Social Cognitive Theory

Topics: Educational psychology, Albert Bandura, Psychology Pages: 5 (1405 words) Published: April 29, 2014

Social Cognitive Theory: Its Concepts and Affects in the Classroom Stefanie Daniels
Edu 1001 Dr. Trasborg
St. John's University

Social cognitive theory serves as an explanation that an individual’s knowledge is obtained by observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences. This theory can be executed in typically three areas of study that expand broadly from them. They are: psychology, communications, and education. When it comes to psychology, many studies have been completed that allow researches to come to the conclusion that it is how the individual takes in new behaviors, and how they are either punished with it or rewarded. In other words, it is how the individual’s brain works and allows them to intake new behavior upon the acts of others. The social cognitive theory is also present in communications that has a big impact on education. For example, media is a great outlet for young children to see celebrities fighting for good causes such as charities for rare diseases with no cure. If the child sees that a famous person is doing good deeds, children will bounce off of that good behavior and learn from it.

The social cognitive theory stemmed from work in the area of social learning theory proposed by Neal E. Miller and John Dollard in 1941. However, it was not until Albert Bandura conducted a series of studies to find out why and when children display aggressive behaviors that the actual social cognitive theory was born. These studies demonstrated the value of modeling for acquiring novel behaviors and provided initial evidence for the separation of learning and performance. During these studies, it was also found that the learner intakes more than new behaviors visually. For example, the learner can observe their environment, the person executing the new behavior being learned, and the consequences of executing their newfound behavior.

Once Bandura officially named his studies the Social Cognitive Theory, it established a viable model for understanding how people learned through observation of models. Then, Bandura and his colleagues expanded further and came up with self-setting goals, self-efficacy, and self-regulation. Within the social cognitive theory, the individual can set goals for himself/herself that allow them to achieve the goal of executing the newfound behavior. These self-setting ideas have the same implications that are set in a classroom so a child can gain self-confidence. Self-efficacy is the extent or strength of one's belief in one's own ability to complete tasks and reach goals. In the classroom setting, the individual (student) must gain confidence in their abilities to be successful at specific task given. Self-efficacy has proven useful for understanding students' motivation and achievement in academic contexts. It is solely upon the teacher to promote this high level of self-confidence in the students so that the students themselves can understand mistakes and build upon them. Following the theory of self-efficacy and self-confidence, self-regulation is based on the foundation that the learner can set themselves goals and are able to manage their thoughts and actions in order to reach particular outcomes. In other words, the student can control their actions and manage their own behavior to either be rewarded or punished. The learned difference between the two consequences is solely based upon the child’s ability to know and only learned through correct modeling that the teacher implements in his/her classroom.

With self-regulation and self-efficacy being two of the five concepts that allow the student to gain self-motivation in the learning environment, goal setting is another. Goals reflect cognitive representations of anticipated, desired, or preferred outcomes. Therefore, this further proves that the social cognitive theory not only states that children learn through observation,...

References: The Gale Group, n.d. Web. (2009) Social cognitive theory.
Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. (updated 2014- publish 2010) Social cognitive theory
 Cherry, Kendra. (2010) Social learning theory
Kowalski, Dean. (2011) The Technological Role of the Social Cognitive Theory in Education. Portfolio. N.p., n.d.
Link to PDF file on social cognitive theory:,d.dmQ
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