As educator’s we are required to teach skills and determine based off student behavior if students are displaying said skills. This is where the study of behaviorism comes into play. “Behaviorism is primarily concerned with observable and measurable aspects of human behavior” (Orey, 2001). Educators teach students what types of behaviors and skills are appropriate for the classroom. Fortunately, all behavior is learned, which implies that undesirable behaviors can be unlearned (Orey, 2001). The best way to encourage/discourage certain behaviors is through conditioning. Providing either positive or negative reinforcement will greatly impact a students behavior. The instructional strategies that are prevalent in education today go hand in hand with the idea of behaviorism. By modeling and promoting digital citizenship. Students are able to view acceptable behaviors and will repeat said behaviors if they see a reward (ISTE, 2008). Many technology tools allow teachers to model desired behavior and provide instant feedback. Teachers have the ability to create quizzes on applications such as Google Forms, “…the system then says that’s correct or incorrect. That’s the primary mechanism of behaviorism” (Laureate Education, 2015a). Unfortunately, behaviorism used in this manner is only good for repetition, because learning is reduced to drill and practice (Laureate Education, 2015a).
Within my own classroom, behaviorist strategies are used quite often. I teach predominately 7th graders who are in their first year at the high school. In addition to content, curriculum, and skills, students need to be taught appropriate behavior. In order to do this, I have contracts set in place so students understand what will happen if they do/do not exhibit certain behaviors. Additionally, students utilize several applications on iPads and computers that reinforce skill/content. As the teacher, it is my job to “design and develops digital age learning experiences and assessments” (ISTE, 2008). In order to do this student complete about half of their classroom assignments while utilizing technology, much of this is student-centered learning which encompasses the student ISTE Standards of an empowered learner, digital citizen and innovative designer (ISTE, 2016).
The sources I have located during my research will only further enhance my plans for implementing Genius Hour within my classroom. In order for Genius Hour to be effective students must first be comfortable with researching topics. To teach this, I can provide direct instruct and assess these skills through assignments to measure their observable behavior (Rhamli, 2012). There are types of sources that are acceptable when conducting research, students are to be instructed of this ahead of time (Dakers, 2005). Additionally, student monitoring would provide useful to keep students on schedule and would assist in breaking down the larger task of research and creation into smaller tasks (Daly, 2009).
Dakers, J. (2005). The Hegemonic Behaviorist Cycle. International Journal Of Technology & Design Education, 15(2), 111-126. doi:10.1007/s10798-005-8275-3
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International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2008). Standards for students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-teachers
Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Main_Page
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
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