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Socially Learning in the Classroom

BreAnn Lush
Mark Hawkes
Educational Psychology
11 November, 2013
There are many variations of theories that discuss the best form of learning for students.
Socially learning is the most influential form of learning. Social learning theory is the view that
people learn by observing others (Chegg). Albert Bandura believed in the 1960s that people
learned better through visual explanations on how we want behaviors and certain situations to be
handled. He discovered that there are three key core concepts for observational learning.
The first of the three core concepts that Bandura uses is (how) people can learn through
observation. In 1961 Bandura used the Bobo doll experiment to determine if the theory was
accurate. During the Bobo doll experiment he had children observe an adult act violently
towards the doll. Later the children were allowed to go into the room with the doll and they
began imitating the violent acts towards the doll that they had previously observed from the
adult. This experiment demonstrated the idea that children learn and imitate behaviors that they
have observed. Also, Bandura identified three basic models for this concept. The first model is
the live model. Live model occurs with actual individuals demonstrating or acting out a
behavior. An example of this in a classroom would be showing the students how to finish a
problem on the board and then having them do a similar problem. The second model is the
verbal instructional model. This occurs with descriptions and explanations of a behavior. An
example of this model would be analyzing why the student is having a behavior towards a
situation and what type of behavior it is. The final is the symbolic model. The symbolic model
involves real or fictional characters displaying behaviors in books, films, etc. An example of this
would be using a fictional character or a historical person to relate to a student.
The next core concept is that mental states are important to learning. Using intrinsic
reinforcement as a key point. External, environmental reinforcements are not the only factors to
influence learning and behaviors. Internal rewards can be just as rewarding. In other words,
intrinsic is a form of an internal reward, such as pride, satisfaction, and sense of accomplishment.
Learning how to self-reinforce is something that is important to students and their personal goals
not just the goals and deadlines that the instructors set for them. The students personal thoughts
about certain situations are more influential when everything is done rather than the
environmental influences. Therefore emphasizing on internal thoughts and cognitions help
connect the learning theories to the cognitive developmental theories.
The final core concept is that learning does not necessarily lead to a change in behavior.
Children do not always act upon the situations that they observe. Some behaviorists believe that
learning can lead to a permanent change in the behavior towards the situation that was observed.
Observational learning demonstrates that people can learn new information and behaviors
without acting upon them. For example, a child observes another child getting in trouble for
throwing a rock at a window. That child that observed will learn not do act on that type of
behavior because the child knows that they would get into trouble because of that. Another
example, on the other spectrum, is a child observing another child getting publicly praised for
listening and following directions. The child that observed the other will want to act on the
behaviors that the child used so that they will also receive the public praise that the other child
received.
All observed behaviors are not always effectively learned. Whether social learning is
successful or not is determined by both model and learner playing a role together. The modeling
process is essential. When wanting a specific behavior it is important to model it. A few steps in
the process is attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation. Attention is important in order
to actually learn the material. Anything that distracts the attention is going to have a negative
effect on observational learning. Having an interesting model will help keep the students more
interested and therefore will keep their full attention on the subject. Giving a lecture in a
classroom, for example, if the instructor is lecturing for the entire session the students will lose
interest in the subject and will start looking towards other forms of entertainment. On the other
hand, if the lecture is interactive, such as asking questions or using demonstrations, the students
will be more interested and keep focused at the subject being discussed. Retention is the ability
to store information and is very important to the learning process. Being able to retain the
information learned means that the subject was understood in a way that it was easy to
remember. Even though this is affected by a numerous about of factors it does not draw away
from the fact that they have the ability to use information later on and act upon it. Reproduction
is the time to actually perform the behavior that was observed. Practicing a learned behavior will
lead to improvement and skill and advancement on the subject. Motivation is the one item you
need in order to be successful for that particular modeled behavior. Having reinforcement and
punishment play an important role for this. If a student gets punished for a situation they are not
going to be motivated do act upon it. On the other hand, if the student receives reinforcement the
student will want to continue that behavior in order to receive more. Teachers use modeling as a
way of teaching students how to apply their knowledge to certain situations and class subjects
but also do parents. Parents act upon modeling in their own homes to help their children learn,
outside of school, what is appropriate and what is not. They act the way they expect their
children to behave and when their children do not they are punished.
Albert Bandura also believed in reciprocal determinism. That the world and a persons
behavior causes each other to react, while behaviorism essentially states that ones environment
causes ones behavior (Learning Theories). This would explain why some students and children
act in violent ways. An environment plays a major role in a students life and behavioral habits.
If the student grows up in a high crime rate neighborhood area then they are more likely to act up
and act violently in classrooms. The same type of situation is understood if a student lives in a
high class neighborhood area, the student will behave more and will follow the rules such as they
do when they are at home. Another form of behavior modeling is the television. Depending on
what individuals watch on television will reflect on how they act in their behaviors. This is also
why parents are more hesitant towards certain shows that are too violent or have too much adult
content. They are afraid that they will start acting on those types of behaviors and that is not
what they want their children to learn.
Socially learning through observation is an exceptional way of learning how to act
towards certain behaviors inside and outside of the classroom. Through learning while observing
students learn what is appropriate and what is acceptable in the classroom. In this theory
students also learn certain types of manners and how to behave in public the way that society
expects children to behave. Also we, as teachers, learn more about our students on how they
behave because it teaches us how they grew up in their households and also how they interact
with their environment.