Probably the most important
question that we can ask ourselves as educators is How can I get the best out
of the children? How can I help them to perform to the best of their ability?
In this research essay I will be examining the two methods of behaviourism and
constructivism and the role they play in the classroom.
To begin I will look at
language. It is easier to teach something when we know its’ origins. How do we
acquire language? How do we learn a language? Behaviourism is of the view that
language is a behaviour (Watson 1924, as sited by M. Dastpak, F Behjat & ATaghinezhad
2017) The theory is that language and linguistics are in response to a stimulus.
They see the child as not the primary role in their own acquisition of language
but rather that they simply copy what they hear. Some would argue that behaviourism
ignores the cognitive element of acquiring a language (M.
Dastpak, F Behjat & ATaghinezhad 2017) I think this is a fair statement
as every language has a set of very specific grammatical rules that we just
naturally pick up from our environment. There is no incentive for us to do this
and I do not think that we could classify it as a behaviour. This is in line
with Piaget’s (1972) , a constructivist, approach to linguistics and language What
children learn about language stems from their environment. The constructivist
approach would also have us see children as active in their own learning. Vygotsky
is another constructivist who arguably spent even more time or more focus on
language than Piaget. “Vygotsky’s theory is based upon the interaction between
language and thought. He believed that the development of thought and language
is not parallel.” (M. Dastpak, F Behjat
& ATaghinezhad 2017). This slightly contrasts the view of fellow constructivist
Piaget, as Piaget has clear stages of cognitive development which would lead us
to believe that the acquisition and subsequent improving of a language goes
hand in hand with a child’s development of thinking. Both constructivists
however, would dispute the view that behaviourists have that language is in
response to a stimulus,