The influences of Bandura's Social Learning Theory have played a major contribution in the academic fields, raising the awareness as well as the importance of appropriate role modelling in the process of child development. In this essay, the Bandura's Social Learning Theory will be explored and referred to as the baseline theory in discussing learning in the context of classroom with relevant examples in reference to his theory.
Bandura & Walters' (1963) argues that:
"Indeed, most prior applications of learning theory to issues concerning prosocial and deviant behaviourâ€¦ have suffered from the fact that they have relied heavily on a limited range of principles established on the basis of, and mainly supported by, studies of animal learning or human learning in one-person situations."
Unlike theorists who based their learning theories through experimenting on animals, Bandura proposed his concept of learning through observation of human models, raising the awareness of the importance of appropriateness of modelling that will impact in children's development to which till today his theory is still influencing dynamic impacts into the education field and child development perspectives.
As noted in this article citing Bandura (1962), Schunk (1992) highlighted the fact that Bandura proposed his theory that of "in social situations, people often learn much more rapidly simply by observing the behaviour of others."
In Bandura's Social learning theory, Bandura (1992) comment that the learning processes through observation from models' actions; and by observing their models, learners thereon acquire the skills, knowledge, behaviour and values presented that are relevant in terms of the reciprocal interactions: the observer, the surrounding environment and their behaviours.
Further on, Bandura introduced the term "No-trial learning". This learning is simply acquired through observation of how the observer performed the actions. Example of this learning in terms of classroom context could be the learning of how to underline. Learners observe how educator places their ruler under the designated text and underline with their writing material, as the process is manageable, the learner may acquire the skill immediately without difficulties.
In summary, the four process of observational learning determine the significant occurrence of learning. Firstly, the observers determine their models and identify the actions performed with awareness of events occurred; secondly observers act cognitively as they are in the process of transforming the actions observed into either visual or verbal form to their own reasoning and understanding in order to remember their observations; thirdly the motor reproduction of actions observed whether if they acquire the requirements of performing the observed actions; and lastly, the vicarious reinforcement towards their performed actions.
Serving as a main driving force of motivation, the reinforcement received from the surrounding environment after the first use of observed actions will determine if it is suitable for the future usage of the observed actions. In another words, if the user performed the observed actions and received positive reviews, he or she are thereon encouraged to repeat the actions in future again and expect to experience more positive remarks as they find the experience pleasant like the previous experience.
These situations of reinforcement are furthered by Bandura basing particular reinforcement concepts on Skinner's theory. Linking to Skinners' reinforcement concept, the chance of learners is found performing observed actions only if the learner received "positive reinforcements" and "no-consequence" reinforcement. It is obvious that learners repeat the actions if positive reinforcements are received, but also, in terms of the "no-consequence" reinforcement, based on the intention to" find out what is going to happen" if they perform this action, learners will have no hesitation into seeking for the answer and hoping that the same result of positive reinforcement might occur.
When the learner observe from their model, Bandura furthered the idea by suggesting that the learners' mind-set plays a role determining the success of imitating and willingness to perform the behaviour/actions learnt from the model in the future.
The mind-set, to which Bandura proposed, refers to the internal mental state of the learners, in terms of the learners' thoughts, views and belief; it is the same to the understanding of psychological term "Projection", to which the learner "believes" if he or she can succeed in achieving the actions. During this process, the learners' interest, the result of performing the actions and belief are linked, in theory, if the learner have no confidence in performing the action are yet forced to implement, but since the learner did not achieve their required result, as an end result, the learner loses interest in performing the actions ever again in future.
Schunk (1992) noted in the article that when learners are shaped with their own behaviour, and with experimenting new behaviour of which they observed, they will develop to a stage of self-reflection where they will conclude their strengths and weakness as a whole. This contributes to the mind-set, the internal mental states of the learners, rather to perform their skills which they are confident than to embarrass themselves by implementing skills that they are not at advantage.
Other than the concept of observant learning, Bandura leaded the theory into a deeper perspective and introduced his view of the reasons of learning, in terms of the concept "Socialization Studies". Socialization studies play a role in revealing the social reason of learning, which draws the impact of the culture of the community towards the learning perspective. Peer pressure and the culture of the community shape the values and beliefs in the context of its surrounding. For example, in school life today, most probably every student is technological advance, therefore in order to maintain in the same social class, students observe their peers and imitate the observed actions, purchased the same possession that peers owned in order to be 'technological up-to-date".
Other than the reason of socialization behaviour, there is another reason of observant learning. When students observe, they observe from the model of the actions are appropriate for their use, especially with considerations of the sex roles concept, where the students observe and perform appropriate behaviour and/or actions from the same gender.
Bandura's theory is found relevant in education fields today, mainly because it raises the awareness of appropriate role modelling in children development. It is the responsibility of the educators into leading by example in all aspects of appropriate and just actions including the use of language, contributing in shaping the learners' moral and ethical values, and being the influence in building the foundation of characteristics of the learners.
Educators serve as the emotional and action guardian in the classroom context, as they monitor the shaping of the characteristics of the learner, reward and punish learners' actions accordingly, promoting and shaping preferred and right behaviour, ensuring that bad habits and practices are stopped.
Other than the shaping of personal characteristics, the educators are the skill provider in which learners observe skills as the educator perform the academic skills (Mathematics, Arts and other subject), ensuring that the skills are well observed and acquired by the learners.
Therefore, in order to ensure the healthy growth of the children, it is the responsibility of the role models (educators and parents) to lead as an appropriate example, and reduce the accessibility of immoral influence that can affect the child's growth.
In this essay, the concept of Bandura's Social Learning theory are highlighted and explored in broad with links to the classroom context covering the different aspects of the process of observant learning as well as the different reasoning. Nevertheless It is clear for the readers to understand in consideration of Bandura's theory that have made great impact in our education fields today in relevance of the importance of appropriate modelling and its impact of shaping behaviour of the child development.