Observational Learning


As a psychology teacher, every year I teach my students about Albert Bandura’s theories of observational learning. The concept is simple: people learn by watching others. Bandura’s studies dealt with children learning aggression by watching adults beat up on a Bobo Doll (one of those clown dolls that if you hit it, it bounces back from the 1960s). The theory makes total sense; but never have I really seen it in action more than since I have become a parent. Now that Ben is older, I can really see how much he learns. Sometimes I wonder, where did you see that? Here are some examples.


For Christmas, Santa brought Ben a kitchen set. We set it up in the kitchen so that he can “cook” as I cook. He loves this thing. To go with the set, my dad got Ben a set of vegetables and fruit that he can “cut”. It’s a Melissa & Doug wooden set that has Velcro connectors. I highly recommend it. Here’s a shot of Ben making some yummy food.

Ben making some burgers for breakfast. Obvi.

Ben making some burgers for breakfast. Obvi.

Chopping veggies for dinner.

Chopping veggies for dinner.


Every night we sit down for dinner as a family. Last week during dinner, I made some linguine. As we were eating, I looked over and Ben was trying to twirl the pasta around his fork. Husband and I looked at each other and said, “Where did he learn that?” We don’t eat spaghetti-type noodles that often, so that was surprising. Maybe they eat it at daycare? Unclear. Speaking of daycare, I have mentioned before that Ben’s daycare providers are Pakistani. As such, they give Ben Southeast Asian food. Ben loves him some Southeast Asian food and has been using pancakes as na’an. It was about the cutest thing to see Ben trying to pick up his blueberries with the wadded up pancake.

While not using pancake as na'an, this is a pretty clever use of tongs.

While not using pancake as na’an, this is a pretty clever use of tongs and an excellent display of humidity bed head.

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