Behavioral & Social Cognitive Views of Learning Essay

2958 Words Apr 11th, 2013 12 Pages
Postgraduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education

Term / Year Course Code Course Title

: : :

2012 Autumn CECE 7103 Understanding How Children Learn Dr. Sam Cheung (Tel: 3411-4342; Email: Ms. Paulina Yuen (Tel: 3411-1952; Email:

Lecturer In-charge : Lecturer :

Lecture 2: Behavioral & Social Cognitive Views of Learning Lecture Highlights:      Definitions of Behavioral Learning Theory Classical Conditioning – Pavlov Operant Conditioning - Skinner Trial-and-error Learning / The Law of Effect - Thorndike Social Learning Theory - Bandura


Behavioral Learning Theories: Explanations of learning that focus on external events as the cause of changes in observable behaviors…
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To produce discrimination, Pavlov gave food to the dog only after ringing the bell, not after any other sounds. Finally the dog responded only to the bell, not other stimuli.

School example: When a student is taking tests in different subjects, he is very nervous about taking an English test, but may not be nervous about taking a mathematics test; as they are very different subject areas.


It involves the weakening of the conditioned response (CR) in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus (UCS).

In one session of Pavlov’s experiments, he rang the bell repeatedly but did not give the dog any food. Eventually the dog stopped salivating at the sound of the bell. So the learned behavior stopped after the absence of the original stimulus – food.

School example: The student who gets nervous while taking test begins to do much better on his tests; finally his anxiety will be gone.


Classical Conditioning used in Early Childhood Classroom:

Children can develop fear of the classroom if they associate the classroom with criticism or negative feelings, so such feeling could become a CS for fear.

Other examples: a teacher’s persistent criticism can cause a child to develop headaches, asthma, or other physical complaints.

Can you think of any other examples in ECE classroom?

Other positive associations?


III. Operant Conditioning a) What is Operant Conditioning?

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