Albert Bandura first proposed observational learning theory in 1986 as the basic form of learning whereby learning occurs through imitation or observation of the behavior of others. Observational learning has been stressed by other scholars on its importance because the society especially the young generation gets to learn and acquire new responses by observing the behavior of others. Unlike the traditional learning theories, observational learning does not require reinforcement or punishment to ensure learning takes place. Instead, the learner requires a social model, who can be a teacher, a parent or someone in authority engaging in a manner that the learner desires to behave. The social model is important in the learning process as he or she facilitates the cognitive process behavior whereby the learner encodes what is observed and stores it in memory for later imitation (Weiten, 2011). Our environment today needs conservation and protection following the challenges of climate change, degradation of natural resources and desertification. This proposal argues that if the society engages in environmental conservation measures such as tree planting and waste management, we would be able to have a generation that is environmentally cautious following observational learning. This paper focuses on observational learning as means to curb the environmental challenge of deforestation, leading to the development of the research question: Is tree planting by a model (teacher or parent), a basic requirement in social/environmental studies of pupils getting basic education, so as to make them environmentally cautious? The wellbeing of our environment concerns each and every one of us in the society. During basic education, our teachers and parents act as role models and if they are dedicated to the activities of tree planting and shunning deforestation, our pupils will adopt the same behavior in the long run leading to environmental sustainability.
This study reveals that both male and females who are environmentally conscious in addition to having learnt about environmental conservation and protection in class, they have/ had a model (teacher, parent or other individual’s in the society) who advocates/d for the same. This research answered the above asked question by examining the theoretical and pragmatic causalities between the two variables: tree planting and being environmentally cautious (awareness). Trees have been long associated with the environment and by planting more trees and discouraging deforestation it has been established that the society is engaging in environmental conservation. However, this proposal argues that tree planting can be instrumental in two ways: by being done by a role model and by the pupils taking their own initiative to do so after learning theoretically both leading to the much desired social change of having and environmentally cautious society that values natural resources leading to environmental sustainability. The population to be studied is of 300 students in different institutions of higher learning implying the type of statistical analysis to run would be SPSS. This follows categorical data that would be obtained from the identified variables. A p-value would be required for stating any statistical association between the two variables while frequency tables have to be prepared for socio-demographic and other variables that will also be collected. This implies that quantitative data will be presented as deviations and means. On the other hand, qualitative data will be presented in percentages and frequencies (Howell, 2013). Predictive analysis and association between the variables can then be obtained based on multiple regression models.
Howell, D. C. (2013). Statistical methods for psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Weiten, W. (2011). Psychology: Themes and variations. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.