Bandura was a psychologist which believed that behaviour is learnt from the environment by observational learning and is widely known for his 1961 Bobo doll experiment. McLeod, S (2016). Bandura proved that children learn their behaviour from their environment by imitating behaviour of those around them, this is shown through the Bobo doll experiment in which a group of children aged between 3 and 6, were divided and some children went to a room and witnessed an adult model being aggressive towards a doll and the other children went to a room where the adult model was friendly with the doll. Then, individual children were placed in the room by themselves with this same doll and was watched behind one sided glass, the outcomes showed that children did copy the behaviour of the model they observed, children who watched the aggressive model also became aggressive, punching and hitting the doll – like they had witnessed. On the other hand, those children which witnessed the model being kind to the doll copied this behaviour and was not aggressive at all.
Bandura found that children are more likely to imitate their own gender and also that they observe the consequences and reactions of others behaviour and are more likely to imitate it if who they are observing is rewarded for their behaviour as they then expect the same and will continue this behaviour if they receive rewards, but will become discouraged if that person is punished and chose not to copy them. Before Bandura’s findings, psychologists thought that other people’s behaviour didn’t influence us as much as the Bobo doll experiment shows. In conclusion, he found that children learn social behaviour such as aggression through the process of observation, this showed how the media can affect children. McLeod (2016).
Bandura, had proven that children model each other, therefore, in some early year’s settings, well behaved children and poorly behaved children may be paired together or encouraged to be friends as the poorly behaved child’s behaviour may improve when they realise good behaviour earns rewards instead of punishments and, seeking the adult’s approval, will act differently. Also, these findings showed that it is especially important that practitioners are good role models which speak to the children politely and with respect because children will copy this behaviour.
Also, Bandura gave the impression that it is possible that some violent or aggressive children are not just misbehaving but merely imitating the actions of someone around them, which could be a sign they may be in danger at home to abuse etc. so for safeguarding reasons, it is important early year’s practitioners be wary of why some children act the way they do.