Constructivism and Behaviorism

Constructivismand Behaviorism


Constructivismand Behaviorism

Behavioristsperceive learning as a mechanical process where a learner associatesstimulus with reactions to generate a new behavior. As such, theyview learning as a process where a learner usually a passive personreacts to a stimuli. In the initial processes of learning, a learnerstarts in a clean state (the learner commences as a tabula rasa)and cultivates a new behavior shaped by reinforcement whethernegative or positive thus, learning occurs as an alteration in thecomportment of a learner. Behaviorist view reinforcement andpunishment as approaches that promote desirable comportment anddepress unwanted comportment of a learner. On the other hand,constructivists view learning as the process where learners constructknowledge through interactions with outside world and individualexperiences. As such, learners usually active take in new material orinformation and give it meaning by utilizing prior attitudes,experiences, and beliefs as allusions. Instructors only serve asfacilitators as learners have an active disposition in constructingknowledge.

Ritchie (1993)constructs a constructivism-based approach for teachers and entrantsin the education system to help them cultivate the needed scientificunderstanding base in the system. As such, Ritchie (1993) assertsthat a constructivist perception on learning helps adult learnersgreatly especially primary and secondary science teachers. Bybuilding on what they know, learners manage to construct knowledgeand then develop a familiarity with complex issues in learning. Inaddition, learners explore new areas and use an active mode todevelop new ideas hence, its comprehensive utilization in thescience field. Constructivist view on learning presupposes thatlearners act as active constructors of understanding and knowledge aswell as the fact that personal knowledge is faltering and temporary.Based on practice and research, constructivist view provides the mostcomprehensive basis for science learners to cultivate knowledge anddevelop new ideas.


Ritchie, R. (1993). An Evaluation of a Practitioner’s Approachto the Initial and Inservice Education of Teachers in Primary ScienceBased upon a Constructivist View of Learning. University of Bath