Behaviourism Effects on Role-plays, Lesson Planning & Activities

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Behaviourism, a theory of learning focused on observable behaviour and the impact of external stimuli, has had significant influence in shaping English Language Teaching (ELT) methodologies, including elements such as role-plays, lesson planning, and activities. Fundamental behaviourist principles such as repetition, reinforcement, and controlled environments have found their way into practical ELT techniques.
1. Role-Plays: Behaviourism’s influence is evident in the use of role-plays in ELT. Role-play activities are designed following a stimulus-response approach where students are given a stimulus (context/prompt) and encouraged to respond accordingly. These activities provide students with opportunities to mimic, rehearse and repeat language patterns, which according to behaviourism, leads to learning. The immediate feedback given during these role-plays, either by the teacher or peers, serves as positive reinforcement motivating learners to rectify their mistakes and improve their language usage.
2. Lesson Planning: Behaviourist tenets also affect lesson planning in ELT. Lessons are structured to introduce new language concepts or vocabularies in a step-by-step, graded framework. Each new element is reiterated and reinforced multiple times before moving onto the next concept, thereby ensuring cohesive progression. Moreover, lessons often make use of controlled practices where students use taught language in a highly structured context, reducing the room for errors and providing a safe and controlled environment for learning, a key principle in behaviourism.
3. Activities: A wide range of activities used in the ELT classroom, such as drills, gap-filling exercises, and pattern practice, illustrate the influence of behaviourism. Drills or repetition exercises, for instance, underline the behaviourist idea of forming correct habits through repetitive practice. Clear examples, guided practice, and corrective feedback—all elements of behaviourism—are also frequently part of ELT activities. 
In essence, the impact of behaviourism on the ELT classroom is profound. Its principles of repetition, reinforcement, and focus on external stimuli help shape different aspects of English teaching, although more contemporary approaches often advocate a combination of behaviourist techniques and more communicative, student-centred methods. This way, learners not only develop habit formation through repetitive practice but also are given room for creativity and authentic language use.

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