Essay Example on Unveiling the Paths of Learning: Humanism vs. Behaviorism in Education

Published: 2024-01-23
Essay Example on Unveiling the Paths of Learning: Humanism vs. Behaviorism in Education
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Learning Education Behavior
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1630 words
14 min read


Learning implies obtaining new knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes, preferences, and values. Every animal and individual can learn (Ferrante & Sartori, 2016). Persons' learning begins at birth and proceeds until death due to continuous interactions with the environment and other individuals. Learning might take place due to operant and classical conditions and habituation. Kids at various levels portray different learning styles and personalities. Learning and teaching theories enable instructors to offer the most and best diversity of learning experiences. Thus, the primary learning modes are motivation based on behaviorism approach and problem-solving linked with humanism theory. Behaviourism theory argues that learning imparts behaviors through environmental interactions. The humanistic approach involves feelings, and social, and intellectual skills. Hence, the paper focuses on learning modes based on humanistic or behaviorist theories.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Practice of Teaching

Teaching is an act of facilitating knowledge to learners and involves guiding, demonstrating, and directing. Instructors are skilled at classroom management, creating discipline and communication, and knowledge on subject areas. Teachers boost their skills via continuing education, class experiences, and interaction with other educators. A teacher is supposed to handle 20 to 30 learners in class, considering diversity in abilities, strengths, culture, gender, and competency (Murtonen et al., 2017). According to traditional behaviorism theory, all learners are viewed as blank slates and need to learn as they interact with the environment. So, learners need equal rewards, reinforcement, and instructions to encourage them to emulate good behavior by avoiding bad practices. However, humanist perspectives understand each student's needs at the individual level. The teachers match their teaching methods to students' learning styles since they recognize their strengths and weaknesses.

Behaviourism Theory (Motivation)

The behaviorism approach is based on observable behaviors associated with environmental interactions. Historically, studying in a behaviorist learning environment focuses on building students' motivation via operant and classical conditioning, rewarding academic performance and right behavior with praises or punishing bad practices to impact discipline. Negative and positive reinforcement is a motivational technique that ensures learners learn remarkable outcomes and behavior or eradicate the undesired or bad ones (Murtonen et al., 2017). The external stimulus makes individuals associate with desired behaviors, which are learned unconsciously and consciously via conditioning since the teacher is a learning sphere, unlike a child. Also, behaviorism assumes that learning is indicated through behavioral change, and the environment shapes new practices. The continuity principle and reinforcement are drives towards effective student learning. Association and conditioning of content are a psychological act that causes learners to respond to a specific stimulus offered by the teacher.

Classical conditioning was discovered between 1849 to 1936 by Ivan Pavlov, who was a psychologist in Russia (Roulston & Shelton, 2015). The concept concerns with behavior that originates from a reflex response to a particular stimulus. Operant conditioning is where the behavior is a volunteer one and is linked with the impact of undertaking such behavior. Punishment or reward reinforces a behavior where reward boosts the chances of repeating actions, whereas punishment minimizes the likelihood of practice.

Application of Behaviorism Theory in Society and Education

Modern behaviorism theory is applicable in a classroom setting to offer students motivation toward their learning. ABA (applied behavior analysis) effectively corrects behavior problems among students (Muhajirah, 2020). The behaviorist approach is employed in the classroom to manage and correct conditions like autism. ABA offers necessary reinforcement for the right behavior like smiling or praise. For instance, a teacher can look at what motivates a learner through behavior observation and communicating their practices to their parents. So, modern behaviorist reiterates social and active learning where teachers are supposed to portray desired behavior emulated by students. Thus, Maslow criticized behaviorism theory since the approach fails to handle discrimination and inequalities to encourage kids to learn and attain their academic potential.

Behaviourism theory is vital because it is used in a classroom setting to punish misbehavior since learners are taught acceptable practices. The teachers need to supervise and direct learners to achieve positive classroom management. However, the behaviorism approach has limitations because it is simple as it does not offer comprehensive teaching techniques. After all, learning needs higher thinking skills like synthesis, evaluation, and analysis. Also, the behaviorism approach treats misbehaving impacts and not the short-term causes because kids'' behavior needs an examination to offer permanent changes. The teacher who employs reinforcement to entice learners may reduce their motivation since they might not work without a reward.

Humanism (Problem-Solving)

Humanism theory was introduced by Maslow following psychoanalysis and behaviorism. Maslow targeted high-achieving learners, unlike low-achieving ones or individuals with health conditions. He developed a hierarchy of needs to ensure everyone is essential and enthusiastic about meeting their needs to attain self-actualization (Knox et al., 2020). The humanistic approach emphasizes that individuals are inherently right and are supposed to satisfy their necessities first. According to the approach, learners can control their learning, and it is significant to cater to their needs to improve their learning capabilities. For instance, a hungry child cannot concentrate in the classroom. Thus, institutions provide food to learners to meet their hunger needs to help them focus on learning. The humanistic perspectives involve feelings and social, intellectual, and practical skills as essential needs for their studying process. Hence, one can only move to the next hierarchy after satisfying the first level. So, learning is not a problem-solving aspect and competitive but a cooperative process of acquiring abilities or knowledge through ensuring participation. However, problem-solving is a studying humanism mode, and every person is confident of eradicating problems that deter his/her learning. The humanistic teachers should meet learners'' emotional and psychological needs and get what encourages them. Humanistic instructors should equip students with self-esteem and personal beliefs to ensure they cope with classroom situations despite challenges.

Besides, the humanism theory focuses more on learners than instructors making a kid a facilitator of learning. Student's families, communities, and interests are crucial and can influence a child's education or knowledge acquisition. Thus, it is vital to adjust and manage a learning environment that suits children's needs and ensure they encourage and help them study. Therefore, humanism theory focuses on various principles that enable a learner to attain self-actualization. For example, learners' choice, which is essential in a humanistic approach, motivates students to regulate their learning. Therefore, students are encouraged to focus on exciting subject areas for a reasonable time that they select. An instructor who employs a humanistic approach believes that it is essential for learners to look at involvement and motivation in their education, especially when they want to learn what interests them.

Another principle is to foster involvement among learners to encourage them to become self-motivated towards their learning. The humanism approach is based on students feeling self-motivated and engaged in the study. Hence, the perceptive relies on instructors to involve learners and motivate them to become passionate regarding education. Also, self-evaluation is the best technique that evaluate whether learning is progressing. Grading learners encourages them to work to attain the best grades, unlike studying for excitement or satisfaction. Thus, humanistic teachers allow learners to undertake self-evaluation to test what they feel concerning their educational progress. Besides, knowledge and feeling are vital in the studying process and must not be differentiated with a humanistic approach. Instructors believe that feelings and knowledge aid appropriate learning since affective and cognitive studying is crucial in humanistic education. Lastly, a conducive environment boosts the learning process since it addresses students' needs. Learners must feel safe emotionally, mentally, and physically to build their passion for education (Buchanan, 2015). A humanistic teacher needs experience and to continue reflecting and understanding of teaching methods. They need problem-solving skills to handle issues linked with content delivery. Thus, persistence rewards confident and competent learner who studies what interests and motivate them.

Application of Humanism Theory to Society and Education

Humanistic theory is applied in society and education because it focuses on boosting people's active learning, self-belief, self-awareness, and cognition. Kids are creative and curious to attain their desired selves. So educators should nurture them by offering nourishment and a friendly environment for growth. It is essential to handle classroom inequalities based on family status, race, ethnicity, and religious beliefs to help learners achieve satisfying future lives. According to the humanistic approach, people have to control their choices in their lives and what they intend to achieve (Lewis & Thompson, 2017). For instance, humanistic educators encourage learners to build a passion for what they feel is attractive. The perspectives believe that a person's feelings and mood can boost or deter their learning process. Humanistic theory also applies to education since a teacher is viewed as a facilitator who offers students support by providing an involving environment allowing students to ask questions to enhance meaningful education (Jang et al., 2016). Through humanistic approaches, individuals in society can solve problems they experience by finding what motivates and encourages them. For instance, one would choose a field trip as a way of eliminating family stress and problems.

However, the humanistic approach has various limitations since it lacks evidence of whether people must meet lower levels of needs before progressing to other hierarchies since a learner from low low-income earning family can also attain education. Humanistic reiterates conscious awareness and ignoring unconscious things. The theory is not scientific since it fails to employ objective techniques or make predictions disapproved or approved and eventually lacks empirical evidence.


Learning implies obtaining new knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes, preferences, and values. Teaching is a process that needs to be planned, implemented, evaluated, and revised to achieve remarkable student success. So, teachers have a role in impacting students' discipline and ensuring a conducive environment for studying. Learning might take place due to operant and classical conditions and habituation. Kids at various levels portray different learning styles and personalities. Thus, humanism theory focuses more on learners than instructors making a kid as a facilitator of learning.

Cite this page

Essay Example on Unveiling the Paths of Learning: Humanism vs. Behaviorism in Education. (2024, Jan 23). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism