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Bandura's theory - Essay Example

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Bandura has posited a theory of human behaviour that offers three factors that influence the way persons act in given situations. The aspects of this theory-observational learning, self efficacy, and self-regulation-have been shown to be behaviours that are evident in the way students position themselves to learn…
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Download file to see previous pages In fact, several studies have shown a high correlation between mastery of these behaviours and high achievement in school.
Observation has been demonstrated as having a significant impact on learning in several areas of psychology (Bandura, 1986; Rosenthal & Zimmerman, 1978). These researchers have documented evidence that shows children responding to behaviours observed in adults. The children then learn and subsequently emulate the behaviours. Specifically within the education context, this theory has been found to have merit in that students who observe a model (parent or teacher) depicting positive study attitudes and habits and then emulate that model generally demonstrate a higher level of academic success than those who do not engage in observational learning (Bird et al., 2005; Martinez-Pons, 2002).
One of the problems with observation in the educational context is that physical processes are much easier to observe than mental processes. The child who learns how to assemble a toy by watching an adult or older sibling is at an advantage compared to the student who must acquire skills for studying. A model's retreat to a quiet area is visible enough, but self monitoring and regulatory skills generally take place within the mind of the studier and can often only be passed on to an observer through conscious effort on the part of the modeller to get the idea across.
Studies have shown that behaviours of students to whom the meta-cognitive strategies have been purposively modelled have demonstrated high levels of achievement than those who are generally left on their own to figure it out (Martinez-Pons, 2002). In a study done by Zimmerman and Kitsantas (1999) students given a writing task were separated into groups in which the necessary strategies for successfully completing the task were either modelled for emulation, verbally described, or directly practised (as distinct from modelling in which mental as well as physical processes are exposed). The result of the experiment was that students who received support in the form of adult modelling of the behaviours necessary for success were better able to independently display skills that led to success in the academic task (Martinez-Pons, 2002).
The observation of parents in situations that can be related to learning has also been seen to have an effect on students' ability to perform academically. It is often the case that students who grow up in an environment that encourages learning do better academically than those who have not that privilege. This phenomenon has been described by Martinez-Pons (2002) as a "hidden curriculum." The students exposed to such a curriculum are often able to watch parents in behaviours that are self-regulatory and that lead to learning. A study carried out by Martinez-Pons demonstrated that "parental modeling and support for self-regulatory processes precede students' development of these skills" which lead to positive and high levels of academic achievement.
Self Efficacy
Self efficacy has been defined as a person's perception of his or her ability to perform a given task. It is distinct from self esteem and self concept in that it is closely tied to a given context, so that a person's self efficacy might vary with different ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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