Tag Archives: Social Learning

Psychological Perspectives and ICT

For my final ICT specialist module of the year I was required to research and learn about psychological perspectives and ICT. In order to do convey what I have learnt I have created a series of blogs which represent a range of topics that can be discovered within this module. These topics include insights into the psychological theories that underpin learning, the impact that ICT has in education and these topics have influenced how we teach and educate today.
I began my learning by researching “How the work of Pavlov influenced education” this was the first step into the world of how psychology has influenced education for me and very much an area of research that encouraged me to learn more. My second blog was entitles “Learning through making” and it opened my eyes to the collaborative learning and how learning theories are usually built upon the work conducted by others. As I progressed through the module I began to gain an interest in exploring how technology has become apparent in our lives and education. This encouraged me to explore the world of “Computer dependency” an area of modern life that is often overlooked. Building upon this my learning drove me toward the use of “Technology in the classroom” and how we can use technology to further the development of children and how they learn.

These initial blogs allowed me to not only increase my understanding of a range of topics but also presented me with the opportunity to gain new knowledge surrounding the issues raised in this module. But with my ever increasing desire to learn more I decided to go back and research a few more learning theories for a few reasons. Firstly I wanted to expand my current base of knowledge regarding learning theory and understand why we teach the way we do or why we did at particular times in history. For example “Bandura, the theory of social learning and education” provided me with the opportunity to understand how the behaviour can influence the actions of others along with other things. Another theory that I took a particular interest in was “Situated learning.” After posting my first blog on this topic I was encouraged by feedback that I received to post a second blog on the topic titled “Comparing situated learning,” this allowed me to research the topic further and deepen my understanding of the topic. Another interest that I gained whilst studying this module was how theorists explain how we has people behave and act. I decided to research the work of Maslow but to approach it from a teachers point of view, writing a blog thinking about “How the performance of children in the classroom relate to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.” My final blog looked into the “Presentation of self in a digital life” allowing me to think deeply about how the digital world allows us to alter our persona and how people perceive us in both a personal and professional manner.

I feel that as a learner looking to expand his knowledge approaching this module in this way has been extremely beneficial to me. I have just written an essay surrounding two or three topics but researched and understood a wide range of topics that cover a variety of aspects of this module. In turn by representing my learning in the form of a series of blogs it has provide me with the opportunity to receive feedback that helps me to think about what I have written developing me as a learner.

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Bandura, the Theory of Social Learning and Education

Albert Bandura is a psychologist from Canada who is currently a professor at the Stanford University. He is widely described as the greatest living psychologist and one of the most influential of our time. Bandura has won many awards, received six honorary degrees and a 2002 survey ranked him the fourth most cited psychologist of all time. I want to explore some of his research and understand how it has influenced education today.

Bandura was responsible for conducting the famous “Bobo doll” experiment in (1961), a very controversial experiment however it paved the way for his theory of social learning. Bandura conducted the study with the aim to investigate if social behaviours or aggression can be acquired by imitation. Using children from the Stanford University nursery school he tested 36 children of each gender. The experiment consisted of three stages, the first two stages were used to lay the foundations of the experiment with the children being observed in stage three. It is this final stage that provided the experimenters with the results they required. The children were divided into three groups of 24, one group was exposed to aggressive behaviour towards the Bobo doll, another observed non-aggressive behaviour and the final 24 were used as a control group and did not observe any particular behaviours.

For stage one the children entered the experimental room individually, within this room there was some toys, a mallet and a Bobo doll. The person who the child would observe, better known as a model was invited into the room. Depending on the group that the child was assigned the model would either act in an aggressive or non-aggressive manner towards the Bobo doll. If aggressive actions were to take place the model ensured that they were aggressive in an easy to imitate way. At this point stage one would come to an end and an experimenter would enter and take the child to another room. Stage two was used as a way to stimulate aggression; the child was subjected to mild aggression arousal. To cause this arousal the child was taken to a room with lots of toys, however as soon as he/she began to play with the toys they were quickly removed by the experimenter and told that those toys were not for them. For the final stage of the experiment the child was taken to a room containing a Bobo doll, a mallet, a dart gun and some other non-aggressive toys such as a tea set and teddy bears. The child was placed in the room for a total of twenty minutes and their behaviour was observed and rated though a one-way mirror. Experimenters made observations at 5-second intervals, therefore giving 240 responses for each child. The Bobo doll experiment allowed Bandura to draw several conclusions based on the collective data that the results showed. He found that the children who observed aggressive behaviour towards the Bobo doll were more likely to imitate this aggression when they came face to face with the doll. The girls who witness the aggressive conditions also showed more physical aggressive responses if the model was male but more verbal aggressive responses if the model was female.

Bandura (1977) states “behaviour is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning.” This underpins his theory of social learning and the Bobo doll experiment support this theory. In their lives children observe a variety of people that can influence how they grow, develop and behave. The behaviour of these people can define the child and these influences include parents, siblings, friends and teachers. The people that children observe are referred to by Bandura as models and the influences previously mentioned provide the opportunity for children to view the behaviour of both male and female models. When children observe models they encode some of their behaviours, remembering what they have seen and replicating such behaviours. Bandura found that during the Bobo doll experiment (1961) that children are more likely to replicate models of the same gender but this is not always the case. Despite a desire to copy behaviours that they have observed children can be manipulated to repeat or stop the behaviours. This is done through the use of reinforcement or punishment, if the behaviour that a child is replicating is positive then the model may decide to reinforce such behaviours. They may do this by providing praise or a reward, with the hope that they child repeats the particular behaviour more often. On the other hand the model may punish the child in order to discourage them from repeating the behaviour again. A punishment may entail removing the child from an activity that they enjoy or telling them off. Skinner (1968) argued that learning is a result of the reinforcement or punishment of behaviours within a context that is deliberately manipulated. It is at this point we can begin to evaluate the social learning theory in education.

In our classroom teacher can use the social learning theory as a way of understanding the current behaviour of some of the students, especially in the cases of troublesome children. Teachers can use the influences and people that these children observe as a point of research to begin to understand why children act out. Moreover the social learning theory can be used as a method of modelling good behaviour to children. Observing a teacher behaving in a particular way and their responses in different situations can help to encourage children to behave in the same way. The cause of a problem or success may be accounted to a child’s exposure to another person and their behaviours. All teachers are role models and it is their responsibility to ensure that they behave in a way that meets the expectations of a role model. By doing so teachers can help develop and shape children in a way that is beneficial to their learning and development.

Sources, References and Further Reading

Bandura, A. Ross, D., & Ross, S.A (1961). Transmission of aggression through the imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575-582

Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Skinner, B.F. (1968). The Technology of Teaching. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

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