Behaviorism and Constructivism
My teaching and learning perspectives fit the theories of behaviorism and constructivism, which can be combined in a learning environment for better results. As shown by Scully, Barbour, and Roberts-King (2011), behaviorism is a perspective that highlights the importance of external (environmental) factors for learning progress. Thus, the approaches that include punishments and rewards for particular behaviors can be regarded as behaviorist ones, and any positive feedback on hard work be used as an example. Another illustration is a system of punishments for misbehaving in class, for instance, distracting other students. After the first event, a child is likely to only receive a reminder to behave, but if the behavior persists, other methods of discipline enforcement can be used, for instance, a private oral reprimand.
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It is apparent that behaviorism is useful in enforcing rules and positive behaviors. However, this approach neglects factors that are not environmental. As shown by Scully et al. (2011), constructivism fixes this flaw by taking both environmental and biological factors into consideration. The term “constructivism” refers to the ability of humans to construct knowledge themselves, and this process is affected by external factors and internal mental structures and abilities. Constructivism takes into account the developmental stages, which define the biological factors that are of importance for learning. Moreover, constructivism points out the importance of close adults (for example, parents) for a child’s learning progress since they are better aware of a child’s proximal development zone and are likely to manage external stimuli effectively. In a student-teacher relationship, constructivism can be exemplified by class discussions, which are guided and supported by the teacher (external stimuli) but are greatly reliant on children and their ability and willingness to share knowledge and experiences.
Constructivism is unlikely to support rules or discipline like behaviorism, but it is more likely to be flexible enough to support the individual development of children. Therefore, both approaches can be used in one classroom for different purposes.
Challenging Issues and Solutions: Diversity
Diversity is a fact of the modern due to the variety of races, ethnicities, genders, ages, abilities, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses of humans. However, diversity is challenging for a teacher in multiple ways (Scully et al., 2011). Apparently, teaching children with diverse backgrounds is likely to require a flexible approach. Moreover, a teacher needs to learn and exhibit intercultural competence and awareness to ensure effective communication with people from various communities and provide support and encouragement to children with different backgrounds. This ability can also help to avoid bias, which is why a teacher can consider himself or herself a conduit of cultural awareness that needs to be shared and spread. However, the teacher cannot and does not have to try to respond to the challenge without engaging parents and the community.
According to the constructivist perspective, the family of a child is most likely to contribute to this child’s education effectively. People for Education (2014) and Galuski (n.d.) point out that parents need to be involved in children’s education in a meaningful way. In other words, there are certain methods that have been proven to me more effective than others, for example, helping children to micromanage their tasks or reading with them. Parents are not likely to be immediately aware of the most effective methods, but the collaboration with teachers may prove to be a source of education for parents themselves on multiple topics, including diversity awareness. Similarly, the community plays a major part in children’s lives while also sharing their cultural background (Scully et al., 2011). Scully et al. (2011) admit that the opportunity to affect the attitudes of the community is present but minimal for one teacher (p. 23). However, the opportunity it appears to multiply when families are involved in the process. As a result, the list of actions that can help to address the challenge of diversity includes improving the awareness, engagement, collaboration, and communication, which are launched by a teacher and supported by families and communities.
Galuski, T. (n.d.). Ready or not kindergarten, here we come! Web.
People for Education. (2014). Helping your kids succeed in school. Web.
Scully, P., Barbour, C., & Roberts-King, H. (2011). Families, schools, and communities: Building partnerships for educating children (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.