Notably, responsibilities should be shared equally by both genders.

Humanism as a self-centered approach

Maslow developed a theory of the hierarchy of needs, which posit that a human being has various sets of needs. According to him, after one level of need is satisfied, the individual feels motivated to move to the next level of needs. Carol Rogers posited that children have a desire to learn new things (Fischer &Immordino-Yang, 2008). However, humanistic theories have been criticized by many people. This is because they focus on the positive side of the human. After all, they believe that people are generally good. Despite the criticism, the theories are typified by both strengths and weaknesses. The criticism is based on the fact that it emphasizes on the application of common sense instead of empirical data to demonstrate objectivity.

Pros of humanistic theories

According to these theorists, human kinds are good and are free to change (Martinez, 2009). This view makes persons powerful. This is because it values their ideas and self-fulfillment, unlike other theories, such as psychoanalysis and psychosocial theories. Also, humanistic aspects fit well with other approaches, making many opt to use it (Fischer &Immordino-Yang, 2008). It is used in many professions. For example, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is found in many fields, such as business, psychology, criminology, and history.

Moreover, this theory is preferred by researchers because it provides them with a flexible framework to learn about human behaviors (Martinez, 2009). This is for the reason that it considers the individual environment together with human attitudes and feelings. Notably, the advocates of this theory argue that actions are necessary to correct a difficult situation. Also, joy is a motivating factor, which helps people to feel better and strengthen their relationships (Martinez, 2009). Reinforcement and punishment could come from within an individual or could be driven by other factors. The theory recognizes individual weaknesses, failures, and past achievements. Finally, humanistic theorists posit that it is good to celebrate other people and help them.

Cons of humanistic theory

This theory has been criticized because of various reasons. First, it ignores biology because it utilized common sense (Martinez, 2009). Therefore, it is hard to test and verify data, especially qualitative ones. It is a challenge to measure self-actualization. Critics hold that it does not recognize the existence of the unconscious part of the mind. It is hard to compare the animal’s behavior with that of human beings. This theory has drawn a lot from western culture (Martinez, 2009). Its position on the ability of people to choose is contrary to the law of science makes many oppose it. There are other factors that determine how an organism would behave according to science.

In my view, the humanistic theory is better than other theories. Its position on the determinant of behavior, it is right that a human being is free to choose between good and bad. It is advocates studying people individually because it acknowledges individual differences unique characteristics among people. Finally, human behavior can well be understood by examining and studying themselves. Thus, from the above arguments, I advocate the humanistic theory. Its application in different fields has been of great importance to many researchers.

Motivational theory

Motivation refers to the driving force behind our actions and thoughts (Willingham, 2009). It is what makes people behave the way they behave. Factors such as social, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive are behind our actions and thoughts.

The humanistic theory of motivation posits that people are driven by cognitive reasons to behave in a certain way or perform particular actions. Maslow places motivation at different levels, which begins with the desire to meet one’s physiological needs. This is followed by security needs. The hierarchy continues up to self-actualization. They are arranged according to their importance concerning surviving (Willingham, 2009). Other theorists have argued that people are driven by external rewards to act in a particular manner, i. e., incentives, motivation theorists, and drive theory propose that people work in some ways to meet their needs, which have not been catered for. Other theorists, such as instinct theorists hold that people act in particular ways because people are programmed to do so (Willingham, 2009). Thus, motivational theories deal with what makes an individual action in a manner that he or she acts or behaves in a certain way.

Compare/contrast diagram for motivational theories

The figure below shows a Venn diagram of cognitive, behavioral, psychological, and constructivism theories. Each category of theories has many sub-theories. For example, in behaviorist theory, there are classical conditioning and operant conditioning theories. From the diagram, it is evident that all theories are interrelated and influence each other. The behaviorist and cognitive theories are important in the learning process and education as a whole.

A diagram showing different theories and how they compare and contrast.
Figure 1. A diagram showing different theories and how they compare and contrast.


Cherry, K. (2014). . Web.

Fischer, K &Immordino-Yang, M. H. (2008). The Joyssye Bass reader on the brain and learning. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers

Gredler, M. E. (2009). Learning and instruction: Theory and practice (6th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Martinez, M. E. (2009). Learning and cognition: The design of the mind. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Omrod, J.E. (2008). Human Learning. (5th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Willingham, D. T. (2009). Why don’t students like school: A cognitive scientist answers questions about how the mind works and what it means for the classroom. San Fransisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons

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