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Skinner Says Computers Aid Learning

By Anne E. Messitte

Social behaviorist B.F. Skinner, Pierce Professor of Psychology Emeritus, yesterday told a standing-room-only audience at the Graduate School of Education that teachers should reinforce classroom learning with computer education in order to expedite the learning process.

"You can teach twice as much" with computers, Skinner told the 350-person audience. "Machines allow students to work at their own pace."

Skinner cited computers as effective learning tools because they make students more conscious of their progression from one objective to the next.

But Skinner said computers have not become widespread teaching tools. He faulted administrative problems and a general public misunderstanding of the "basic theory of behavior underlying programming" for preventing computers from becoming commonplace in the classroom.

Skinner also criticized teacher training programs, saying, "Teachers do not study and are not taught how to teach," he said. He predicted that children will "continue to go poorly educated in American schools" if teachers do not receive better training.

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