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Whilst the constructivist and social constructivist approaches are concerned with the immediate cognitive method of learning, there is also a crucial factor which it is essential to have in place for learning to occur – behaviour. In fact this may be considered as the vital pre-condition of learning. Dealing explicitly with this and perhaps going some way to addressing the method of learning itself is the behaviourist approach and theory of learning. Pollard (1997) gives the example of behaviourist teaching as that of “learning by rote, drilling subjects and learners.” It is the task of the teacher to deliver the material and to indicate whether or not pupil’s responses are correct. It is down to the learner to work out why responses may be incorrect and to try and understand where they went wrong. According to existing practice, this approach therefore falls short as a process of enabling learning. However it can be useful in particular situations. I have, for instance experienced an extremely fast-paced French lesson oral starter which took a behaviourist approach. It seemed directly relevant to the learning of vocabulary, in which there is only a correct or incorrect answer. The pupil is then able to clearly see whether or not their response is correct and can then choose another response without a great deal of cognitive burden or adult involvement required.


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