Advanced Education Psychology by Tara Chand and Ravi Prakash

By Tara Chand and Ravi Prakash

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He opposes the use by psychologists or teachers of such terms as will power, sensation, image, drive, or instinct; these refer to supposedly nonphysical events. " Skinner's psychology is a strictly engineering type of science which supposedly is devoid of theory of any kind. He insists that psychology is a science of overt behaviour and only overt behaviour. He defines learning as a change in probability of response. In most cases this change is brought about by operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is the learning process whereby a response is made more probable or more frequent; an operant is strengthened—reinforced.

In opposing the "inner man" concept of human behaviour Skinner notes the similarity of the inner man concept to a "God within" which does not occupy space and thus may be multiplied 79 at will, as is done in the Freudian pattern. He points out that as more and more of the behaviour of organisms has come to be explained in terms of stimuli, at each stage of scientific development of psychology, some part of the control of the organism has passed from a hypothetical inner entity to the external environment.

Only through mechanical devices can the necessarily large number of contingencies be provided. " How do Teaching Machines Work? , teaching machines, must be developed. He is critical, too, of traditional education which makes students more and more the passive receivers of instruction. Teaching machines, he feels, encourage students to take an "active" role in the instructional process. They must develop the answers before they are reinforced. Requirements of an Appropriate Teaching Machine Skinner thinks that, in light of modern psychological knowledge, an appropriate teaching machine has two basic requirements: First, a student must compose his response rather than select it from a set of alternatives.

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