Running Head: Social Process
Learning as a Social Process
by Veronica M. Johnson
Dr. Brian Boehman
Western Kentucky University
Veronica M. Johnson
Dr. Brian Boehman
23 April 2008
“Of the many cues that influence
behavior, at any point in time, none is more common
than the action of others.” –Albert
As students, we
have probably all heard the phrase, “All students are capable of learning; however, every student learns in his or her
own unique way.” This statement is true from beginning to end because every
student does learn in a unique way. It is empirical for teachers to implement
different methods of instruction while in the classroom in an effort to meet the special, or diverse, needs of each individual
student. However, in spite of the many student diversities found within a single
classroom, all students have been found to share one commonality-they all learn through observing the behaviors, attitudes,
reactions, and demonstrations of others. This form of learning is known as social,
or observational, learning. Furthermore, in addition to understanding the unique
educational needs of each student, teachers must also understand how concepts such as that of social learning, can affect
his or her students. The following resources and information both coincide with
and expand on the information found within the section concerning “observational learning” derived from chapter
six of Woolfolk, Anita (2007). Educational psychology. Boston,
Massachusetts: Pearson Education, Inc., Allyn and Bacon.
Social learning takes
place in almost every aspect of life. From the day a child is born, he or she
is observing the actions of others and learning what is both socially acceptable and how to perform certain tasks. Thus, as individuals grow, they begin to model others to perform more difficult tasks. For instance, many individuals learn how to perform arithmetic equations and chemical experiments through
observing fellow peers. Others learn how to express different emotions and understand
others points of view by simply curling up to a favorite book; therefore, it is apparent that social learning is a vital part
of everyone’s life and educators need to understand the overall concept of social learning, as well as needing to know
how to implement positive social learning in all content areas.
In order to implement
social learning in the classroom, educators must first understand the theory of social learning. The website, http://tip.psychology.org/bandura.html, is an overview of the social learning theory which was developed and published by Albert
Bandura in 1977. It is a wonderful resource for teachers of all grade levels
because it describes the social learning theory in context. Because Albert Bandura
was such a prominent figure in the development of this theory, it is beneficial to understand his point of view. There are extensive examples of social learning situations which can help teachers implement the best teaching
techniques for students. In addition, it also provides a written description
of Bandura’s main social learning theory principles. This helps educate
teachers on how, and in what situations, students learn best. The following is
a list of principles found on this particular site:
1. The highest level of observational learning is achieved
by first organizing and
modeled behavior symbolically, then by enacting it overtly.
behavior into works, labels, or images results in better retention than simple observing.
2. Individuals are more likely to adopt a modeled behavior
if it results in
3. Individuals are more likely to adopt a modeled behavior
if the model is
similar to the
observer, has admired status, and the behavior has functional value.
These principles are
useful to educators of all content areas for a number of reasons. First, knowing
that individuals code behavior into words and/or images is useful to teachers. This
helps them to understand what teaching methods are most effective. For example,
connecting concepts to specific images, or even mnemonics, is helpful to students. Furthermore,
in relation to remembering a concept or idea, students are more eager to learn a new concept or behavior if it is something
in which they show value in. Overall, understanding ways in which students learn
is imperative to educators and this website is extremely effective in understanding these principles and how to apply them.
I found that allows educators to see an alternative perspective to the social learning theory is: http://www.pages.drexel.edu/grad/sg95d014/hdls99/manual/vygotsky.htm. It is a brief overview of Vygotsky’s
theory on cognitive development in relation to the social learning theory. This
site provides the viewer a diagram, or illustration, describing his theory in brief detail.
It is sufficient for educators because it gives them an understanding of the different psychological views on the social
learning theory. Teachers will be able to use different approaches to their teaching
styles through understanding several different view points.
It is apparent that
social learning can affect education in a variety of ways. For instance, students
can model good behavior from their peers by working diligently on their homework assignments during study hall or by expressing
their emotions in a unique, positive manner. On the other hand, students can
model bad behavior, too. Students can react violently due to the violence they
viewed on a television show two days earlier. As Bandura discovered through experiment,
social learning is linked to aggressive behavior. With the rise of school violence,
understanding and implementing the social learning theory in classrooms is prevalent now, more than ever. The number one way to prevent violence and aggressive students from entering schools is to become educated
on how to prevent violence and promote healthy peer relationships in the classroom.
Educators can do this a number of ways, and the articles found on the website www.educationworld.com are a wonderful resource for teachers. The
article about teaching self-control curriculum at www.educationworld.com/a_issues/chat/chat084b.shtml, which is specifically designed for teachers, focus on teaching students appropriate
social behaviors such as:
∙Following School Routines
∙Managing Group Situations
∙Solving Social Problems
Many of the rules found
on this site can be implemented through the use of literature. Writing in journals
on a daily basis is one way for students to learn how to control their impulses and manage stress. This site teaches educators the basics on how to help students learn in a social environment. Another article found at www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr155.shtml teaches educators how to both create and manage an effective classroom environment. There are helpful curriculum tips for educators such as how to implement different
activities into class time. The site suggests that educators make use of two
to three different activities during each period. Examples include allowing time
for lectures, time for small group reading, and time for a writing activity. It
also includes a “parent/student/teacher” compact, which is a great source for teachers to use with their students,
and the students’ parent(s) to allow the students to see exactly what is expected of them in a social setting. This also lets the parents know where you, the educator, stand on classroom management. This helps to create a healthy social environment in which every student can model
positive behaviors. Basically, as an educator, it is important to implement cooperative
learning in every classroom. Students need to interact with their peers in order
to maintain positive social relationships and grow as individuals. Along with
social relationships comes the acceptance, or rejection, of new ideas and concepts; therefore, as a teacher, it is important
to promote positive social relationships with others.
In order to create
socially appropriate environments, educators must create and implement socially appropriate activities for their students. As stated in Educational psychology. Boston,
Massachusetts: Pearson Education, Inc., Allyn and Bacon, one great approach to
initiating social learning in the classroom is to incorporate cooperative learning in daily lessons. By placing students in cooperative learning groups and engaging them in social interactive activities,
the students are able to model the behaviors of their peers. They are exposed
to new concepts and ways of completing tasks and assignments. For example, students
who are instructed to participate in small group discussions are implementing cooperative learning in the classroom. Students are able to model the opinions, views, and behaviors of their peers. On the other hand, by simply instructing students to read a poem and reflect on that
particular poem is another form of social learning known as intertextuality. Thus,
because the student is interacting with the author who holds different ideas and styles of expression, the student is participating
in social learning. (The Literary Encyclopedia)
Think” was developed by the International Reading Association and is a great resource for educators who are looking
for creative ways to implement social learning into their classroom activities and lesson plans. It contains many great lesson plan examples on how educators can implement reading, or literacy, into their
classrooms. The website http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/index.asp is a highly beneficial resource for teachers because it is specially designed for teachers
of all grade levels. It is extremely accessible because it is equipped with a
search engine so that educators can find information pertaining to their area of expertise.
The website, http://www.csee.net, was established and created by experts in the field of education and designed
to help educators promote positive social and emotional development in the school and home settings. This is a great source because it provides lesson plans, professional documents, and educational surveys
for teachers among a large number of grade levels.
While we know
that all students learn in his or her own unique way, it is important that we also know that teachers teach in a variety of
ways; therefore, we, as educators, have to construct lessons so that every student can learn through observation. Modeling, through cooperative learning groups, seems to be the consensus of all articles that I have researched.
Anita (2007). Educational psychology. (10th ed., p. 417) Boston,
Massachusetts: Pearson Education, Inc., Allyn and Bacon.
Allen, Graham Intertextuality. (2005). In The
Literary Encyclopedia [Web]. The Literary Dictionary Company. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1229
Starr, Linda (2004). Creating a climate for learning:
effective classroom management techniques. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from Education world: the educator's best friend Web site:
(2003, November 13). Wire side chats: teaching self control. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from Education world: the educator Web
University (1999). Vygotsky's Social Learning: importance of social interaction
in learning. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from Education world: the educator Web site: www.educationworld.com/a_issues/chat/chat084b.shtml
Gillies, Robin & Ashman Adrian F. (2003).
Cooperative learning: the social and intellectual outcomes of learning in groups.
Taylor and Francis.
Haynes, Norris M., Zins Joseph E., Elias, Maurice
J., Greenberg, Mark T., Kessler, Rachel, Frey, Karen S., Schwab-Stone, Mary E., Weissberg, Roger P., & Shriver, Timothy
P. (1997). Promoting social and emotional
learning: guidelines for educators. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
Hodgon, Linda (1995). Visual strategies for improving communications: practical supports for school and home. Quirkroberts Publishers.
Kress, Jeffrey S., Elias, Maurice J. & Novick,
Bernard (2002). Building learning communities
with character: how to integrate academic, social, and emotional learning. Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Packer, Martin (2002). Changing classes: social reform and the new economy (learning in
doing: social, cognitive, and computational perspectives). Cambridge University Press.
Wray, David (2002). Classroom interaction and social learning: from theory to practice. Taylor and Francis.
(2008). Retrieved March 7, 2008, from Center
for Social and Emotional Education Web site: http://www.csee.net.
(2008). Retrieved March 7, 2008, from ReadWriteThink
Web site: http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/index.asp.