Classical Conditioning Classroom Activities Review


Classical conditioning is a form of learning that incorporates the body's natural physical response to stimuli. Historically, the study of classical conditioning began with Ivan Pavlov's experiment with food, dogs, and saliva. Classical conditioning is also helpful in improving children's behavior in the classroom. Through classical conditioning, children can learn to enjoy activities that have caused fear or discomfort in the past.

Summary of this practical sheet

1 Public speaking
2 Problematic behaviors
3 Reading in class
4 Peer relations

Public speaking
The conditioned reaction that occurs in students when a teacher announces a public speaking assignment is often fear and anxiety. To make the experience fun, the teacher can make it emotionally safe for the lecturers. Establishing rules such as “No laughter for the speaker” and “Always applaud for the speaker” can help students view this activity in a positive light.

Problematic behaviors
Students who exhibit behavioral problems often act without consciously knowing what they are doing or why. Teachers can note possible conditioned and unconditioned stimuli that can trigger a child's behaviors. For example, a child can still act after the last recess of the school day, but he seems to be doing well during recess. Maybe the conditioned response of the bell for the end of recess is triggering anxiety that the school day will be over soon, or that a class topic the child doesn't like is coming. Addressing these concerns can lead to less misconduct by interrupting the classic conditioning cycle.

Classroom reading
Using classic conditioning activities can help with classroom management. Through positive reinforcement, teachers can ensure that students avoid feeling humiliated or fearful in the classroom. Avoiding over-correct reading, for example, can help a child feel more confident in their abilities. While it is important to teach correct reading skills, avoid correcting in front of other students and instead let each student read as best they can during public reading exercises.

Peer Relations
Children who do not naturally like being around other children are placed in an uncomfortable environment when they come to school. In the past, something out of their control may have affected their outlook on making friends and interacting with peers. Conditioning a class to accept people for all they have to offer creates an atmosphere in which new friendships can be formed. Applying positive peer-to-peer play with emotional rewards, such as teacher feedback on how two students play together, allows students to learn a new way to respond to old behaviors regarding friendships.

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