The Behaviourist Theory | Principles of the Behaviourist Theory | Try.Fulfill

Evaluate the main principles of the behaviourist theory of language acquisition or learning, Evaluate the behaviourist theory of language acquisition or learning, The Behavioursist theory, Behaviorist theory, Behaviourist theory of language acquisition, limitations of the behaviourist theory, Try.Fulfill. 

Answer: Principles of the behaviourist theory.


 Behaviourist theory of language acquisition says that humans learn language from the environment and by following instructions. It might be evident that people learn through stimulus-response process. For example, if students practise some simulated (role-playing on real life situations) tasks and activities, they might develop certain skills to perform the tasks in a real life situation. According to the behaviourist theory, effective learning depends on reinforcement. Through positive reinforcement, learners feel encouraged and develop skills. On the contrary, if learners are negatively reinforced, they will not feel interested in the learning process, and will not reach the desired goals.


Some of the principles of the behaviorist theory are important in terms of language teaching and learning. Teachers can design tasks and activities to try stimulus-response-reinforcement process to help language learners achieve adequate proficiency. For example, some dialogue-based scenarios can be designed and students can play roles. Teachers can also positively reinforce students' response (i.e. "nice try", "good job", ‘'thank you") to appreciate their participation. However, the behaviourist theory has some limitations:


Limitations of the Behaviourist Theory:

i) It does not address the thinking process of actions or productions. Human beings are not machines or robots; they have feelings of anger, sadness, happiness, and so forth. There are studies that demonstrate children learn through mistakes, and can produce sentences they never heard before.


ii) People have independent thinking and planning ability. They do not only learn by following others; they develop proficiency by incorporating their own ways of learning.


iii) Stimulus-response may not always work. Some people may not learn through this process. Though there are some similarities between animals and human behaviours, humans appear to have higher order thinking. It might be true that they would not respond to the repeated stimuli the same way every time.


iv) Though positive reinforcement work for some children, negative reinforcement may also work at different contexts. There are numerous examples in Asian countries where students have performed well after negative reinforcement from parents and teachers. It seems to be problematic that students would always perform well if they are positively reinforced: There seem to be many other reasons that contribute to acquiring knowledge.



From: Approaches and Methods of Language Teaching.

By Sanjay Banerjee.

Copyright: FBC publication. ( With due respect to the author.)

* If this article is helpful, please comment below. Your comment is our inspiration.

behaviourist theory, behaviorist theory, principles of behaviourist theory, principles of behaviorist theory, behaviourist theory of language acquisition, try dot fulfil, behaviourist theory of language learning, behaviorist theory of language learning
Behaviourist theeory, principles of behaviourist theory, behaviorist theory of language learning

Post a Comment