Free «Constructivism vs. Behaviorism» Essay Sample

One obvious similarity between the Dewey's and Piaget's theory of Constructivism and the Skinner's behaviorism theory of learning is that they are both philosophies of learning. This essentially means that they have defined to a great extent how learning or teaching ought to be conducted.

The Skinner's of behaviorism is essentially anchored in the idea that learning ought to take the shape of drills, facts, and practice (Mcinerney, & Liem, 2008). Like the name suggest, Behaviorism strongly believes that the learning should be accompanied by the behavioral change that correspond with the learning experience.  One notable thing about Skinner's argument as is captured in behaviorism theory is that it teacher-centered (Clinchy, 1999).

This essentially means that a teacher is an important feature in behaviorism, in fact in this philosophy the teacher occupies a central place in that he or she is considered to be an expert who has the answers to all the questions that the student might be having. The presence of a teacher with all the answer means that all the questions have absolute answers, which is contrary to relativism in answer that Dewey and Piaget propagates in the constructionism philosophy (Mcinerney, & Liem, 2008). We can therefore say that Skinner believes in a more structured and rigid approach to learning than both Dewey and Piaget.   

Today Skinner's philosophy can is better demonstrated by lecturer-centered online classes that are teacher's directed, together with computer-assisted instruction (CAI), another teacher directed phenomenon (Mcinerney, & Liem, 2008). Dewey and Piaget strongly believe that learning encompasses self discovery as can be seen in their constructionism philosophy (Mcinerney, & Liem, 2008). This essentially means that children ought to make decision solely based on their estimation of what is good or bad. And as the name (constructionism) suggest, learning in Constructivism is based on the mental construct of the student concerning a concept, according to the way they interpret it (concept) themselves.

This therefore renders truth relative, or in other words, the truth depends on a person believe and estimation. One major implication of constructionist philosophy on learning and teaching is that constructing a concept takes time. These philosophers further believe that the students derive knowledge from both previous and today's experiences (Curren, 2003). This therefore demonstrates how education is an ongoing and never-ending process that calls for proper preparation.

This does not however mean that the structured learning in a classroom does not have a place in this philosophy, instead it form an important part of this kind of education by giving it some structure. It also facilitates this ongoing learning by providing a better environment that is complete with a facilitator to handle problems that ordinarily would have affected negatively self learning (Clinchy, 1999). Dewey and Piaget's philosophy in today context is characterized by a problem-based learning. Its incorporation of ideas to give practical solution to today's life is something that their proponents believe is important in students' lives.


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