Learning is a continuous process in human development with each development stage being characterized by different learning aspects. In the early childhood stages, the learning approach used is very important since it influences other stages such as the adulthood learning stage. Childhood development serves as a foundation to human growth; a number of factors, which include the social background the child, grow in, and the environment affect childhood learning. Children are most likely to learn from the people around them and are likely to imitate what they do and how they talk. Children learn the language they hear and their behavior, in many cases they learn from what they see and hear. Learning is not only carried out in a classroom environment, and before the child joins school, there is a level of learning that one has to go through. School cannot offer all the learning needed for the growth of a child, this can be well understood through analyzing the theories of learning. The family that a child is born in is identified as the first learning institution that a child is exposed to. Once a child starts going to school him/her gets to learn things at an advanced level different from the home set up, there are children who face challenges once they join school since they did not have a strong learning background in the home or family setup. An understanding of the learning theories gives parents, guardians and teachers an understanding of children behavior and how it relates with their learning.
In my childhood days my learning was mainly based on what I saw and heard from the people, I used to imitate what other people said or did.The first language I learn was the language that I heard from my parents, visual learning was based on the objects that I saw around the house. My father always rewarded my elder siblings when they emerged top in class while my mother was always full of praises. As the youngest child who had not yet joined school, I was envious of my elder siblings who were always being rewarded for their hard work. Once they emerged top in their class, they were sure that they would get their promised reward. This was a learning experience that taught me on the important of hard work; my elder siblings got a reward because they worked hard in their academics and household duties such as cleaning the house. While other children in the neighborhood were busy playing video games, the case at home was different. One could not spend the whole day playing video game or watching cartoon since there were household duties that needed to be done. After joining school, I always worked hard to emerge the top in my class to get a reward from my parents. While other kids spent the afternoon after school, playing video games, I would look for puzzles and crosswords, my father used to fill the crossword during his leisure time, and I picked some of his old collection. Even today, I always fill in crosswords during my leisure time, a lesson that I learnt from my father. My parents never failed to fulfill their promises, and I leant the virtue of honesty from them since they always kept their promise.
In my neighborhood, there were football tournaments every weekend, and I admired how the players handled the ball. There were the junior and senior teams, and I always accompanied my siblings in the junior team. I loved how the young boys dribbled the ball and once I was seven years I was allowed to join the junior team. I always imitated how I saw players on TV dribble the ball and with time; I was among the top players. Nobody took me to the football pitch to teach me how to dribble the ball; I always observed how football stars did it on TV and how the senior players were playing. After other players left the pitch, I remained behind and tried some of the dribbling techniques I had seen. In class, my teachers used to encourage me to join school team after they noted that I had a talent in football. I am still a huge football fan something that was influenced by my childhood lessons.
As a young boy, I was always shy to associate with other girls since I had heard my elder brother say that many people in the neighborhood were playing dirty and dangerous games with the girls. I did not understand what kind of games he was talking about, and this made me fear them and avoid any interaction with the girls. After joining school, I did not have any girlfriend unlike my friends who interacted freely with them. One day during physical education lesson, we were supposed to play the tag of wart and were divided into groups. Each group had to have an equal number of boys and girls, and we had to work as a team, my teacher noticed that I was reluctant to join the game and after I explained to her, what I had heard from my brother she explained to me that it was not true. The explanation from the teacher and the teamwork activities made me change the perspective that I had for girls.
The three examples illustrate the learning experiences that I went through in my childhood. These experiences can be explained through the social learning theory which explains how children and adolescents mainly learn through observation and modeling and is mainly influenced by the environment that a child grows i.e. grew up in an environment where hard work was rewarded, and this made me learn a valuable lesson that hard work pays. After observing the excitement that my elder siblings had after receiving their promised reward, I made up my mind that I would ensure that I always worked hard to be rewarded. Social learning theory is also guided by the self-regulation and the ability to define what is beneficial or not. Many of the kids in the neighborhood loved playing video games which my father always argued that they encouraged violent behavior, instead of playing video games after school I preferred filling in crosswords that were more beneficial.I grew up in a neighborhood where football was the number one game, I loved watching international footballers and always imitated how they dribbled the ball, the social learning theory identifies imitation as one key factor in learning. All the learning examples had a role in my social, emotional and mental development. The environment that I grew up in was the major contributing factor towards my childhood learning.
Bandura, A. (2002). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.