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ERIC Number: ED100841
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1974
Pages: 6
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Thoughts on Behavioral Objectives.
Loser, Ronald
The behaviorist's assumptions that learning has not occurred unless a measurable change in student behavior takes place and that courses will be vastly improved if the exact goals are delineated on a day-to-day basis so that students and instructor know precisely what is expected of them, ring true but translate false. First, any time a dogma is used to prescribe an educational process, the intellectual areana is truncated; many ideas will not be introduced and pursued because no one has found a way to measure their apprehension behaviorally. Secondly, although some skills can be behaviorally tested, many intellectual activities are not reducible to performance objectives. It is questionable whether it is possible to generate meaningful behavioral objectives for any intellectual activity or course that requires (a) assimilation of broad reaches of abstract ideas, (b) cohesion of seemingly disjointed concepts, (c) sensitivity and insight, (d) techniques, and (e) new forms of expression. Thirdly, precise specification of the measurable classroom tasks that must be performed can destroy the challenge to excel. The preoccupation with measurable goals does nothing to arrest the predilection of man for pursuing short-term goals to the detriment of his long-term welfare. This is not to say that behaviorism has no place in the educational system; there are many topics that may be amenable to behaviorism--primarily those concerned with the transmission of skills. (HMD)
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