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John Watson and B.F. Skinner Essay

There are several theories out there on child development, but I’d like to share with you the theory that I believe in and connect with the most. This theory is called Behaviorism and Social- Learning and can be attributed to a psychologist named John Watson (1878-1958) and B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) Watson using classical conditioning which means the learning that takes place based on an association of a stimulus that does not ordinarily elicit a response with another stimulus that does elicit response. It is important to note that in classical conditioning, the stimulus comes before the behavior or response. Skinner using operant conditioning which is defined as a process in which a response is gradually learned via reinforcement or punishment. John Watson and B.F. Skinner introduced this theory and felt that children learned through a system of stimulus/ response events. Watson and Skinner use nurture approach.

Development is based upon learned behaviors which are based upon a child’s interactions with their environment and influenced by positive or negative reinforcement. Reinforcement can be both positive and negative. Positive reinforcement is something good for children, whereas negative reinforcement is something unpleasant, but remember this is not to be confused with punishment. One knows there are some drawbacks is that it does not account for children’s culture, their values, and their social influences such as the special relationship between them and their parent or peers. Social learning theory addresses these concerns. As child growing up with my brother my parents used positive and negative reinforcement. When we did not receive a passing grade we would have to stay inside and work extra hard to pass the next test, or if the gave credit. But if we received a passing grade we would be rewarded by going out to dinner of our choice or getting ice cream. If we did chores around the house we had a choice between the prize or money. If we did not complete the chore we would not receive anything. Most of the time when we did not complete the chore we would get upset, so my parents would explain that when you do a chore you get rewarded, but if you do not do your chores you will not receive anything.

I use Behaviorism and Social Learning theory while working with children. If the child had a good day at school I would give them something from the prize box when someone came to get them from school. When they did not have a good day at school and they receive nothing from the prize box, and when someone come to get them I would explain why happened at school, and that is why the child cant receive anything from the prize box today.

I am not a parent yet, but when I do become a parent I will be use John Watson and B.F. Skinner theory in teaching my children.

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