Thanks; that’s very insightful David and I think your right. I can see it from different angles and I’m not sure what might account most for that observation:
- e.g. I’m very anti-positivist and one of the truest forms of positivism was operationalism. Measuring defines meaning. Now, I frequently want an operational definition myself because when I can see what you are measuring, I can better understand the elements of the construct your measuring and I can begin to imagine what pedagogy might increase (or decrease) the levels of that construct. The difference is that that operational definition is only instrumental for me and doesn’t define the bounds of that construct either scientifically or morally. There is always much more! Similarly, what teachers see most is behavior and counting behaviors can be a good measure. It’s just that we know that the behaviors are the surface manifestation of cognition and learning. I would say that behaviorist teaching behaviors are not necessarily bad. I need to know more.
- Since testing and many curriculums are still rooted in behaviorism and that narrow rational project, it would make sense for teachers to still apply behavioral techniques with their historical meaning. That was part of my message; requirements must change to allow for appropriate pedagogy.
- I think Behaviorism for many people in just common sense. It wasn’t common sense for Skinner and Watson when they eliminated all meaning, but most of that never got through to teachers who maintained a common sense understanding of the pedagogy. Behaviorist got a form of Behavior Mod in place, but nothing like full Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). I still don’t think that ABA is a bad thing. It’s just a pedagogical technical. The problems come when ABA proponents can’t promote “meaningful” student intellectual achievement or consider the larger social meaning.
I guess that might be the project. Not to eliminate common sense meaning, but to help teachers grow their common sense toward a better professional pedogogy using new tools and old tools in different ways.