Learning Starts at Home

We all have seen those kids that go to school to learn. These are the kids who have no discipline and are not learning a thing at home. These kids learn right only by way of school. These are the kids who are not being taught what they ought to know before they go to school. Then, there are the kids that go to school to practice what they have already learned. School is looked at in both a social aspect and academic aspect from pre-k through adolescence. Albert Bandura has pointed out that children act by mimicking what they have learned. He called this process observational learning (PSU, 2016). The process involves attention, retention, motor reproduction and motivation (2016). Just like in the Bobo Doll experiment, if a child goes to school that has only seen and retained violence, disrespect, arrogance, ignorance, helplessness and/or laziness at home, this is what the child will be like both socially and academically. This particular child through observational learning will reproduce these traits, thus only being able to go so far in a school atmosphere. These would be the ‘problem’ kids at school. The other kids are the ones, who through observational learning, outside of school have learned what they ought to know; respect, peace, helpfulness and motivation to do well both socially and academically.

Looking at the Bobo Doll experiment, one can relate this to teaching children in schools. If children are given role models to follow, namely counselors, teachers and older peers a child will learn what they ought to know through observational learning. It is not enough to tell a child how they ought to be or ought to act but also show them so that they will model the same behavior.

In my children’s school, they have many different programs and activities they utilize to help children learn through observational learning. One such program is they have older children come in and do assignments such as reading, handwriting, math and even art with younger children. This gives the kids someone to look up to. They have “Got Manners” awards, where kids are voted for based on their manners. They learn these manners by having lunches with older peers and adults to practice etiquette and such.

Observational learning should be a bigger part of school and home. Children see and hear everything and mimic what they see and hear. Teach children right.


PSU. 2016. Lesson 10 commentary.


  1. Kristina Cafney Paradise

    Yes. I think the same. Children are a product of their environment. 1+1 always equals 2. There is no question. Just as there is no question if a child is taught violence and disrespect, they will follow suit. If a child is taught nurturing, care, love and respect, they will be that type of person. I too do not have much confidence in the public school system, I thought about homeschooling as well but decided against it. I can say, my 7 year old had always been respectful and a great child. When she started at this school last April, she did a complete turn around. Talking back and being disrespectful were just two of the bad habits she picked up. I didn’t realize how bad things were at her school until I was there and saw it for myself. I feel quite bad for the teachers. They are really trying, but for some reason the parents just don’t want to teach at home how to be a human. One of the truest statements I have seen is that you raise your child for the world, not for yourself.

  2. Stacey Pao Ling Hadwen

    Whenever I thing about Bandura’s theory of observational learning, I always think of the saying that children are like a blank canvas and it becomes whatever we put on there. As I look at the children around me, it always amazes me how much they mimic what they see and how quickly they pick up from observation. I recently had a conversation about this with a friend of mine whose child has just turned 3. Her and her husband have discussed the possibility of home schooling and one of the reasons was related to observational learning. They didn’t have much confidence in the current public school environment to provide their child a violence free, respectful and helpful environment. However on the other hand, they understand the importance of observational learning through peer contact and the impact it would have on their child both socially and academically. It is going to be a tough decision for them but as a parent we can only make sure on what we can control and we can’t always control everything.

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