Unformatted text preview: so suggested that they provide a poor explanation for how new
and complicated behaviors are learned. For example, it would be very difficult to 11 learn to speak if we could only produce words that we had been reinforced for
using (Bandura, 1977).
Second, Bandura differed with the behaviorists in terms of an explanation
for how consequences operate. He rejected the radical behavioral idea that
consequences affect behavior “automatically without conscious involvement”
(Bandura, 1977, p. 19). According to Bandura, consequences affect behaviors
because they create expectations for the future. Because of our ability to represent
experiences symbolically, we can develop the expectation that the same behavior
will produce similar outcomes in the future (Bandura, 1986). Consequences,
therefore, provide information that learners can use to guide and self-regulate
their future behavior. For example, a young child may have learned that if he
whines about taking a bath, he will get in trouble. He uses this information to
determine what he will do at bath time in the future.
Third, Bandura broadened the view of how consequences can be
experienced by learners. He agreed that people’s behavior could be influenced by
direct experience with environmental consequences. He also suggested, however,
that consequences can be experienced vicariously, and they can be selfadministered. Vicarious consequences refer to changes in learners’ behaviors
that result from observing the reinforcement or punishment that a model receives
for the modeled behaviors. For example, a junior high school student observes
that a peer receives a lot of attention for dressing a certain way. The student 12 decides to dress that same way. In another situation, a young child sees a brother
get in trouble for behaving a certain way, and decides not to behave that way.
Vicarious consequences are observed and interpreted rather than being
experienced directly by the learner. Here are some ideas for using vicarious
reinforcement in your classroom.
• Develop ways of publicly recognizing good student efforts as both
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