How is an operant analysis of verbal behavior different from the traditional approach to language?© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com December 19, 2018, 8:19 pm ad1c9bdddf
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1. Operant analysis of verbal behavior
Skinner strongly influenced educational psychology. His system, based on operant conditioning and the experimental analysis of behavior, established the relationship between behavior and environmental stimuli. Rather than using hypothetical constructs, Skinner collected experimental data on behavior of single cases. Skinner did not construct psychological scales but rather used explicit behaviors that were discrete and observable as dependent variables. He established reliable laws by replicating the independent variables on multiple organisms, occasions, and dependent variables. These laws included reinforcement, punishment, extinction, stimulus control, and discrimination. Skinner and others used pigeons, rats, and human subjects to establish the functional relationship between behavior and the subject's reinforcing environment (Skinner, 1953, 1954).
Skinner believed that school practices in use harmed learning. In his view, teaching machines could guide a student over time and could individualize instruction to meet the student's particular needs (Skinner, 1958). Another popular Skinnerian application was the use of token reinforcement systems. Praise, tangible rewards, and group-based contingencies arc applications that have been used to improve the academic and social behavior of handicapped and nonhandicapped children in educational settings. Examples of specific programs that have applied these techniques include Keller's (1968) System of Personalized Instruction; Direct Instruction System for Teaching Achievement and Remediation (DISTAR), an essential skills program for disadvantaged children developed by Becker, Englemann, and Carnine (Becker & Englemann, 1978); and Achievement Place, a program for delinquents using tokens in a residential setting (Fixsen, Phillips, & Wolf, 1972, 1973). These school applications have spanned grades from the kindergarten level through college.
Late in the 1950s, Skinner (1958) introduced programmed instruction and teaching machines. The programmed instruction used self-paced linear texts. These texts, however, did not accommodate individual variations in learning, with the exception of pacing. For this reason, branching techniques were developed to provide instruction to remedy specific knowledge difficulty. The programmed texts promoted by Skinnerians broke the instructional content into manageable, small steps; required learners to make an observable response (i.e., read a word); and then provided immediate feedback (Skinner, 1954). Dividing the content into discrete steps became a cornerstone of instructional management. Davies (1971) linked behavioral objectives, hierarchical analyses, task analysis, and needs assessment to this Skinnerian principle.
In the late 1950s and through the 1960s several scholarly works influenced instructional design. Mager's (1962) Preparing Instructional Objectives led many educators to specify the student behavior sought, to define important conditions under which the behavior would occur, and to define the level of acceptable performance.
In 1965 Gagne published The Conditions of Learning, which laid the conceptual groundwork for instructional designers. Gagne identified five domains of learning, as well as the "events of instruction." The domains of learning were the following: verbal information, intellectual skills, psychomotor skills, attitudes, and cognitive strategies. "Events of instruction" included such activities as obtaining the ...
This solution discusses how an operant analysis of verbal behavior is different from the traditional approach to language. References are provided.