Sunday, February 6, 2011

Is it possible to read a book about driving a car and actually know how to drive a car?

Chapter 3 talks about the Social Cognitive Theory. A theory based on learning that occurs in a social environment based on the relationship between three factors: behavior, environmental and personal. Albert Bandura believed that people could learn new actions merely by observing others perform them. This I believe to be true as I have seen it in my classroom. With my students we can lecture over and over and OVER about a certain skill or procedure but not until we break out the equipment and actually run through a demonstration do they grasp the concepts. In relation to the Social Cognitive Theory this chapter also talks about external items. Whether or not we perform depends on many factors as well. Some of these factors include our own motivation or interest in the topic. Whether or not there are incentives (grade) a need or social pressures.
So how do people’s experiences, environments and behaviors affect how they learn? Can you share some of your experiences?  


  1. As I read through your blog posting, the last sentence or two where you pose the question about incentives jumped out at me. I teach Art at a school with an extended day. The last period is a required extracurricular activity, I teach art during this period. Since it is an extracurricular activity, there is no grade given. In addition to art, I am also the digital arts teachers during the day. This class functions as a normal class, and grades are recorded. Based on my experiences in these two classes, I feel that incentives such as grades do play a part in the students' motivation to complete a project. I cannot begin to count the number of times I hear the question, “Is this for a grade?”, when I assign a project. I feel that between the two subjects I teach, the amount of student participation and interest is far greater in the course that a grade is given.

  2. Elizabeth I like the question you pose as your title. It's interesting because I think some things we can learn as we observe others but to actually learn to drive a car just by reading a book or flying an airplane just by playing video games where you are flying doesnt really give you the ability to do it, but I guess its what is being learned that would make this theory correct. I think this could be further researched because it does make me ponder.

  3. James Higgs
    Modeling is an excellent method of teaching. It allows the Kinetics learner (Gardner) to use the preferred learning style. It is very effective in lower grades because it is a concrete method (Piaget) of teaching. Students who are at lower cognitive developmental levels need this type of learning. This does not mean it isn’t effective for students at higher cognitive levels also. I believe that the majority of students learn deeper by taking the concept and replicating them and if a student sees what is expected (modeled) they have a greater motivation to step and take the risk. There is always a risk of failure when someone is first trying things out.
    Elementary students do not have such a concern about what peers think and will just try it out. Middle school students will be reluctant around peers because of comments that peers make. High School students start to regain the confidence to try new things despite peer’s comments. So modeling is great at all levels at certain grade levels student replication of the required activity has built in reluctance if peers are involved. Small groups and individual work helps overcome this. Small steps that are easily mastered which build upon each other also helps. Success breeds success.

  4. I had seen the importance of good modeling, growing up, I had always followed the modeling of my parents as they taught me the right way to act and learn new things. When I am in the classroom, I try to pass on these good modeling techniques. I have noticed that my students model my behavior in and out of the classroom. The biggest thing that I like to model is that learning can be fun. I try to model different ways to study and learn that includes games.