Skinner, Behaviorism, and My Lecturer

This is a rather interesting model of teaching, especially when applied in the field of English language teaching. B.F Skinner, an American psychologist who is mostly responsible for this model, argues that the possibility of a certain behavior to occur will increase if it is directly followed by reinforcement.
Given the fact that reinforcement can be both Positive and negative, Skinner argues that the implication of both reinforcement can be used in educational context.In his famous article “Verbal Behavior“, Skinner argues that language is adopted through habit formation. Students gives respond to a certain stimulus and the respond should be followed either by positive or negative reinforcement. With this process, students will finally internalized the language and in the long run it will be a habit for him.

Although this view of language has been famously disagreed by Chomsky, the fact that this method has enriched us with some more outstanding ideas can’t just be forgotten. Audio lingual method,which was extremely famous in 1950’s, is based on this method.Other objection of this method is also raised by my lecturer when I presented this method just 2 hours ago. He argues that language is not only FORM but also MEANING. While it is easy to apply this method when it sees a language as a form, this method will face great difficulty when language is viewed as meaning. However, he is quite fair when he also points out some practicalities of this models over the other methods.Accuracy, which is one aspect of form, I argue, will be well-handled by using this approach. Its nature of drilling has been empirically tested as one aspect that will foster ACCURACY especially for Second and Foreign language learners who do not actually ACQUIRE but LEARN the language.



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