Exploring children's learning
Exploring children's learning

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Exploring children's learning

2.7 Summary

  • Behaviourism proposes that all behaviour is learned and maintained by its consequences. It does not theorise about ‘mental events’.

  • Classical conditioning describes how reflex behaviours can become associated with neutral stimuli in the environment.

  • Operant conditioning describes how the incidence of freely occurring behaviours can be increased or reduced as a result of the incidence of pleasant and unpleasant consequences for those behaviours, and how behaviour can be ‘shaped’ by the use of rewards.

  • Punishment is only effective as a means of behavioural control if it is severe, contingent and consistently applied. However, even when these conditions are in place, it is only successful in temporarily suppressing a behaviour in a specific context.

  • Reinforcement is used to help children with learning difficulties make progress at home and at school by using a technique known as applied behavioural analysis (ABA).


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