Albert Bandura: Social Cognitive Theory of Human Functioning.

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Albert Bandura was born in 1925 in Mundare, a small village in northern Alberta, Canada. He was the only male child of six children in a family of Eastern European descent. His parents, though they never went to school, valued education. Bandura"s father taught himself to read in three languages, giving young Albert a great model of self-regulated learning. The concept of self-regulated learning fiqures prominently in modern social cognitive theory.

Young Bandura's elementary and high school years were spent at the one and only school in town, which was extremely short of teachers and resources which largely left the students to their own initative. Despite all of this, virtually all of the school'a graduates went to attend universities all over the world. After high school graduation, and in search of an intellectually challenging climate, Bandura went to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He finished his undergraduate degree in three years(1949), with the Bolocan award in Psychology.. Because he needed a morning class to fill one time slot, he enrolled in intoductory psychology and found his future profession. The impact of his accidental entrance into the world of psychology would influence his theorizing later in his career. Bandura thought that personal initiative often places people into circunstances where good fortune can shape the courses lives take. Rather then treating fortuity as uncontrollibilty, Bandura focused on how to make chance work for one through self-development to exploit fortuitous opportunities. He entered graduate school at the University of Iowa, in 1950, which was considered, at the time, the epicenter of psychological research. Bandura received his M.A. degree in 1951 and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1952 under the direction of Arthur Benton. In 1953, Bandura joined the faculty at Stanford University, where he has remained to pursue his career.

Albert Bandura's contributions to psychology have been recognized in numerous honors and awards he has receivced. He was elected to the presidencies of the American Psychological Association (1974) and of the Western Psychological Association (1981), and he was appointed Honorary president of the Canadian Psychological Association. In 1999, Bandura received the Thorndike Award for Distinguished Contributions of Psychology to education from the American Psychological Association. In 2001, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Behavior Therapy. He has received many other honorary degrees and awards, includung the Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association in 2004.

Timeline of Events:

Albert Bandura was born December 4, 1925.
1949 - Graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Psychology.
!952 - Received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Iowa.
1953 - Began teaching at Stanford University.
1974 - Served as President of the APA.
1980 - Recieved the APA's Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions.
2004 - Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology from the APA.



Albert Bandura"s Social learning theory (Theory that emphazies learning through observation of others) expanded behavioral views of reinforcement and punishment. In behavioral views, reinforcement and punishment directly affect behavior. In social learning theory, seeing another person, a model, reinforced or punished can have similar effects on the observer's behavior. Social cognitive theory expands social learning theory to include cognitive factors such as beliefs, expectations, and perceptions of self.

Learning by observing others is a key element of social cognitive theory. Modeling (Changes in behavior, thinking, or emotions that happen through observing another person) is influenced by the developmental characteristics of the observer, the status and prestige of the model, the consequence of the model's actions as seen by the observer, the observer's expectations about performing the obseved behaviors, the links that the observers perceive between their goals and the models' behaviors, and the observer's self-efficacy (A person's sense of of being able to deal effectively with a particular task). Results from his work on modeling, led Bandura to conduct research on social modeling involving the now famous Bobo doll experiment in the early 1960's. The children in these studies were exposed to social models who demonstrated either violent or nonviolent behaviors towrd these dolls. Children who viewed violent models subsequently displayed violent forms of agression toward the Bobo dolls whereas control children rarely, if ever, did so. These results revealed the occurrence of observational learning in the absence of reinforcenent to the observers. Bandura demonstrated that could learn new patterns of behavior vicariously without actually performing them or receiving rewards.

By the mid-1980's, Bandura had developed a social cognitive theory of human functioning (This theory accords a central role to cognitive, vicarious, self-regulatory and self-reflective processes in human adaptation and change). In this view, people are not just reactive organisms shaped by environmental factors or driven by concealed inner impulses. Human functioning is the product of a dynamic interplay of personal, behavioral, and environmental influences. In Bandura's model of triarchic reciprocal causality, people are producers as well as products of their environmment. This system is the dynamic interplay between three kinds of influences: personal, environmental, and behavioral. Personal factors (beliefs, expectations, atitudes, and knowledge), the physical and social environment (resources, consequences of actions, other people, models and teachers, and physical settings), and behavior (individual actions, choices, and verbal statements) all influence and are influenced by each other.



Social cognitive theory has some powerful implications for teaching. Observational learning can lead to five possible outcomes, including directing attention, encouraging existing behaviors, changing inhibitions, teaching new behaviors and attitudes, and arousing emontions. By directing attention, we gain insight into how others do things and what objects are involved in their actions. Encouraging or fine-tuning existing behaviors can lead to the development of good habits or make work more efficient. Observing others also has the capacity to cue us in to others' attention, which can cause us to become more or less self-conscious about our behavior: when others are doing something, it's easier for us to do the same. Everyone can gain insight into how something is done by observing someone else do it. Observing can lead to the association of emotions with certain activities. If others are observed enjoying an activity; the observer may learn to enjoy the activity as well.

In schools, educators are interested in students self-efficacy for learning mathematics, writing, history, science, sports, and other subjects, as well as for using learning strategies and for the many other challenenges that classrooms present. Greater efficacy, according to Bandura, leads to greater effort, persistence in the face of setbacks, higher goals, and finding new strategies when old ones fail. If sense of efficacy is low, however, people may avoid a task altogether or give up easily when problems arise.

One of the few personal characteristics of teachers, according to Bandura, related to student achievement is a teacher's efficacy belief that he or she can reach even difficult students to help them to learn. Teachers with a high sense of of efficacy work harder, persist longer, and are less likely to experience burnout. Teachers' sense of efficacy is higher in schools where the other teachers and administrators have high expectations for students and where teachers receive help from their principals in solving instructional and management problems. Efficacy grows from real success with students, so any experience or training that helps you succeed in the day-to-day tasks of teaching will give you a foundation for developing a sense of efficacy in your career.

One goal of teaching, notes Bandura, should be to free students from the need for teachers, so that students can continue to learn independently throughout their lives. To continue learning independently throughout life, you must be self-regulated or what is known as a self-starter. To reach this goal, students must have a combination of the knowledge, motivation to learn, and volition that provides the skill and will to learn independently and effectively. Knowledge includes an understanding of self, subject, task. learning strategy, and contexts for application. Motivation to learn provides the commitment, and volition is the follow-through that combats distraction and protects persistence.
SRL Cycle: Plan, Monitor, and Evaluate, with reflection going on throughout the cycle
SRL Cycle: Plan, Monitor, and Evaluate, with reflection going on throughout the cycle

There are several models of the self-regulated learning cycle. Zimmerman notes three phases: 1.) planning one's
learning. 2.) monitoring progress while implementing the plan, and 3.) evauating the outcome of the plan once it's completed.

Self-regulating learners engage in four types of activities, analyzing the task, setting goals and designing plans, engaging in learning, and adjusting their approach to learning. Teaching students to be more self-regulating might take the form of providing opportunities to identify and analyze the task at hand. Students also may benefit from goal-setting practice. Learning strategies such as identifying important details and developing a big picture of material is the next step in the process. Finally, students need to reflect on whether they were successful and devise strategies for overcomoing shortcomings in their self-regulation process.



Teachers can design tasks and structure classroom interactions to support students' development of and engagement in self-regulated learning. Bandura suggests that students develop acadenically effective forms of self-regulated learning and a sense of efficacy for learning when teachers involve them in complex meaningful tasks that extend over long periods of time. Also, to develop self-regulated learning and self-efficacy for learning, students need to have some control over their learning processes and products. And because self-monitoring and self-evaluation are key to effective SRL and a sense of efficacy, teachers can help students develop SRL, by involving them in setting criteria for evaluting their learning processes and products, and then giving them opportunities to make judgements about their progress using those standards. Finally, it helps to work collaboratively with peers and seek feedback from them.

Educators don't want to assign students complex tasks that are to difficult and that lead to frustration. The most motivating and academically beneficial tasks for students are those that challenge, but don't overwhelm them. The term complex refers to the design of the tasks, not their level of difficulty. From a design point of view , tasks are complex when they address multiple goals and involve large amounts of meaning, for example, projects and thematic units. Furthermore, complex tasks extended over long periods of time, engage students in a variety of cognitive and metacognitive processes, and allow for the production of a wide range of products. Even more important, complex tasks provide students with information about their learning progress. These tasks require them to engage in deep, elaborative thinking and problem solving. In the process, students develop and refine their cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Furthermore, succeeding at such tasks increases students' self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation.

Teachers can share control with students by giving them choices. When students have choices (e.g., about what to produce, how to produce it, where to work, whom to work with), they are more likely to anticipate a successful outcome ( increased self-efficacy) and consequently increase effort and persist when difficiculty arises. Also, by involving students in making decisions, teachers invite them to take responsibility for learning by planning, setting goals, monitoring progress, and evaluting outcomes.
Giving students choices creates opportunities for them to adjust the level of challenge that particular tasks present. They can choose easy or more challenging reading materials or determine the nature and amount of writing in a report, for example. It is important that teachers carefully consider the choices they give to students. They must make sure students have the knowledge and skills they need to operate independently and make good decisions. Highly effective teachers also teach and model good decision making. Finally, highly effective teachers give students feedback about the choices they make and tailor the choices they give to suit the unique characteristics of particular learners.

Evaluation practices that support SRL, are nonthreatening. They are embedded in ongoing activities, emphasize process as well as products, focus om personal progress, and help students to interpret errors as opportunities for learning to occur. In these contexts, students enjoy and actually seek challenging tasks because the cost of participation is low. Involving students in generating evaluation criteria and evaluating their own work also reduces the anxiety that often accompanies assessment by giving students a sense of control over the outcome. Students can judge their work in relation to a set of qualities both they and their teachers identify as good work. They can consider the effectiveness of their approaches to learning and alter their behavior in ways that enhance it. In high-SRL classrooms, there are both formal and informal opportunities for students to evaluate their learning. For example, a teacher could ask the students to submit reflections journals describing an activity they have done with a partner or small group of collaborators. Their journals could explain their contributions to the groups' process and product, and describe what they have learned from participating. The teacher could take these reflections into account when evaluating the student's progress. More informally, teachers could ask students "What have you learned about yourself as a writer today?" "What do good researchers and writers do? "What can we do that we couldn't do before?" Questions like these, posed to individuals or embedded in class discussions, prompt students' metacognition, motivation, and strategic action, which are the components of self-regulated learning.