In the previous module, we have critiqued and interrogated the text surrounding the learning involved in the behaviorist approach. While most have accepted the efficacy of conditioning and the power of association, we are yet to apply them in real life settings as learners of education.
Bandura’s social learning theory (1977) suggests that as creatures of society, our learning is also highly susceptible to our sensory observations. What we see, hear, taste… anything we perceive that we deem moral and just, we may copy. But has Bandura considered whether the learners have thought about the more profound reasons why they behave/ want to behave like they do? Do they have full understanding why they have considered to copy certain behavior they wish to do so?
He said that in his pursuit of explaining behavior, he has formulated the social cognitive theory to be able to cover the lack of weight on the influence of human cognition in behaviorism. He suggested that in his theory, people also mentally process the morality of the behavior that helps us judge whether it is a behavior/ learning we desire to have or enact (Bandura, 1989). But the purpose of the consequence of that behavior, it is really something we aspire? And how many of us use a metacognitive reflection to tell whether this is what we want?
Bandura has arrived at the conclusion that the bobo doll experiment had the children consider the environment to assist them in making that call of modeling the observed behavior, but I wonder if the children actually know what purpose this behavior will serve them later. After learning how to use periods religiously after the writing teacher models this desirable behavior, do students really know why it is important for them to put end marks in their sentences? What purpose has this served? After desiring a nice little body and craving money and fame, do followers of Kim Kardashian understand their purpose as to why they choose to imitate her demeanor and the way she looks? Or is it plain fanaticism? After the deed has been done, the most imposing question is: so what?
Perhaps I have yet to read more on Bandura and the cognition he posits to happen, to understand the thought that goes into why we model from certain behaviors. Or it could be too convoluted and muddy a concept that the social learning theory does not involve itself in. Perhaps it is too broad to be explained by such one theory, and that other theories are in play?
Kendra, C. Social Learning Theory: How People Learn By Observation. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/sociallearning.htm
Mahto, A. (2006). Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory. Retrieved from http://ananda.mahto.info/albert-banduras-social-cognitive-theory/