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MEI/ 2013



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1. Introduction 3-5
2. The Application of The Social Learning In Them Teaching of a Subject In The Classroom. 6-8
3. Strength And Weakness Inherent In The Social Learning Theory 9-10
4. Suggestion To Overcome Weaknesses Of The Social Learning Theory 11
5. Conclusion 12
6. Reference 13

There are three learning theory for teachers to make teaching and students learning effective. I would
like to choose social learning theory. The social learning theory emphasizes the importance of observing and
modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. Thus it focuses on learning by observation
and modeling. The theory originally evolved from behaviorism but now includes many of the ideas that
cognitive also hold; as a result it is sometimes called social cognitive learning.

In addition, social learning theory talks about how both environmental and cognitive factors interact to
influence human learning and behavior. It focuses on the learning that occurs within a social context. It


considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as observational learning, imitation, and
modeling (Abbott, 2007).

In social learning theory Albert Bandura (1977) states behavior is learned from the environment through
the process of observational learning. Children observe the people around them behaving in various ways. This
is illustrated during the famous bobo doll experiment (Bandura, 1961).

Individuals that are observed are called models. In society children are surrounded by many influential
models, such as parents within the family, characters on childrens TV, friends within their peer group and
teachers at school. These models provide examples of masculine and feminine behavior to observe and imitate.

They pay attention to some of these people (models) and encode their behavior. At a later time they may
imitate (i.e. copy) the behavior they have observed. They may do this regardless of whether the behavior is
gender appropriate or not but there are a number of processes that make it more likely that a child will
reproduce the behavior that its society deems appropriate for its sex.


First, the child is more likely to attend to and imitate those people it perceives as similar to itself.
Consequently, it is more likely to imitate behavior modeled by people the same sex as it is.

Second, the people around the child will respond to the behavior it imitates with either reinforcement or
punishment. If a child imitates a models behavior and the consequences are rewarding, the child is likely to
continue performing the behavior. If parent sees a little girl consoling her teddy bear and says what a kind girl
you are, this is rewarding for the child and makes it more likely that she will repeat the behavior. Her behavior
has been reinforced (i.e. strengthened).

Reinforcement can be external or internal and can be positive or negative. If a child wants approval
from parents or peers, this approval is an external reinforcement, but feeling happy about being approved of is
an internal reinforcement. A child will behave in a way which it believes will earn approval because it desires

Positive (or negative) reinforcement will have little impact if the reinforcement offered externally does
not match with an individual's needs. Reinforcement can be positive or negative, but the important factor is that
it will usually lead to a change in a person's behavior.

Third, the child will also take into account of what happens to other people when deciding whether or
not to copy someones actions. This is known as vicarious reinforcement. This relates to attachment to specific
models that possess qualities seen as rewarding. Children will have a number of models with whom they
identify. These may be people in their immediate world, such as parents or elder siblings, or could be fantasy
characters or people in the media. The motivation to identify with a particular model is that they have a quality
which the individual would like to possess.

Identification occurs with another person (the model) and involves taking on (or adopting) observed
behaviors, values, beliefs and attitudes of the person with whom you are identifying.

The term identification as used by Social Learning Theory is similar to the Freudian term related to the
Oedipus complex. For example, they both involve internalizing or adopting another persons behavior.


However, during the Oedipus complex the child can only identify with the same sex parent, whereas with Social
Identity Theory the person (child or adult) can potentially identify with any other person.

Identification is different to imitation as it may involve a number of behaviors being adopted whereas
imitation usually involves copying a single behavior.

The Application of The Social Learning In Them Teaching Of A Subject In The Classroom.

There are two main types of groups that teachers can use when using social learning in their classroom. The first
is heterogeneous grouping. This is when students of different ability levels are combined. The definition of
heterogeneous grouping could also be expanded to include grouping together students of different ages and


races. This approach can be especially useful at the beginning of the school year so students get to know each

The second type of grouping is homogenous grouping. This means grouping together students that are
similar. The similarities may refer to ability, race, or age. As a teacher, you may be able to identify students of
similar ability levels by referring to your past assessment scores. The groups will likely change according to the
lesson. This approach can be useful to group students together that may need extra help so the teacher can work
more closely with them, while the students who need no extra help can be grouped together and work on
something different.

Ways Interpersonal Social Learning Can Be Addressed in the Classroom

In the classroom as teachers, we will be faced with a great variety of students with a great variety of
learning styles. Learning to balance the teaching styles we use will be crucial to the successes of our pupils.
Social learning in particular has endless possibilities in the ways we can utilize group work within the
classroom. Some concrete examples include:

ROLE PLAYING- Role-playing is a technique that works well with others, whether its one on one or
with a group of people. For example, have the students be assigned a SLO, and have them act it out for
the classroom. Another example might be to role-play with one person being the instructor and the other
being the student.
DEBATING A TOPIC- Debates are conducted when one group of students are assigned one side of an
issue while another group argues for the other side. You can then have the groups switch roles and argue
the opposite side. Finally, you may have all the students drop their advocacy and come to a consensus
about the topic, or develop a report that takes the best evidence and reasoning from both sides. Debates
are a great way to teach about Social Studies events.
CREATE QUIZZES- Get students into small groups and give each group a small segment of your
lecture material. Ask each group to prepare a short quiz on their assigned segment. You can then have
each team quiz the other groups, or collect the quizzes and give each student a package of all of the


quizzes and allow the students to use them as study material. *This method will only be truly useful for
the students if you go over the questions and provide the proper answers.
GROUP TEST TAKING- Create a test that can be in-class or take-home. The group is expected to
collaborate on answers, and each student reviews the score of the group.
MIND MAPS- Mind maps and systems diagrams are great to work on in class as a group. Have one
person be the appointed drawer, while the rest of the class works through material and suggests ideas.
The group may have varied views on how to represent some ideas; however this is a positive part of
learning in groups. Natural leaders will become apparent through this approach, which can help the
teacher form balanced groups in future tasks.

Patterns of Group Interaction

When we put students in group work settings, it is important that we monitor the ways they interact so that one
student is not overpowering, or another is not left out of the activity. Some definitions of group interaction


Maypole- when the leader is the central figure and communications occur from the leader member and
from the member to the leader
Round Robin- when members take turns talking
Hot Seat- when there is an extended back-and-forth discussion between the leader and one member,
while the other members watch
Free Floating- when all members take responsibility for communication, taking into consideration their
ability to contribute meaningfully to the particular topic

In addition, teaching with technology also one of the application in the theory. Learning theorists have
begun to view the computer, in particular the social connectivity afforded, as a tool that can be harnessed to
create powerful learning environments. Teacher using technology tools such as computer, laptops, projectors in
classrooms its help students to observe and learn easily the subject.


The theory was created by Albert Bandura, he argued that people could learn new behaviors and
information from watching others (also known as observational learning). The Social Learning Theory revolves
around three concepts. The first concept is that behaviors and information can be learnt through watching
others. The second concept is that internal mental, sub conscious; states are an essential part of this process.
Lastly this theory recognizes that just because something has been learned, it does not mean that there will be a
change in the persons behavior.
The social learning theory has many strengths but one of its key strengths is the fact that Bandura
verified the first concept. His findings were that children do copy aggression; this was confirmed in his case
study of 1961. This study revolved around vicarious reinforcement as he would have a child watch an adult bash


and play aggressively with the Bobo Doll/inflatable doll. Afterwards the child would also repeat the same thing
he/she had been shown as long as the role model was not punished for his/her actions. Another strength of the
Social Learning Theory was that many acts of aggression or tragedies ( shootings, murders, homicide,
suicide etc...) were linked to violent and gruesome television shows (Most Shocking, Burn Notice, Castle, CSI
NY etc) and video games (e.g. Call of Duty 1-8, Grand Theft Auto 1-5, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Demon Souls
etc). This links back to all three concepts of the Theory. Because the first concept states that it is learnt from
watching others in other words violent act scan be learnt from these video games and T.V shows.
The second concept states that it an internal mental state, in other words its at the back of our mind but
we never really consciously think about it. So we may pick up some things from T.V shows and video games
but may never actually think about it until something is triggered. Lastly the third concept states that the
persons behavior is not changed even if something new is learnt. This may be a common trait between all
tragedies that happen in school as most people that commit a crime still act the same way the night before.
Although the Social Learning Theory also has several weaknesses, one of these weaknesses is that it cannot
explain why some children watch these violent T.V shows and play these games yet they never copy it. This is
one weakness as many people today are exposed to all sorts of violence yet there isnt a problem of mass
terrorism everywhere around the globe each day.

One other problem is that there are some people or children who are naturally aggressive even if they play
violent games or watch gruesome T.V shows. This clearly defies the concepts of Social Learning Theory as it
states that violence or any other behavior can only be learnt through either experience or watching another
person experiences it.



There are so many ways to overcome the weakness in social learning theory; one of the ways are plan a series
of rewards for specific actions in class. Include candy rewards for younger students, bonus points on future
exams or quizzes and a few class parties during the semester. Select rewards appropriate to the grade level and
class maturity, as bonus test points are worth more to older students and treats to younger ones.

Secondly, design specific ways for students to earn these rewards; this can include participating in class
regularly or a high group average on a test. Include numerous opportunities to receive a reward, such as weekly
awards, monthly awards and smaller daily rewards. Also be sure to design individual as well as group rewards,
so that students are encouraged to participate and thrive individually as well as collectively.


Thirdly, create an encouraging atmosphere in class by staying positive and reacting positively to student
questions and comments. Regularly praise students for insightful comments and compliment questions, which
show a high degree of individual understanding about a topic.

Fourthly, develop a positive technique for reacting to student failures or misunderstandings, such as a
positive way to explain to a student that her answer was wrong without sounding discouraging. Explain the
positive points of these works while suggesting a different perspective she can use to reach the correct answer.

Fifthly, demonstrate new concepts clearly, and praise students when you see them demonstrating the
right method to address a question in class. Give your students a positive example of how to address an issue
and work towards a solution.

Lastly, provide a strong moral example for your students, encouraging them to incorporate those morals
into their lives. Demonstrate these morals in your speech as well as your actions in class. For instance, if you
have to leave during an exam, tell your students the positive statement, I have to step out, but I trust you to
continue your exam quietly, rather than the negative command, Ill be gone for a moment, so you are not to
cheat or talk to each other while I am gone.


In my conclusion, Social learning theorists share many assumptions with behaviorists, particularly the
belief that people are shaped in fundamental ways by their environment through learning processes. Social
learning theorists also acknowledge that classical and operant conditionings are an important influence on
human behavior. However, they add to these learning processes a third: observational learning. They believe
people learn by observing others and therefore that other people (the social environment) are particularly
important as an influence on behavior. With the emphasis on observational learning comes a belief that it is
impossible to explain human behavior without considering the role of internal, mental processes in human
behavior, something that behaviorists reject.


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Social Learning Theory - University of South Alabama[online]


Bandura - Social Learning Theory,By Saul Mcleod Published 2011[Online]


Interpersonal - Social Learning, Social Learning Theory, [Online]



How to Incorporate Social Learning Theory into Classroom Activities. [Online]