3.2.5 An Alternative Perspective: The Importance of Other People in Our Immediate Social and Learning Environments
In Section 3.2.2 you learned about Bandura’s theory of learning through observation, or by “modeling.” Other people can affect our learning in many ways, both positive and negative. In the video below, Levene acknowledges the positive role his family have played in his personal development.
Transcript: Levene (his own words are spoken by an actor)
Yes, I had a lot of support from my family. You know, I suppose you could say you take that for granted but, yes, I did have a lot of support from my family.
Activity 3.10: Learning from Other People
In the animated films below we return to the story of Tina and her friends Alberto, Mike, and Sophie. In the first film we see Sophie handling a difficult situation in the restaurant, watched by Alberto, who is dining at the restaurant with his girlfriend. In the second film we see Alberto tackling a different difficult situation.
Watch the two films now and make some notes about what Alberto has learned, how, and from whom.
Transcript: Film 1: Tina in the restaurant
Location: Ellen and Alberto are dining in the restaurant where Tina now works. Eric, a fellow diner, is sitting at the next table.
Transcript: Film 2: Alberto in the subway
Location: Mike and Alberto are on the subway train when Alberto bumps into another passenger.
In Film 1 we see Alberto learning from Tina how to handle conflict when he watches her negotiating with a complaining customer in the restaurant in which she works. In Film 2 we see Alberto putting his learning into action when he applies the things he has learned from Tina in a new situation—a subway train. Alberto has learned from Tina two techniques for handling conflict:
- Repeating what the other person says in order to make them feel their feelings are being taken seriously.
- Asking the other person what it would take for the situation to be OK for them.
In the next activity, you’ll begin thinking about the people who have been involved in your own learning.
Activity 3.11: Who’s Been Involved in Your Learning and Where Did It Happen?
The aim of this activity is to encourage you to think about who you have come into contact with while learning. To complete the activity you should do the following:
- Draw a table similar to the example in Figure 3.4, with the headings “Example of my significant learning,” “Who was involved?,” and “Where did the learning take place?”
- Choose three examples of your own learning and make notes on each example under the headings you have created, as shown in Figure 3.4.
You should focus on examples of your learning where you feel you have gained new qualities, skills, or knowledge. For example, you may have learned a new skill when your older sister showed you how to change a tire. If you have learned to drive, you may feel that you have learned a skill. You might also feel you have gained knowledge of what a particular road sign means, for example, and certain qualities, such as being a patient and careful driver.
When you have completed your table, make notes in response to these questions:
- Did the examples you selected have anything in common? Are they typical of learning that has been important to you?
- Did your selected examples involve learning from similar people or were they different?
- Did your selected examples share similar locations or were they different?
This activity is similar to what you were asked to do in Unit 2 as part of your evidence gathering. At this point, the focus is different. We are asking you to think about who has been involved with your learning and where this learning took place. The example of learning to drive a car was included because it can have many implications for how people live their lives and even what jobs they can have. But there are different people who may teach us how to do this. We may have lessons from a qualified driving instructor; we might ask a friend or relative to show us. Either way, other people have to be involved—if only because we cannot drive a car alone before passing the driving test.
In the next section you will learn about some learning theories that have acknowledged the role of other people in the learning process.