The social learning theory discusses how people learn through others, a social context. This learning can be done through observing and imitating behaviors. This is usually the way traditions and cultural expectations get passed down from generation to generation. It is important for practitioners to understand this theory, because this is the way our children learn. Students learn from others whether it be appropriate or inappropriate behaviors. This reflection will discuss the social learning theory.
Most knowledge obtained by children is through observational learning, a component of social learning. Newman and Newman (2007, pg. 136) provide the example of a child learning how to play football. A child can learn from watching other children play football, and watching football on TV. The people playing football would be modeling for this child, giving him the knowledge he could use when the opportunity to play football arises. Through observations like these, schemes are being built of how to play football. Observations made to acquire new knowledge occur throughout life, and is not based on performance. When children observe behaviors they are guided by them, which shape their own behaviors.
In the classroom, students need to be provided numerous opportunities to work their peers, and learn from them. The 21st century classroom requires collaboration with others, this is a form of social learning. Not only is it important to know that students learn from modeling when teaching them, but also behaviors they display outside of the classroom as well. Currently I am dealing with gossiping with my students. These students have learned these behaviors from older siblings, and TV shows they watch. Although Huesman (2007) discusses observing violence in media and its impact, the viewing of shows with dramatic behavior is similar. These behaviors I witness has a group of students talking about another group. I have come to realize this is how these students are meeting their need for fun, even if it is hurting another. Another example proving children learn from what they see is the imitation of power rangers. Usually when I am on yard duty, I witness at least one group of students reenacting what they saw on a TV show, like Power Rangers.
As an educator it is important to be aware of my own actions and behaviors, since all students are watching me and I am their model. Even when I am teaching a lesson, I produce a model for the students to learn from. Children learn from observing others, and it is important for all adults to realize this. Children can pick up appropriate and inappropriate behaviors from those around them. By becoming aware of social learning, I can be more mindful of my own actions in front of others. I also know that more peer work should be done in class, and even a tutoring group with older and younger students can be of great benefit to those students.