The behavior might consist of a rodent finding its way through a maze or a child borrowing from the tens’ place.For a behaviorist, these actions are different only in degree, and the same theory applies equally well to both.But because such a large proportion of homework practice-oriented, we should evaluate this claim carefully.Tags: Ap English Argument EssayDefended His ThesisResearch Paper On Lord ByronArmy Officer AssignmentsThe Crucible By Arthur Miller Critical EssayDeloitte Case Study SolutionsStrategy For Solving Word Problems
But to cite an example like that to justify homework is an example of what philosophers call begging the question. On this view, all that matters are behaviors that can be seen and measured, and “man is an animal different from other animals only in the types of behavior he displays,” as Watson announced on the first page of his best-known book.
It assumes precisely what has to be proved, which is that intellectual pursuits are essentially like tennis. Thus, it makes perfect sense that most of the principles of learning that emerge from the work of behaviorists were developed on lab animals.
As a result, they often can’t take these methods and transfer them to problems even slightly different from those they’re used to.
Or perhaps I should say this is what can’t do, in light of how many of us adults cheerfully describe ourselves as hating math or lacking any aptitude for it.
The assumption that the two activities are analogous is an outgrowth of a doctrine known as behaviorism, widely associated with John B. Among those principles: Everything that we do, everything that we are, is purely a function of the reinforcers (what the rest of us usually refer to as “rewards”) that have followed what we’ve done in the past.
When teachers and parents talk about using homework to “reinforce” the material students have learned – or, more accurately, the material they were taught, which they may or may not have learned – the term isn’t being used in this technical sense. Whether they realize it or not, they’re buying in to the same attenuated view of learning that emphasizes drill and practice because their focus is on producing a behavior.(Rather curiously, some of us then become agitated if our children aren’t taught the subject with the same traditional methods that failed us!) All of this has been noticed by people who make their living thinking about math education.Students may memorize the fact that 0.4 = 4/10, or successfully follow a recipe to solve for x, but the traditional approach leaves them clueless about the significance of what they’re doing.Without any feel for the bigger picture, they tend to plug in numbers mechanically while applying the technique they’ve been taught.The more they’re given algorithms and told exactly what to do, the farther behind they fall in terms of grasping these concepts.“Mindless mimicry mathematics,” as the National Research Council calls it, is the norm in our schools, from single-digit addition in first grade to trigonometry in high school.Not only educational theorists but “virtually all” cognitive researchers today “[sub]scribe to this constructive view of learning and knowledge.” The kind of teaching most consistent with it treats students as meaning makers and offers carefully calibrated challenges that help them to develop increasingly sophisticated theories.The point is for them to understand ideas from the inside out. This basic distinction between behavior and understanding – with its implications regarding practice homework – applies to just about every academic subject.“If one is to be successful in quantitative thinking, one needs a fund of meanings, not a myriad of ‘automatic responses,’” he wrote. Repetition does not lead to understandings.” In fact, if “arithmetic becomes meaningful, it becomes so drill.” An emphasis on making meaning is directly opposed to the view that learning consists of the acquisition of a collection of behaviors.Brownell’s insights about math instruction have been expanded and enriched by a long line of experts who have come to realize that the behaviorist model is, if you’ll excuse the expression, deeply superficial.