top of page


According to Behaviorism, a persons behavior is based on extrinsic motivation, stimuli and reinforcement. Educators are responsible for positive responses and consequences to behavior and implementing negative responses and consequences when not achieving the goals. 

My early childhood learning experience while learning flute utilized a behavioristic approach. There could have been other approaches, but the teacher's strict background made this way of teaching effective for him. I can agree it was an effective way to achieve results in a performance based setting. Skill and drill until you meet the standard was the daily approach. If a student performed well on the evaluation, he or she would receive praise for the performance and be moved up in rank accordingly. This skill and drill exercises provide consistent repetition necessary to reinforce patterns (Skinner, 1976). 

Classical Conditioning is another concept of behaviorism, explored by Pavlov. Through his experimentation with dogs, he was able to observe their response to food, salivation. However, food was not the only stimuli. The dogs began to associate the footsteps of the food being delivered and began to salivate due to that stimulation as well (McLeod, 2018).


If ever observing a concert band, here is a similar conditioning response one may see. As students sit on stage, waiting to begin their performance, all of the students eyes are focused on the podium. As soon as the director steps on the podium, the students instruments are moved into an upright position. When the director raises their hand, the students bring their instruments up to playing position, ready for their first note. Each signal, a step or a movement, triggers the student musicians to react to how they were trained, without explanation. These behaviors are reinforced through repetitive practices and dress rehearsals. 

J.B. Watson's theories also support the behaviors and responses presented in the scenario above. As Oleze (2020, par. 14) states, Watson hypothesized that people learn to associate sounds with objects or symbols, as well as feelings, behaviors, and other things with situations, objects, and symbols. Positive or negative, the students in the scenario respond ready to perform, some with confidence and others with nerves. Either way, the consistent training provided encourages the response. 

Pros- I believe this theory got results for me and it worked well for establishing discipline. As a result it taught me how to have self discipline. I believe it laid the groundwork for practicing/studying correctly for positive results and rewards (field trips, ranking, treats and more importantly grades). It helped me understand that as a band, we strive for the same goal. I had to be accountable for my success if I wanted the group to sound good. Skinner states that an effective reinforcement requires consistent repetition of the material, increasing task with additional reinforcement. Without reinforcement, the response will cease. Behavior is modified due to rewards received (Skinner, 1976). Although this can work in the setting described, the effects can eventually fade, leading to my cons.


Cons- I believe there are negative aspects to only having students respond to conditioning or work for a reward. If there is no stimulus, will they respond? Some students develop self discipline, however extrinsic motivation ends as childhood ends as we will find out in andragogy. Students must find their own motivation and may drop out if rewards or stimuli not being worth it. Rewards may not be enough to sacrifice time and the student will lose interest. Personally, I found enjoyment regardless of the stimuli. I played for my own feelings and self gratification.

Extrinsic Motivation
Skill and Drill
Teacher to Learner
Knowledge Is Action


Click Below!

Social Interaction

bottom of page