Unformatted text preview: s them for their hard work.
His students learn that if they want praise in the future, they need to try
Symbolic representation provides an important foundation for one of the
important assumptions that social cognitive theorists make about learning.
Bandura and the social cognitivists distinguish between learning and performance.
As we noted earlier, learning is the acquisition of mental models that guide
behavior. Performance, on the other hand, is what we actually do in a given
situation (Mischel & Mischel, 1994). One important implication of the distinction
between learning and performance is that we can acquire mental models without
actually having to engage in overt behaviors. For example, we may learn how to
divide fractions by watching someone demonstrate how to divide fractions. A 6 second important implication of the distinction between learning and performance
is that students’ performances may not reveal what they have learned. People may
self-censure their behavior if it violates moral principles or if the behavior is
socially unacceptable (Bahn, 2001). For example, it’s not always socially
desirable to be the student who answers teachers’ questions. Peers may call these
students “brown-nosers” or “school boys/girls” or “teachers’ pets.” Given these
potential aversive consequences, some students may not show what they know.
In general, therefore, performance can be an imperfect indicator of
learning. When students do not do something, you need to be cautious in
assuming that they cannot do something. There can be many personal and social
reasons why people do not show what they know.
The capability to learn vicariously. Bandura (1977) acknowledges that
people can and often do learn through their own experiences, and he refers to this
type of learning as enactive learning. However, Bandura also believes that
acquiring complicated cognitive and social understandings through direct
experience would be highly inefficient. As an alternative, Bandura proposes
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