Theories of child development social learning : Social Development

Theories of child development social learning


Social learning theorists agree with other cognitive theorists that:

  1. People CONSTRUCT reality, that is, they interpret information in the context of their previous experiences.
In particular, people's beliefs about themselves affect how they react to possible reinforcement and punishment. If I truly believe that no matter what I do, it will make no difference in my life, then why should I go back to school, study, look for a job or go to work in the morning? How do I get these beliefs? One way is through my previous history of reinforcement and punishment - that is, having seen the outcomes of my efforts in the past. A child with a learning disability, who has repeatedly tried and failed to read may not be motivated to try to read in class, even if the teacher promises free time, toys, money or any other incentive. Similarly, if a parent has threatened a child over and over to send him to his room when he misbehaves, but never follows through on this threat, eventually, the child will misbehave regardless of any threat even if. for example, his teacher is threatening to send him to time out and she really means it. The threat has no effect because the child does not believe it will happen.

2. Learning also occurs through OBSERVATION.

The concepts of vicarious reinforcement and vicarious punishment are very important to social learning theory. People learn through seeing others reinforced, what they can expect in similar situations. Bandura (one of the foremost social learning theorists) found that we are likely to pay particular attention to models who are high in status and similar to us. I read an interesting chapter on history which said that, before tribal colleges existed, many of the best-prepared students went to college off the reservation, but facing financial problems, homesickness, cultural differences, etc. soon dropped out and returned to the reservation. "Other students, observing this, concluded that college was not for them." In this case, there are two groups of students, the first of whom experienced the negative consequences (failure at college) directly, and the second experienced negative consequences vicariously, through observation of the first group of students. Both, however, were less likely to try, in the future, to attend college off of the reservation. This can work in the reverse direction as well. That is one reason that I believe minority teachers are extremely important in schools in minority communities, because they offer a role model for students of people like them who succeeded in the educational system.

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