Bandura believed that for any learning to take place, it has to have some significance for the individual. The person trying to copy a particular act must feel that such behaviour is useful and there will be rewards in doing so. Only then does the child gets motivated and starts seeing the importance of his/her actions.
If the parent is exercising a particular behaviour in order for the child to emulate it, he/she must do it in the form of caring. A child must know that whatever their model does, it is for their better interests.
The acted behaviour of the parent should be the same as what their model is doing. The learner must be capable of reproducing the observed behaviour. Duck (1990) suggested that the same sexed models are more influential and same sexed were more likely to be imitated.
The behaviour should be attainable and not uncommon to the learner (Duck 1990). Only if the behaviour observed is possible in the child’s frame of influence, does any learning take place.
The components for learning
Bandura (1977) identified four stages for any learning to take place.
- Availability: the behaviour to be observed must be available either directly in the environment or through books, newspapers magazines or television.
- Attention: learners must pay attention to the model and understand the main features of the behaviour.
- Memory: only when the observation is labelled, it can be memorialised easily.
- Motor reproduction process: only if the behaviour can be observed, it is possible for the child to repeat it.
Turner (1995) noted that a young child learns behaviour through reinforcement and punishment. Sex appropriate behaviour is reinforced through reward and the ones which are unacceptable are punished. Such practice and training in gender appropriate behaviour will improve performance. For example, children are encouraged to greet visitors, every body at home and are punished if they do not react accordingly. Reinforcement of both negative and positive behaviour is meant to strengthen a desirable behaviour and increases the likelihood of such behaviour to happen again.