Implementing Observational Learning

844 WordsJul 9, 20184 Pages
The following essay provides the reader with a cursory understanding of observational learning and how it may be implemented within the classroom. The paper first explores a workable definition of observational learning primarily through the concept of modeling and vicarious learning. The second part discusses the roles of the teacher and environment. The paper then discusses how observational learning may be used to teach positive attitudes and effective thinking skills, also achieved through vicarious learning. “Scaffolding”, a learning strategy that utilizes observational and vicarious learning is explored in the last section of this paper. Observational learning is basically learning by watching others, referred as models. There are…show more content…
This is referred as vicarious reinforcement, whereas vicarious punishment occurs when a student observes a peer facing consequences for a behavior that the observer is also doing. The peer facing a consequence essentially forces the observer to also stop behaving in a similar fashion. Vicarious extinction occurs when the observer notices that a behavior does not produce the desired result, therefore they cease the behavior (Vockell, 2004). The integration of observational learning would begin with the teacher. The teacher may be the primary role model in the classroom environment, hence it is imperative to project positive behaviors and qualities and refrain from behaviors and attitudes that tend to diminish opportunities towards intellectual, social and developmental growth within each student (Vockell, 2004). The classroom environment is also taken into consideration. Environmental factors may affect outcomes related to modeling techniques. The idea is to limit the potential effects of sensory stimuli, such as when closing doors to the classroom in order to lessen external noise or distractions. Attitude and thinking skills can be learned vicariously, “[C]hildren develop a large number of thinking strategies by imitating the ways their peers think. Teachers can exploit opportunities for observational learning of attitudes and thinking skills related to academic subjects.”
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