Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 695 Spring 2023
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Course: Foundations of Science Education (695)
Semester: Spring, 2023
Q.l What role do the Learning Theories play in the foundations of education? Discuss in the context of science education.
Just as the spirit of Islam in history was defined by its scientific enterprise, so the future of Muslim societies is dependent on their relationship with science and learning. The Muslims need to make a conscious effort to reopen the gates of ijtihad and return to systematic, original thinking. And place science where it belongs: at the very centre of Islamic culture.
As an initial step, Muslims need to realise that there are no quick fixes in science. Science, and scientific spirit, cannot be bought or transferred. It must emerge from within a society and scientific activity must be made meaningful to the needs and requirements of a people. There is no substitute for rolling one’s sleeves and going back to the laboratory. Only by touching and transforming the lives of ordinary Muslims can science develop as a thriving enterprise in Muslim cultures.
The relationship between Islam and science is the subject of continued debate in philosophy and theology. To what extent are Islam and science compatible? Are religious beliefs sometimes conducive to science, or do they inevitably pose obstacles to scientific inquiry? The interdisciplinary field of “science and Islam”, also called “theology and science”, aims to answer these and other questions. It studies historical and contemporary interactions between these fields, and provides philosophical analyses of how they interrelate. This entry provides an overview of the topics and discussions in science and Islam. Section 1 outlines the scope of both fields, and how they are related. It looks at the relationship between science and Islam in three religious traditions, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. I discuss contemporary topics of scientific inquiry in which science and Islam intersect, focusing on creation, divine action, and human origins. The systematic study of science and Islam started in the 1960s, with authors such as Ian Barbour and Thomas F. Torrance who challenged the prevailing view that science and Islam were either at war or indifferent to each other. Barbour’s Issues in Science and Islam set out several enduring themes of the field, including a comparison of methodology and theory in both fields. The first specialist journal on science and Islam was also founded in 1966. While the early study of science and Islam focused on methodological issues, authors from the late 1980s to the 2000s developed contextual approaches, including detailed historical examinations of the relationship between science and Islam. Peter challenged the warfare model by arguing that Protestant theological conceptions of nature and humanity helped to give rise to science in the seventeenth century. Peter Bowler drew attention to a broad movement of liberal Christians and evolutionists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who aimed to reconcile evolutionary theory with religious belief.
In the 1990s, the Vatican Observatory and the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences co-sponsored a series of conferences on divine action. It had contributors from philosophy and theology and the sciences. The aim of these conferences was to understand divine action in the light of contemporary sciences. Each of the five conferences, and each edited volume that arose from it, was devoted to an area of natural science and its interaction with Islam, including quantum cosmology, chaos and complexity, evolutionary and molecular biology, neuroscience and the person, and quantum mechanics.
In the contemporary public sphere, the most prominent interaction between science and Islam concerns evolutionary theory and creationism/Intelligent Design. The legal battles and lobbying surrounding the teaching of evolution and creationism in American schools suggest that Islam and science conflict. However, even if one were to focus on the reception of evolutionary theory, the relationship between Islam and science is complex. For instance, in the United Kingdom, scientists, clergy, and popular writers, sought to reconcile science and Islam during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, whereas the United States saw the rise of a fundamentalist opposition to evolutionary thinking, exemplified by the Scopes trial in 1925.
In recent decades, Church leaders have issued conciliatory public statements on evolutionary theory. Pope John affirmed evolutionary theory in his message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, but rejected it for the human soul, which he saw as the result of a separate, special creation. The Church of England publicly endorsed evolutionary theory, including an apology to Charles Darwin for its initial rejection of his theory.
For the past fifty years, science and Islam has been de facto Western science and Christianity to what extent can Christian beliefs be brought in line with the results of Western science? The field of science and Islam has only recently turned to an examination of non-Christian traditions, such as Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, providing a richer picture of interaction. Naturalists draw a distinction between methodological naturalism, an epistemological principle that limits scientific inquiry to natural entities and laws, and ontological or philosophical naturalism, a metaphysical principle that rejects the supernatural. Since methodological naturalism is concerned with the practice of science (in particular, with the kinds of entities and processes that are invoked), it does not make any statements about whether or not supernatural entities exist. They might exist, but lie outside of the scope of scientific investigation. Some authors hold that taking the results of science seriously entails negative answers to such persistent questions as free will or moral knowledge. However, these stronger conclusions are controversial.
The view that science can be demarcated from Islam in its methodological naturalism is more commonly accepted. For instance, in the Kitz miller versus Dover trial, the philosopher of science Robert Pennock was called to testify by the plaintiffs on whether Intelligent Design was a form of creationism, and therefore Islam. If it were, the Dover school board policy would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Building on earlier work, Pennock argued that Intelligent Design, in its appeal to supernatural mechanisms, was not methodologically naturalistic, and that methodological naturalism is an essential component of science though it is not a dogmatic requirement, it flows from reasonable evidential requirements, such as the ability to test theories empirically.
Natural philosophers, such as Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Robert Hooke, and Robert Boyle, sometimes appealed to supernatural agents in their natural philosophy (which we now call “science”). Still, overall there was a tendency to favor naturalistic explanations in natural philosophy. This preference for naturalistic causes may have been encouraged by past successes of naturalistic explanations, leading authors such as Paul Draper to argue that the success of methodological naturalism could be evidence for ontological naturalism. Explicit methodological naturalism arose in the nineteenth century with the X-club, a lobby group for the professionalization of science founded in 1864 by Thomas Huxley and friends, who aimed to promote a science that would be free from religious dogmas. The X-club may have been in part motivated by the desire to remove competition by amateur-clergymen scientists in the field of science, and thus to open up the field to full-time professionals.
Because “science” and “Islam” defy definition, discussing the relationship between sciences (in general) and Islam (in general) may be meaningless. For example, Kelly Clark argues that we can only sensibly inquire into the relationship between a widely accepted claim of science (such as quantum mechanics or findings in neuroscience) and a specific claim of a particular Islam (such as Islamic understandings of divine providence or Buddhist views of the no-self).
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 695 Spring 2023
Q.2 Muslims were once the leaders in the domain of science, what are the chief causes of decline of Muslim world in the advancement of science?
The Islamic Golden Age was a period of cultural, economic, and scientific flourishing in the history of Islam, traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 14th century. This period is traditionally understood to have begun during the reign of the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid (786 to 809) with the inauguration of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, the world’s largest city by then, where Islamic scholars and polymaths from various parts of the world with different cultural backgrounds were mandated to gather and translate all of the world’s classical knowledge into Arabic and Persian. Several historic inventions and significant contributions in numerous fields were made throughout the Islamic middle ages that revolutionized human history.
The period is traditionally said to have ended with the collapse of the Abbasid caliphate due to Mongol invasions and the Siege of Baghdad in 1258. A few scholars date the end of the golden age around 1350 linking with the Timurid Renaissance. while several modern historians and scholars place the end of the Islamic Golden Age as late as the end of 15th to 16th centuries meeting with the Age of the Islamic Gunpowders. (The medieval period of Islam is very similar if not the same, with one source defining it as 900–1300 CE.)
The metaphor of a golden age began to be applied in 19th-century literature about Islamic history, in the context of the western aesthetic fashion known as Orientalism. The author of a Handbook for Travelers in Syria and Palestine in 1868 observed that the most beautiful mosques of Damascus were “like Mohammedanism itself, now rapidly decaying” and relics of “the golden age of Islam”.
There is no unambiguous definition of the term, and depending on whether it is used with a focus on cultural or on military achievement, it may be taken to refer to rather disparate time spans. Thus, one 19th century author would have it extend to the duration of the caliphate, or to “six and a half centuries”, while another would have it end after only a few decades of Rashidun conquests, with the death of Umar and the First Fitna. During the early 20th century, the term was used only occasionally and often referred to as the early military successes of the Rashidun caliphs. It was only in the second half of the 20th century that the term came to be used with any frequency, now mostly referring to the cultural flourishing of science and mathematics under the caliphates during the 9th to 11th centuries (between the establishment of organised scholarship in the House of Wisdom and the beginning of the crusades), but often extended to include part of the late 8th or the 12th to early 13th centuries. Definitions may still vary considerably. Equating the end of the golden age with the end of the caliphates is a convenient cut-off point based on a historical landmark, but it can be argued that Islamic culture had entered a gradual decline much earlier; thus, Khan (2003) identifies the proper golden age as being the two centuries between 750–950, arguing that the beginning loss of territories under Harun al-Rashid worsened after the death of al-Ma’mun in 833, and that the crusades in the 12th century resulted in a weakening of the Islamic empire from which it never recovered.
The centrality of scripture and its study in the Islamic tradition helped to make education a central pillar of the religion in virtually all times and places in the history of Islam. The importance of learning in the Islamic tradition is reflected in a number of hadiths attributed to Muhammad, including one that instructs the faithful to “seek knowledge, even in China” This injunction was seen to apply particularly to scholars, but also to some extent to the wider Muslim public, as exemplified by the dictum of al-Zarnuji, “learning is prescribed for us all”. While it is impossible to calculate literacy rates in pre-modern Islamic societies, it is almost certain that they were relatively high, at least in comparison to their European counterparts. Education would begin at a young age with study of Arabic and the Quran, either at home or in a primary school, which was often attached to a mosque. Some students would then proceed to training in tafsir (Quranic exegesis) and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), which was seen as particularly important. Education focused on memorization, but also trained the more advanced students to participate as readers and writers in the tradition of commentary on the studied texts. It also involved a process of socialization of aspiring scholars, who came from virtually all social backgrounds, into the ranks of the ulema.
For the first few centuries of Islam, educational settings were entirely informal, but beginning in the 11th and 12th centuries, the ruling elites began to establish institutions of higher religious learning known as madrasas in an effort to secure support and cooperation of the ulema. Madrasas soon multiplied throughout the Islamic world, which helped to spread Islamic learning beyond urban centers and to unite diverse Islamic communities in a shared cultural project. Nonetheless, instruction remained focused on individual relationships between students and their teacher. The formal attestation of educational attainment, ijaza, was granted by a particular scholar rather than the institution, and it placed its holder within a genealogy of scholars, which was the only recognized hierarchy in the educational system. While formal studies in madrasas were open only to men, women of prominent urban families were commonly educated in private settings and many of them received and later issued ijazas in hadith studies, calligraphy and poetry recitation. Working women learned religious texts and practical skills primarily from each other, though they also received some instruction together with men in mosques and private homes.
Madrasas were devoted principally to study of law, but they also offered other subjects such as theology, medicine, and mathematics. The madrasa complex usually consisted of a mosque, boarding house, and a library It was maintained by a waqf (charitable endowment), which paid salaries of professors, stipends of students, and defrayed the costs of construction and maintenance. The madrasa was unlike a modern college in that it lacked a standardized curriculum or institutionalized system of certification. Muslims distinguished disciplines inherited from pre-Islamic civilizations, such as philosophy and medicine, which they called “sciences of the ancients” or “rational sciences”, from Islamic religious sciences. Sciences of the former type flourished for several centuries, and their transmission formed part of the educational framework in classical and medieval Islam. In some cases, they were supported by institutions such as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, but more often they were transmitted informally from teacher to student.
AIOU Solved Assignment 1 Code 695 Spring 2023
Q.3 Do you agree that Bacon argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only upon inductive reasoning and careful observation of events in nature? Discuss.
As a special form of social consciousness, constantly interacting with all its other forms, philosophy is their general theoretical substantiation and interpretation. Can philosophy develop by itself, without the support of science? Can science “work” without philosophy? Some people think that the sciences can stand apart from philosophy, that the scientist should actually avoid philosophizing, the latter often being understood as groundless and generally vague theorizing. If the term philosophy is given such a poor interpretation, then of course anyone would agree with the warning “Physics, beware of metaphysics!” But no such warning applies to philosophy in the higher sense of the term. The specific sciences cannot and should not break their connections with true philosophy. Science and philosophy have always learned from each other. Philosophy tirelessly draws from scientific discoveries fresh strength, material for broad generalizations, while to the sciences it imparts the world-view and methodological im pulses of its universal principles. Many general guiding ideas that lie at the foundation of modern science were first enunciated by the perceptive force of philosophical thought. One example is the idea of the atomic structure of things voiced by Democritus. Certain conjectures about natural selection were made in ancient times by the philosopher Lucretius and later by the French thinker Diderot. Hypothetically he anticipated what a scientific fact became two centuries later. We may also recall the Cartesian reflex and the philosopher’s proposition on the conservation of motion in the universe. On the general philosophical plane Spinoza gave grounds for the universal principle of determinism. The idea of the existence of molecules as complex particles consisting of atoms was developed in the works of the French philosopher Pierre Gassendi and also Russia’s Mikhail Lomonosov. Philosophy nurtured the hypothesis of the cellular structure of animal and vegetable organisms and formulated the idea of the development and universal connection of phenomena and the principle of the material unity of the world. Lenin formulated one of the fundamental ideas of contemporary natural science—the principle of the inexhaustibility of matter—upon which scientists rely as a firm methodological foundation.
The latest theories of the unity of matter, motion, space and time, the unity of the discontinuous and continuous, the principles of the conservation of matter and motion, the ideas of the infinity and inexhaustibility of matter were stated in a general form in philosophy. mBesides influencing the development of the specialised fields of knowledge, philosophy itself has been substantially enriched by progress in the concrete sciences. Every major scientific discovery is at the same time a step forward in the development of the philosophical world-view and methodology. Philosophical statements are based on sets of facts studied by the sciences and also on the system of propositions, principles, concepts and laws discovered through the generalisation of these facts. The achievements of the specialised sciences are summed up in philosophical statements. Euclidian geometry, the mechanics of Galileo and Newton, which have influenced men’s minds for centuries, were great achievements of human reason which played ‘a significant role in forming world-views and methodology. And what an intellectual revolution was produced by Copernicus’ heliocentric system, which changed the whole conception of the structure of the universe, or by Darwin’s theory of evolution, which had a profound impact on biological science in general and our whole conception of man’s place in nature. Mendeleyev’s brilliant system of chemical elements deepened our understanding of the structure of matter. Einstein’s theory of relativity changed our notion of the relationship between matter, motion, space and time. Quantum mechanics revealed hitherto unknown world of microparticles of matter. The theory of higher nervous activity evolved by Sechenov and Pavlov deepened our understanding of the material foundations of mental activity, of consciousness. Cybernetics revealed new horizons for an understanding of the phenomena of information interactions, the principles of control in living systems, in technological devices and in society, and also the principles of feedback, the man-machine system, and so on. And what philosophically significant pictures have been presented to us by genetics, which deepened our understanding of the relationship between the biological and the social in man, a relationship that has revealed the subtle mechanisms of heredity. The creation and development by Marx, Engels and Lenin of the science of the laws of development of human society, which has changed people’s view of their place in the natural and social vortex of events, holds a special place in this constellation of achievements of human reason. If we trace the whole history of natural and social science, we cannot fail to notice that scientists in their specific researches, in constructing hypotheses and theories have constantly applied, sometimes unconsciously, world-views and methodological principles, categories and logical systems evolved by philosophers and absorbed by scientists in the process of their training and self-education. All scientists who think in terms of theory constantly speak of this with a deep feeling of gratitude both in their works and at regional and international conferences and congresses. So the connection between philosophy and science is mutual and characterised by their ever deepening interaction. Some people think that science has reached such a level of theoretical thought that it no longer needs philosophy. But any scientist, particularly the theoretician, knows in his heart that his creative activity is closely linked with philosophy and that without serious knowledge of philosophical culture the results of that activity cannot become theoretically effective. All the outstanding theoreticians have themselves been guided by philosophical thought and tried to inspire their pupils with its beneficent influence in order to make them specialists capable of comprehensively and critically analysing all the principles and systems known to science, discovering their internal contradictions and overcoming them by means of new concepts. Real scientists, and by this we usually mean scientists with a powerful theoretical grasp, have never turned their backs on philosophy. Truly scientific thought is philosophical to the core, just as truly philosophical thought is profoundly scientific, rooted in the sum-total of scientific achievements Philosophical training gives the scientist a breadth and penetration, a wider scope in posing and resolving problems. Sometimes these qualities are brilliantly expressed, as in the work of Marx, particularly in his Capital, or in Einstein’s wide-ranging natural scientific conceptions. The common ground of a substantial part of the content of science, its facts and laws has always related it to philosophy, particularly in the field of the theory of knowl edge, and today this common ground links it with the problems of the moral and social aspects of scientific discoveries and technical inventions. This is understandable enough. Today too many gifted minds are oriented on destructive goals. In ancient times, as we have seen, nearly every notable scientist was at the same time a philosopher and every philosopher was to some extent a scientist. The connection between science and philosophy has endured for thousands of years. In present-day conditions it has not only been preserved but is also growing substantially stronger. The scale of the scientific work and the social significance of research have acquired huge proportions. For example, philosophy and physics were at first organically interconnected, particularly in the work of Galileo, Descartes, Kepler, Newton, Lomonosov, Mendeleyev and Einstein, and generally in the work of all scientists with a broad outlook. At one time it was commonly held that philosophy was the science of sciences, their supreme ruler. Today physics is regarded as the queen of sciences. Both views contain a certain measure of truth. Physics with its tradition, the specific objects of study and vast range of exact methods of observation and experiment exerts an exceptionally fruitful influence on all or nearly all spheres of knowledge. Philosophy may be called the “science of sciences” probably in the sense that it is, in effect, the self-awareness of the sciences and the source from which all the sciences draw their world-view and methodological principles, which in the course of centuries have been honed down into concise forms. As a whole, philosophy and the sciences are equal partners assisting creative thought in its explorations to attain generalising truth. Philosophy does not replace the specialised sciences and does not command them, but it does arm them with general principles of theoretical thinking, with a method of cognition and world-view. In this sense scientific philosophy legitimately holds one of the key positions in the system of the sciences. To artificially isolate the specialised sciences from philosophy amounts to condemning scientists to finding for themselves world-view and methodological guidelines for their researches. Ignorance of philosophical culture is bound to have a negative effect on any general theoretical conclusions from a given set of scientific facts. One cannot achieve any real theoretical comprehension, particularly of the global problems of a specialised science, without a broad grasp of inter-disciplinary and philosophical views. The specialised scientists who ignore philosophical problems sometimes turn out to be in thrall to completely obsolete or makeshift philosophical ideas without even knowing it themselves. The desire to ignore philosophy is particularly characteristic of such a trend in bourgeois thought as positivism, whose advocates have claimed that science has no need of philosophy. Their ill-considered principle is that “science is in itself philosophy”. They work on the assumption that scientific knowledge has developed widely enough to provide answers to all philosophical problems without resorting to any actual philosophical system. But the “cunning” of philosophy lies in the fact that any form of contempt for it, any rejection of philosophy is in itself a kind of philosophy. It is as impossible to get rid of philosophy as it is to rid oneself of all convictions. Philosophy is the regulative nucleus of the theoretically-minded individual. Philosophy takes its revenge on those who dissociate themselves from it. This can be seen from the example of a number of scientists who after maintaining the positions of crude empiricism and scorning philosophy have eventually fallen into mysticism. So, calls for freedom from any philosophical assumptions are a sign of intellectual narrowness. The positivists, while denying philosophy in words, actually preach the flawed philosophy of agnosticism and deny the possibility of knowing the laws of existence, particularly those of the development of society. This is also a philosophy, but one that is totally misguided and also socially harmful. \
AIOU Solved Assignment 2 Code 695 Spring 2023
Q.4 Write a comprehensive not eon the “Scientific Realism”.
An important strand in the story of the philosophy of science in the past three decades has been a struggle between realists and anti-realists. The debate turns around the most adequate way of interpreting scientific theories that refer to unobservable entities, processes, and properties. Realists maintain that the entities postulated by scientific theories (electrons, genes, quasars) are real entities in the world, with approximately the properties attributed to them by the best available scientific theories. Instrumentalists, on the other hand, maintain that theories are no more than instruments of calculation, permitting the scientist to infer from one set of observable circumstances to another set of observable circumstances at some later point in time. (Important recent contributions to the theory of scientific realism include.
It is worth noting at the outset that scientific realism emerges from a tradition of thought in empiricist philosophy of science; but that it provides the basis for a cogent critique of many early positivist assumptions. In particular, scientific realists have rejected (obviously) the instrumentalism associated with logical positivism; the assumption that all scientific knowledge takes the form of empirical regularities; the assumption that the ultimate goal of scientific research is the formulation of lawlike generalizations; and, to some extent, the assumption that the hypothetico-deductive model is the unavoidable foundation of empirical reasoning in the sciences. Scientific realism is therefore a sympathetic basis in the philosophy of social science for those philosophers and sociologists who are most concerned to put aside the positivist origins of both philosophy of science and sociology. Mario Bunge argues strongly that scientific realism is most suited to an appropriate methodology for the social sciences.
The issue of scientific realism has been one of the central hinges of debate within the philosophy of science for the past thirty years. The central issue is this: Do scientific theories and hypotheses refer to real but unobservable entities, forces, and relations? Or should we interpret theories and hypotheses as convenient systems through which to summarize the empirical regularities of observable entities and processes, with the apparent reference to unobservable as simply a faon de parler with no greater significance than the imagined can opener in the classic joke about the economist and the accountant? Scientific realism maintains that we can reasonably construe scientific theories as providing knowledge about unobservable entities, forces, and processes, and that understanding the progress of science requires that we do so. Instrumentalism denies that it is reasonable to interpret hypotheses as referring to real unobservable entities; instead, a scientific theory should be understood as an instrument of calculation, permitting the scientist to make predictions about one set of observable variables on the basis of knowledge of the current state of another set of observable variables. We may take Jarrett Leplins formulation as a representative statement of scientific realism:
- The best current scientific theories are at least approximately true.
- The central terms of the best current theories are genuinely referential.
- The approximate truth of a scientific theory is sufficient explanation of its predictive success.
- The (approximate) truth of a scientific theory is the only possible explanation of its predictive success.
- A scientific theory may be approximately true even inferentially unsuccessful.
- The history of at least the mature sciences shows progressive approximation to a true account of the physical world.
- The theoretical claims of scientific theories are to be read literally, and so read are definitively true or false.
- Scientific theories make genuine, existential claims.
- The predictive success of a theory is evidence for the referential success of its central terms.
- Science aims at a literally true account of the physical world, and its success is to be reckoned by its progress toward achieving this aim.
Debates about scientific realism most commonly derive their scientific examples from the natural sciences. The entities in question are such things as quarks, genes, quasars, and superfluid’s. But social theories too involve concepts that appear to refer to unobservable entities: classes, systems of norms, and scissors crises, for example. So the issue of realism arises in the social sciences as well. If we have an empirically well-confirmed theory that invokes the concept of an X (a hypothetical social entity or force), is this a reason to believe that exist? Or is there some reason to suppose that the ontological assumptions of scientific realism are justified in the natural sciences but not in the social sciences?
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 695 Autumn 2023
Q.5 Critically analyze the contribution of BF Skinner to Learning.
B.F. Skinner (1904–90) was a leading American psychologist, Harvard professor and proponent of the behaviourist theory of learning in which learning is a process of ‘conditioning’ in an environment of stimulus, reward and punishment. Skinner explains the difference between informal learning, which occurs naturally, and formal education, which depends on the teacher creating optimal patterns of stimulus and response (reward and publishment), or ‘operant conditioning’:
An important process in human behavior is attributed … to ‘reward and punishment’. Thorndike described it in his Law of Effect. It is now commonly referred to as ‘operant conditioning’ … The essentials may be seen in a typical experimental arrangement. A hungry rat [can be seen] in an experimental space which contains a food dispenser. A horizontal bar at the end of a lever projects from one wall. Depression of the lever operates a switch. When the switch is connected with the food dispenser, any behavior on part of the rat which depresses the lever is, as we say, ‘reinforced with food’. The apparatus simply makes the appearance of food contingent upon the occurrence of an arbitrary bit of behavior … The relation between a response and its consequences may be simple, and the change in probability of the response is not surprising. What is technologically useful in operant conditioning is our increasing knowledge of the extraordinarily subtle and complex properties of behavior which may be traced to subtle and complex features of the contingencies of reinforcement which prevail in the environment …
The application of operant conditioning to education is simple and direct. Teaching is the arrangement of contingencies of reinforcement under which students learn. They learn without teaching in their natural environments, but teachers arrange special contingencies which expedite learning, hastening the appearance of behavior which would otherwise be acquired slowly or making sure of the appearance of behavior which might otherwise never occur …
In improving teaching it is less important to find new reinforcers than to design better contingencies using those already available. Immediate and consistent reinforcement is, of course, desirable but this is not to deny the importance of intermittent or remote reinforcers. The student who knows how to study knows how to amplify immediate consequences so that they prove reinforcing. He not only knows, he knows that he knows and is reinforced accordingly. The transition from external reinforcement to the self-generated reinforcement of knowing what one knows is often badly handled. In a small class the precurrent behavior of listening, reading, solving problems, and composing sentences is reinforced frequently and almost immediately, but in a large lecture course the consequences are infrequent and deferred. If mediating devices have not been set up, if the student is not automatically reinforced for knowing that he knows, he then stops working, and the aversive by-product of not-knowing pile up.
Frequent reinforcement raises another problem if it reduces the teacher’s reinforcing power. Money, food, grades, and honors must be husbanded carefully, but the automatic reinforcements of being right and moving forward are inexhaustible.
Strictly speaking, the student cannot reinforce or punish himself by withholding positive or negative reinforces until he has behaved in a given way, but he can seek out or arrange conditions under which his behavior is reinforced or punished. He can create reinforcing events, as by checking an answer to a problem. He can stop emitting unreinforced responses in an unfavorable situation … for example, he can learn not to read books which are too hard for him so that his inclination to read other books will not suffer. Education has never taught the self-management of motivation very effectively. It has seldom tried. But techniques become available as soon as the problem is understood.