As I reflect on my class and what I have learned and experienced thus far, I am surprised by how well the marriage between technology and the study of teaching/learning theories works. Admittedly, I was somewhat skeptical about a dual study that seemed, at first, to be somewhat unrelated. I soon realized that this class offered a unique opportunity to refresh my memory on the main theoretical schools of thought related to teaching, while applying technology to those teaching methods as an enhancement to any curriculum.
Another surprise is how much I have enjoyed online discussions and critiques with fellow classmates. Discussions have been energetic, enlightening, and beneficial. In this online forum, students are encouraged to engage in stimulating conversations that really add so much to the class. I have benefitted from discussing teaching strategies, sharing real life experiences and I have gained new perspectives about how to use the behaviorist teaching/learning approach. Our project critiques also offered the benefit of peer perspective. My classmates’ comments and suggestions were immensely helpful.
Our study of the behaviorist theory has been quite extensive. After reading materials about this teaching approach, we all agreed that the behaviorist method still has a place in today’s classroom. Though it falls into the lowest level of learning, its use of memorization, drill, and reward is practical for many areas of study. Learning vocabulary, spelling words, and math skills are several areas where the behaviorist theory works well. In addition, I have learned that using technology to enhance this learning style is greatly beneficial. Memorization and drill can obviously be boring to many students. However, when they are offered an entertaining game, using these same techniques, they become more engaged. Technology also offers the benefit of knowing the real time outcome of their efforts. Though many of us had serious reservations about using the behaviorist method in modern classrooms, we all came to realize that using a balanced approach in teaching was our best chance of reaching all of our students. Each method of teaching offers its own unique advantages. The behaviorist approach to teaching/learning, though limited in useful applications, is one that teachers should still consider.