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Albert Bandura (1925-Present), Essay Example

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Words: 387

Essay

The Good Cop reinforcement, along with its Bad Cop twin punishment,  may be thought of as two behavioral tools used to motivate those involved in a learning process. Motivation is itself the fourth step, along with attention, retention, and reproduction, of the modeling process. And modeling is in turn the key concept of Albert Bandura’s social learning theory, which posits that observation is as important a component of learning as direct participation, that internal states of mind matter as much as the external forces and events that produce outcomes predictable and quantifiable by observers.

Bandura’s theory has important implications in the field of child rearing. As an example, consider the controversial and wide-ranging arena that has been coined edutainment, the combining of education and entertainment, particularly on TV and in movies. You can see the connection: children enjoy watching TV and movies. If Bandura is correct, than what children watch every day for hours will affect what they learn and how they act. So children’s programming, such as found on Sesame Street, attracts a great deal of attention among theorists, activists, parents, and teachers. This issue regularly tricks its way into popular culture via The Simpsons when Lisa and Bart are shown laughing uproariously at the antics of The Itchy & Scratchy Show. Do real life Lisa and Bart  know that it is satire? Do they know what satire is? In the case of The Simpsons, both parents and kids often watch it together, as they do with Harry Potter. But in the case of Sesame Street and similar shows, most adults are not going to be there. So someone else must monitor them. But who? In 1876 Tom Sawyer was banned from the children’s room of the Brooklyn, New York public library. And today all kinds of video games come with either bans for kids or warnings for their parents. Books and video games are solitary in comparison to TV and movies.

All this leads directly to a specific, real-world example of  what to consider when punishing children. If after watching Itchy & Scratchy they straightway torment the family cat, parents must decide why it happened. Are the kids imitating the show, or pretending to imitate the show just to get away with some misbehavior? Good parents will have enough observational learning of their own to know, or guess.

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