The Use of Bandura's Social Learning Theory in Schools

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One of the central tenants of Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, which is also called Social Cognitive Theory, is that “aggression in children is influenced by the reinforcement of family members, the media, and the environment” (Bandura, 1975, pp. 206-208). Evans (1989) suggested that the basis for Bandura’s theories came from work completed by researchers Miller and Dollard (1941) who suggested that human development is actively influenced by “response consequences” (Evans, 1989, p. 4), but regardless of the impetus for Bandura’s work, he is most known for his work regarding aggression in children. This paper will focus on why the principles of Bandura’s Social Learning Theory will benefit leaders in school environments as they address behavioral problems from a human development perspective

One of the most famous experiments Bandura is credited with is the Bobo doll experiment. This experiment examines Bandura’s theory that aggression has three aspects—how the aggression develops, what provokes the behavior and what elements determine that an individual would resort to aggressive behavior in a similar situation in the future. While conducting this experiment, Bandura had a group of children watch a video where an actress is attacking a plastic clown. The aggressive behavior shown includes the actress punching the doll, hitting it with objects and hurling it around the room (Bandura, 1976). Next, these children were placed in a room that had similar toys shown in the video, but they were not allowed to touch the toys. Consequently, the children became upset with this restriction and after a length of time, the researchers found that 88% of the children exhibited the same aggressive behavior witnessed on the video. What is more disturbing is that eight months later a resounding 40% of the same group of children exhibited aggressive behaviors that were similar to their previous conduct (Isom, 1998).

The Social Learning Theory suggests that humans learn...
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