What I have learned about behaviorism will help me as a teacher when disciplining my students. I can use both reinforcement and punishment in order to obtain the results I desire. Because I am a teachers assistant at a pre school and have had experience with children, I know that discipline is an area in which I personally struggle. I am very laid back and lack the firmness that is often necessary in order to gain the respect of students. However, by using the reinforcements and punishments, I am able to obtain respect and get the desired results without having to yell or be rude to the children. I will simply be able to take something they enjoy away or present a negative consequence to a certain behavior and that will correct the child’s behavior and allow me to feel as though I handled the situation appropriately. What I learned about the social learning theory will help me to identify the different strengths and weaknesses of my students and how to help them feel more comfortable and secure in my classroom.
In relation to my own development, I completely agree with Rotter’s social learning theory. In third and fourth grade, my teachers began introducing multiplication and division. I struggled with these concepts for a very long time and many of my friends excelled in them, which made me feel inferior. My grades in math began to decline around middle school when algebraic concepts were being introduced and this decline continued throughout most of high school. During my junior and senior year, I had a fantastic math teacher who worked one on one with me to help improve my grade. Upon working together, we realized that my main problem was that I was not applying myself and therefore not reaching my full potential. Because I had spent so many years believing that I was simply bad at math and because my friends who did well in math made my confidence in the subject even lower, I was convinced that I could not do well and I did not want to try for fear of failure. I had low expectations for myself in mathematics, but when my teacher helped me reveal my full potential I realized that I could do well in math if I put forth more effort. By the beginning of my senior year, I had an A average in math, something I never could have imagined myself accomplishing before. Knowing this about my own development will help me as a teacher to make sure my students feel confident in what we are doing. I do not ever want to hear one of my students say that they cannot do something because, more than likely, they can if they put forth the effort necessary. I think it is important to have high expectations for my students so that they may have high expectations for themselves.