6. Objectivism and Behaviourism

6.2. Objectivist Approaches to Teaching

A teacher operating from a primarily objectivist view is more likely to believe that a course must present a body of knowledge to be learned. This may consist of facts, formulas, terminology, principles, theories, and the like.

The effective transmission of this body of knowledge becomes of central importance. Lectures and textbooks must be authoritative, informative, organized, and clear. The student’s responsibility is accurately to comprehend, reproduce and add to the knowledge handed down to him or her, within the guiding epistemological framework of the discipline, based on empirical evidence and the testing of hypotheses. Course assignments and exams would require students to find ‘right answers’ and justify them. Original or creative thinking must still operate within the standards of an objectivist approach – in other words, new knowledge development must meet the rigorous standards of empirical testing within agreed theoretical frameworks.

An ‘objectivist’ teacher has to be very much in control of what and how students learn, choosing what is important to learn, the sequence, the learning activities, and how learners are to be assessed.