Do you think that high educational fees are always fair?

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Do you think that high educational fees are always fair?


Then fill in the gaps:


A recent decision by Harvard University ___________________________1is putting pressure on other schools to do the same.

The full price for one year at Harvard is more than ____________________2. Many other private colleges cost just as much.

Harvard already offers a free education to students from families that earn up to ________________3. This has helped increase the numbers of____________________ _______and ________________________.

Now, the aim is to help ________________________ American families pay for a Harvard education. The new policies announced last month will assist families that earn as much as ___________________________4. These families will be asked to pay no more than ___________5 of their income for college.

For example, a family earning _______________________6would pay about ______________________________7 Under existing student aid policies the amount is more ______________________________8What Harvard has done is change the way it offers financial aid. Undergraduates will not be expected ________________________9. Increases in ________________________10 will replace loans.

Harvard says it expects to spend up to _______________________11 more a year in financial aid. This will come from its endowment.

Harvard’s endowment is valued at _______________________12.

Yale’s endowment is the second largest after Harvard,______________________ ___________13. This week, Yale announced it will use more money for ____________ _________14and _______________________15.

But some colleges say they simply do not have _______________________16 to compete with the new policies that are being announced.

Critics of the rising costs of a college education say schools are making these changes in an attempt ______________________________________17 by Congress.

Read and Write 1.2.

Read this abstract devoted to “Behaviorism” from the J.S. Atherton’s book “Learning and Teaching” and write a summary (250 -300 words).

Behaviourism is primarily associated with Pavlov (classical conditioning) in Russia and with Thorndike, Watson and particularly Skinner in the United States (operant conditioning).

  • Behaviourism is dominated by the constraints of its (naïve) attempts to emulate the physical sciences, which entails a refusal to speculate about what happens inside the organism. Anything which relaxes this requirement slips into the cognitive realm.
  • Much behaviourist experimentation is undertaken with animals and generalised.
  • In educational settings, behaviourism implies the dominance of the teacher, as in behaviour modification programmes. It can, however, be applied to an understanding of unintended learning.

For our purposes, behaviourism is relevant mainly to:

  • Skill development, and
  • The "substrate" (or "conditions", as Gagné puts it) of learning

Classical conditioning:

is the process of reflex learning—investigated by Pavlov—through which an unconditioned stimulus (e.g. food) which produces an unconditioned response (salivation) is presented together with a conditioned stimulus (a bell), such that the salivation is eventually produced on the presentation of the conditioned stimulus alone, thus becoming a conditioned response.

This is a disciplined account of our common-sense experience of learning by association (or "contiguity", in the jargon), although that is often much more complex than a reflex process, and is much exploited in advertising. Note that it does not depend on us doing anything.

Such associations can be chained and generalised (for better of for worse): thus "smell of baking" associates with "kitchen at home in childhood" associates with "love and care". (Smell creates potent conditioning because of the way it is perceived by the brain.) But "sitting at a desk" associates with "classroom at school" and hence perhaps with "humiliation and failure"...

Operant Conditioning

If, when an organism emits a behaviour (does something), the consequences of that behaviour are reinforcing, it is more likely to emit (do) it again. What counts as reinforcement, of course, is based on the evidence of the repeated behaviour, which makes the whole argument rather circular.

Learning is really about the increased probability of a behaviour based on reinforcement which has taken place in the past, so that the antecedents of the new behaviour include the consequences of previous behaviour.

The schedule of reinforcement of behaviour is central to the management of effective learning on this basis, and working it out is a very skilled procedure: simply reinforcing every instance of desired behaviour is just bribery, not the promotion of learning.

Withdrawal of reinforcement eventually leads to the extinction of the behaviour, except in some special cases such as anticipatory-avoidance learning.


Two points are often misunderstood in relation to behaviourism and human learning:

  • The scale: Although later modifications of behaviourism are known as S-O-R theories (Stimulus-Organism-Response), recognising that the organism's (in this case, person's) abilities and motivations need to be taken into account, undiluted behaviourism is concerned with conditioning and mainly with reflex behaviour. This operates on a very short time-scale — from second to second, or at most minute to minute — on very specific micro-behaviour. To say that a course is behaviourally-based because there is the reward of a qualification at the end is stretching the idea too far.
  • Its descriptive intention: Perhaps because behaviourists describe experiments in which they structure learning for their subjects, attention tends to fall on ideas such as behaviour modification and the technology of behaviourism. However, behaviourism itself is more about a description of how [some forms of] learning occur in the wild, as it were, than about how to make it happen, and it is when it is approached from this perspective that it gets most interesting. It accounts elegantly, for example, for ways in which attempts to discipline unruly students actually make the situation worse rather than better.
  • (This point is heretical!) For human beings, reinforcement has two components, because the information may be cognitively processed: in many cases the "reward" element is less significant than the "feedback" information carried by the reinforcement.

Applied to the theory of teaching, behaviourism's main manifestation is "instructional technology" and its associated approaches.

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