CTET 2015 Exam Notes : Child Development and Pedagogy (CDP)
Social Learning Theory of Albert Bandura
Albert Bandura is noted as one of the exponents of theory of social learning and observational learning. Social learning theory explains human behaviour from the point of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioural and environmental influences. For social learning theory to take place, there are four factors which must be present. These are observers (learners), teacher (model), learners’ attention and proximity or nearness. The process of learning is influenced by the extent of identifications and imitations by the learners to the other three factors (Bandura, 1978).
In most cases, an individual will like to emulate a model who is perceived to be competent, powerful, and attractive, as well as someone whose behaviour is relevant to the observer (Bandura, 1986). This
means that we learn by observing the behaviour of others (Miller & Dollard, 1941).
The newer version of social learning theory is called the social cognitive theory. The change is due to a greater emphasis on cognitive processes in learning.
There are 4 processes involved in observational learning. These include attention, retention, production, and motivation as explained below.
Process 1- Attention
Before students can imitate a model’s behavior, they must pay attention to what the model is doing or saying. For example, seeing a teacher writing from the same perspective as the student see their own makes observational learning easier.
Process 2- Retention
To produce a model’s action, students must be able to store the model’s action in their memory for future retrieval. Students’ retention will be improved when a teacher gives vivid, logical, and clear demonstrations.
Process 3- Production
To attending and remembering, students must be physically capable of reproducing the model’s action. Here, the students need a lot of practice, feedback, and coaching before they can reproduce the model’s action.
Process 4 - Motivation
The students must be motivated to demonstrate the model’s action. Reinforcement can be use to encourage observational learning. For example, a teacher can use direct reinforcement such as saying “Good work!” Alternatively, a teacher may want to use vicarious reinforcement. In this case, a student may simply see other students being reinforced for a particular behavior and then he increases his own production of that behavior.
In social learning theory, reinforcement is not a prerequisite for a learning to occur, but this increases the chance that what has been learnt will definitely be performed. This theory is therefore rested on the fact that an action or behaviour can be performed if the model is pleasantly rewarded. It is also believed that there is probability that an observer might drop a behaviour if he found out that the model has received a negative reinforcement for practicing such a behaviour.
Classroom Implications of Social Learning Theory
1. The teacher is a model for students in his/her classroom, and he/she has a profound effect on students’ attitudes, beliefs and behaviour (Crowl, Kaminsiky and Podell, 1997). In this case, the teacher should be a good model.
2. The teacher should always make sure that he/she does not condone any irrational behaviour from his/her students. Any offending student should be appropriately dealt with, so as to serve as a deterrent to other members of the classroom.
3. The teacher should not forget to give complimentary remarks such as “well done”, excellent”, “good boy/girl,” “keep it up”, as a way of encouraging other students to imitate a good behaviour.
4. Teacher/parents should discourage their students/children from watching violent films or keeping friends of doubtful characters.
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