Social Learning Theory (Albert Bandura)

Definition: Social learning theory focuses on the learning that occurs within a social context. It considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as observational learning, imitation, and modeling. Apply: When working within communities the organizers can learn how to work with community members by viewing how they interact together. Watching how the community members interact with each other can be a good educational tool for organizers. You can learn how the different citizens act and feel about a certain aspect or the community on a whole by observing their actions. Community organizers will then be able to develop concepts and methods to effectively work with everyone involved as a result of observing the people they will work with. Adapt: This theory can be used when working with youth. Children in school develop their thoughts and ideas from observing other students. Most students will act or dress a certain way when they see other students acting or dressing that certain way. Teachers should work with students to teach them to think on their own and encourage independent thinking. The teachers should also present positive role models for the students to take after since they develop their thoughts from observing the actions of others.

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  1. Apply: A non-profit organization I used to work for focused on policies that affected communities of color. The most rewarding thing of working for this organization was the social learning that took place within the office. It was a very diverse staff from different backgrounds that enriched the social learning environment. While we were not all from the same communities or ethnicity background we found that as community of colors we shared many of the same struggles and by working together we had more power to create change. By sharing our stories and knowledge we were able to create a strong coalition that continues to concentrate on issues of multiculturalism.
    Adapt: This theory comes to use when organizing for a social justice cause to brainstorm ideas as to what action steps need to take place to receive the outcome wanted. It can also be used with risk at youth in order to assist them take right decisions.