B.F. Skinner and Edward Thorndike CIG620 – Fall 2010 Jamie Galgana Kayla Smith
The life of Edward Thorndike Born: Williamsburg, Massachusetts, on August 31, 1874 Raised in a clergyman's household "the only sure foundation for social progress.“ Grew up in a household where excellence was expected Moved to New York City in 1897 to complete his doctoral studies at Columbia University 1898 to 1899 as a teacher of psychology and pedagogy at the College for Women of Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio Married Elizabeth Moulton in 1900 and had four children. Died: August 9, 1949 in Montrose, NY Named Father of Research (Encyclopedia of World Biography)
Literary Works • Animal Intelligence: An Experimental Study of the Associative Processes in Animals. • “Began a series of experiments with R.S. Woodworth to determine if training in one set of skills enabled a person to learn another” (Watras, J., 2009, p.?). • Journal ofEducational Psychology • The Psychology of Arithmetic
Fundamental Laws • “Connectionism” • Law of effect (De Corte, E., 2003) • Law of exercise (De Corte, E., 2003) • Laws of Habit Formation (Watras, J.,2009) • “The more emphatically a response was connected with a particular situation, the greater the chances that it would be repeated in such a situation in the future” • “The greater the satisfaction from giving a particular response, the greater the chances that it would be given again in that situation.”
Results from Thorndike’s works • Animal Intelligence: An Experimental Study of the Associative processes in Animals • Established comparative psychology as an experimental science • Began a major shift in thinking about both animal and human learning • Provided important methodological innovations in behavioral research • Carried the seeds of later research and theory by many others • Educational Psychology was used as the standard text • Core of educational thought • Began the systematic search for fundamental behavioral processes • Laid the foundation for science of behavior.
Puzzle Boxes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDujDOLre-8&feature=player_embedded
The life of B.F. Skinner Boy as builder: • A cart with steering that worked backwards • Cabin in the woods • Flotation device to separate ripe from green berries (for a business) • Contraption that distributes “green dust” to help a broom pick up dirt Hamilton College: • Was a writer • During his “dark year” produced a dozen newspaper articles and models of sailing ships • Worked in a bookstore and happened upon Watson and Pavlov • Was impressed and excited and wanted to learn more Graduate School and discovery: • Enrolled in the Psychology Department of Harvard University (age 24) (Vargas, 2005)
Literary works, results • The Behavior of Organisms (1938) • Walden Two (1948) • The Technology of Teaching (1968) • Beyond Freedom and Dignitiy (1971) • The Shame of American Education (1984)
fundamental laws • Operant Conditioning: based on Thorndike’s Law of Effect • Reinforcement: strengthening behavior • Positive (+) • Negative (-) • Punishment: weakening behavior • Positive (+) • Negative (-) • Extinction (Skinner, 1981)
Developments • Air Crib • Operant Conditioning Chambers – “Skinner boxes” • Cumulative Recorder • Teaching Machine • Thinking Aid
Key Ideas of how thinking and learning is perceived • “Target behavior and reward for behavior were one in the same.” (psychology today) • Systematically • Learning Curve & Time Relation • Behavioral Process • The situation • The act • The consequence • Impulse vs. act • Impulse – the feeling of performing an act • Act – feeling of doing • Great thinkers build upon the past, they do not waste time in rediscovering it. • It is dishonorable to memorize facts and equally dangerous to forgo teaching important facts and principles in order to give students a chance to discover them for himself (Skinner, 1968) • School and learning must be attractive • Students must be active • Positive reinforcements are more powerful than punishments (Richelle, 1993) Thorndike Skinner
How they perceived the study of mathematics • Drill and practice manner • Hierarchy of mental habits or connections • Denial of the ability of students to reason about mathematical concepts • a priori • Simple Rules to have students learn more within the same total time spent in school • 1. Be clear about what is to be taught • 2. Teach first things first • 3. Program the subject matter • 4. Stop making all students advance at essentially the same rate (Skinner, 1984) • Learning behaviors can be shaped with immediate positive reinforcement – Teaching Machines and arithmetic mastery (Skinner, 1968) Thorndike Skinner
NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics • Equity • Curriculum • Teaching • Learning • Assessment • Technology • Equity: not having all students advance at the same rate • Learning: first things first • Technology: teaching machine • Curriculum: Educational Psychology • Assessment: Drill and practice NCTM Thorndike Skinner
Connections between Theorists’ thoughts and class discussions • Thorndike encouraged his students to read literature instead of embracing school attendance. (Bracey, 1998). • “Thorndike and his colleagues used “scientific” evidence to persuasively argue that mathematics is best learned in a drill and practice manner, …” (Ellis, 2005, p. 2). • “Again, the logic of the subject matter as conceived by an expert in the field can be completely alien to the logic of the learning individual” (Richelle, 1993, p.174). • Successful problem solving, which implies carefully paced instruction, is an essential ingredient for successful teaching (Richelle, 1993). Thorndike Skinner
ERIC Ebscohost databases Pyscinfo Where we gathered our sources Lied library textbooks jstor Academic search premier Google books
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