Behaviorist Theory


Behaviorist theories are based on the beliefs that students are empty vessels and have no knowledge. This theory believes in the banking model, a model that consists of the teacher filling the students mind with knowledge (Duncan-Andrade & Morrel, 2008, p. 24 ).

Behavior theorist, Skinner, believes that you can control behavior and create learning through sequencing and reinforcements. "..We have made sure that effects do occur and that they occur under conditions which are optimal for producing the changes called learning." (Skinner, 1968, p.10). The conditions Skinner is referring to are the sequencing, or scheduling, and reinforcements, or rewards.

Reinforcements are rewards, in his experiments Skinner gave food to pigeons. Reinforcements can either be positive or negative; a positive reinforcement is something that adds something positive to the pigeon's environment, such as food, and negative reinforcement is the removal of something negative from the pigeon's environment, such as a buzzing sound or a light.


Duncan-Andrade, J., & Morrel, E. (2008). The art of critical pedagogy: Possibilities for moving from theory to practice in urban schools. Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education. 285. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.

Skinner, B.F.. (1968). The technology of teaching. East Norwalk, CT, US: Appleton-Century-Crofts.