Write an essay or blog post on a role model, including photos if you would like. In what ways does the model reinforce you or influence your self-efficacy? Use the readings to reference support for your argument.
Picking either format, include at least three references to the material from the readings.
Albert Bandura is often placed in psychology texts in the chapters on Behaviourism. It is a good fit in some ways. Bandura believes we are reinforced and punished and that shapes or influences our behaviour. However, he felt this framework was inadequate to describing learning. For instance, strong behaviourists believe that states of minds cannot be studied but Bandura thought we could learn vicariously by observing and understanding from seeing what happens to others.
His early work, indicates his interest in how models figure in our learning. He conducted experiments with graduate students acting as models beating up on a bobo doll in a room full of toys (see video) and then allowing young children into the same playroom. Bandura and his team observed that in the condition of rough play with Bobo, children did the same, and even at times, to extend their play by using other toys as weapons to hit the doll. For the children who did not observe more violent play or were in more gentle play experiences, the result was different. Children were less inclined to play roughly.
To be clear, this idea should not be conflated with thinking that video games or certain types of music promote violence. There is no scientific evidence that playing video games or listening to metal genre music are an invitation to engage in real life violence and courts have stood behind the science.
This idea developed into more specific aspects of vicarious learning, such as who would be an effective model, and in what ways models might be used meaningfully to reinforce behaviours. There is research to suggest that models have specific characteristics that make them more effective. For instance, models that are seen as competent are more important as an influence. The relevance of the model and the more like the observer a model is in experience are both critical in being most influential. While Bandura said effective models have positive outcomes, we see that anti-heroes sometimes attract attention and also serve to influence others. We often see some popular figure, fictional and real, decried as being a bad influence but Banduras theory fits for people in niche populations who appear successful and have positive outcomes.
Another big contribution to learning that Bandura discusses is self-efficacy. Bandura suggests that developing confidence in our competence happens when we can see, experience, and accept how we have been successful. For learning, realizing that you are a good writer might take time. However, teachers know that specific feedback and examples of competence build self-efficacy in students. So, letting students know what was exemplary about their work is more meaningful and more likely to create confidence in competence. Global praise statements, such as, good job! might feel good but they do not communicate what you did that was good. Global praise does not have to tendency to create real change and confidence. Mastery experiences, though, are powerful.
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