Vicarious Learning Amongst Children Within Term Paper

  • Length: 15 pages
  • Subject: Teaching
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #84514308

Excerpt from Term Paper :

(1996) that do not this particular element as a deciding factor in the procedures (e.g., Meltzoff, 1988).

Research Question will explore the dimension and effect of vicarious learning and its importance in today's world at a very early stage of a person's life: school life. Does vicarious behavior and observance or peer pressure/influence have an effect on the viewer or observer's behavior? Is this effect long-term or short-term, good or bad? How do the students adopting the behaviors and others around react to these changes?


In order to see the practical implications of vicarious learning in students, we will observe them in strict everyday curriculum and extra curricular activities that are interlinked with their school activities. Even though they will be observed in familiar surroundings, the influence or modeling will be coming from both familiar and unfamiliar people and fellow students whether in the same age group or not (Bandura, 1977).

All the three groups will be observed keeping in mind the changes that undergo a child's mind and mannerisms to react to behaviors and the changes will thereof be recorded and analyzed. All of the groups will be dealing with different forms of vicarious learning; some might be dealing with all, while others will deal with only a couple or less.

The three groups will be observed for a period of five weeks under different influences with changes being recorded in percentages i.e. percentage of increase in isolation, violence, mixing, grades, etc. After that, they will all be given user friendly and simple questionnaires to fill which will then be followed by a friendly and cordial interview regarding the students' personal views on the changes they might have underwent which will also be noted down. All the groups might show differences in their behavior that might be worth noting and all of them might correspond with their experience with situations where vicarious learning might be applicable.

Will the vicarious behavior and observance or peer pressure/influence have an effect on the viewer or observer's behavior? Will this effect be long-term or short-term, good or bad? How will the students adopting the behaviors and others around react to the changes? These questions will be raised and answers will be noted down during the five-week period of observation as well as after the questionnaires and interviews would have been conducted successfully.


There will be a total of 57 students observed in this research, 28 of whom will be females while 29 of them will be males, all students will be from the same schools in the same vicinity. The age groups, as mentioned before, will be three: a) 6-9, b) 10-12 and c) 13-16. Each group will have a growing number of even students: the first age group of 6-9 will include 18 students (M = 9, F = 9); the second age group of 10-12 will include 19 students (M = 10, F = 9); the last age group of 13-16 will include 20 students (M = 10, F= 10).


All the students will first be observed over a period of 5 weeks and changes in behavior along with influence will be noted down in percentages. During these five weeks, they will not only be brought face-to-face with their peers but will also be shown movies and cartoons which are expected to show certain changes in behavioral patterns in the first and second group particularly.

In the first phase, each of the students will first be observed individually and then in a group to see the difference in individual behavioral pattern that might be adopted through their own observation of the activities of other students and the group behavioral pattern that might be adopted. This will be done through a daily individual analysis of the student in a class setting, during breaks/lunch, etc., to see their level of correspondence with their contemporaries.

The second phase will involve a predetermined setup of environment where the students will be shown certain movies, cartoons and games as part of class activity and then the effect or influence of the subject matter on the child will be evaluated. These movies, cartoons and games will be made part of the class activity and one day in a week will be chosen for there premiere. Most of the movies, cartoons and games that will be utilized will be those that have a direct message for the youth and will either promote certain acceptable behaviors or prohibit those that are not acceptable.

All of the students will then be given already prepared questionnaires, of different levels and complexities for each group, followed by candid and honest interviews. The complied questionnaires will be distributed to a sample of 57 students between the ages 6-16. Questionnaires will be designed for self-completion and will be returned in pre-paid envelopes to me.

Questionnaires are advantageous in removing the influence of the researcher on the respondents as there is no face-to-face contact, however they also do not give any opportunity to check the honesty of the responses, and respondents may give answers that they feel the researcher is looking for. The use of standardized questions as a questionnaire, improves the reliability of research whereas interviews are more open to researcher bias in probing for specific responses (Denscombe, 1998).

In the third phase, I felt that the method of conducting interviews would be easy and convenient for the chosen subjects. Face-to-face interviews encourage openness and honesty on the part of the respondents, if conducted in private with an assurance of confidentiality; therefore semi-structured interview conducted in the vicinity of the school is the method chosen for my study. It will help me in understanding the experiences, attitudes, perceptions and responses of the subjects and in considering the different themes and patterns that emerge.

Interviews can take a variety of forms as they can be a list of structured closed questions, or be based on a schedule. In this research study, I carry out a semi-structured interview; I use a list of pre-prepared questions, which allows freedom to follow through on anything that the respondents raise. The advantage on using a schedule is that the interviewer is able to probe into areas of feelings and motives, and coax information needed from the interviewee. The disadvantage is that the interviewer may influence replies of the respondent in some way, and tend to be more time consuming (Denscombe, 1998).

In effect, I will avoid forcing the proceedings of people's daily lives into a defined theory of cause. As an alternative, I seek to form an opinion on the meanings of events in relation to the question: What had been the experiencing person's thoughts and actions that developed during -- or as an outcome of -- "those the vicarious learning procedure (Denscombe, 1998)?

The aim of both the mediums used will be to highlight the changes in behavior to the participants and make them recognize it, as well as, voice their opinions as to why those changes might have occurred and then match their responses with the notifications that had been made earlier through observations. The speed with which the students responded and their openness to respond to the questions will also be taken into account when the final account is made (Denscombe, 1998).

It will be the most important factor that the interviewer keeps an unbiased view and is friendly without probing the students for certain kind of responses, however there will be certain questions that will be structured for particular kind of and expected responses. The questionnaires that will be filled out by the students might not reveal any difference of opinions in the interviews, most students might keep true to what they answer in the questionnaires but some might be able and chose to elaborate more on how and why they adopted certain habits and not all and to what extent (Denscombe, 1998).


Before the study will be conducted, efforts will have to be made to assure that the three groups will be different in one key aspect, which might also serve as a deciding factor in their eventual responses: experience in and around a vicarious learning-friendly environment. In the first phase (Phase a), the first group will be given far less time (in terms of hours in school) with the opportunity to vicariously learn habits and behaviors. Even though their learning time might increase in Phases B. And C, it might nevertheless, in total, be half of the other two groups.

In the first phase, the students will be observed throughout the five weeks individually and then in a group to see the difference in individual behavioral pattern that might be adopted and the group behavioral pattern that might be adopted. This will be done through a…

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