“Albert Bandura’s social learning theory suggests that observation and modeling play is a primary role in how and why people learn. Bandura’s theory goes beyond the perception of learning being the result of direct experience with the environment. Learning, according to Bandura, can occur simply by observing others’ behavior” (UC Berkeley.edu).
Years ago, while training for Canine Training Certification, I witnessed the best example of modeling behavior. It was a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to southern Louisiana. I was training at a large kennel facility outside of Austin. There was an entire kennel run with dogs that had been abandoned and separated from their families during the storm. The run contained 12 separate runs housing one dog each. The dogs were distraught and barked constantly. Several of us were tasked 2 find a way to stop the dogs from barking or at least reduce the barking. Every time we walked down the aisle between the kennel runs, the dogs became more and more disturbed. Barking and jumping at the fence or cowering in a corner. After Trying several approaches, someone decided to try modeling behavior. Using treats as the motivator, we continuously walked up the aisle, giving a treat to a dog that was quiet. We went one at a time one right after the other. We said nothing to the dogs as we passed. The first person found one or two dogs that were quiet. The second person found a few more. By the third person half the kennel was quiet. By the time the fifth person went through the kennel run it was completely quiet. No barking. The dogs had observed the behavior that was getting rewarded and learned being quiet was rewarded with a treat.
While the example used included canines, modeling behavior is as true for humans. This understanding leads to questions. Such as what kind of behavior are we modeling for others? Or What behaviors are we observing and learning from the modeling of others?
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