AC4P with Dr. Scott Geller 007 | Learn by Watching

What is one way that we learn new behaviors? We watch people who are good at them. What happens when the behaviors we are learning aren't good behaviors? Join Dr. Scott Geller as he talks about how to learn by watching, the good and the bad of observational learning, and how observational learning plays into current worldly issues.


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Dr. Scott Geller (00:23):
If you want to be better at what you do, watch someone who performs that task better than you. What am I talking about? Observational learning. We learn by watching others. How much have you learned by watching what other people do and when other people get rewarded for their behavior, you even more likely to do it. Think about that. When I joined the university way back in 1969, I was to teach, but I didn't know how to teach. I mean, I had a Ph.D., but just having a doctor of philosophy doesn't mean you can teach. So what did I do? I got in my phone book and I found those professors who's got teaching awards and I called them up on the phone and asked if I could sit in the back of their class and watch them. I can still remember like it was yesterday.

Dr. Scott Geller (01:23):
One professor saying, Dr. Geller. I'm a biologist, you're a psychologist. Why would you want to watch my class? And I say, sir, I want to watch how you do it because you won teaching awards. It's not about the content. It's how you teach. So the lesson is let's recognize how much we learn by watching others. And sometimes we have to realize that we might be setting the bad example that other people are following. I got a poem here. I got to read this brief poem by forest H Capac trick, check this out the eyes, a better teacher, and more willing than the ear find counsel is confusing. But examples always clear. And the best of all the preachers are the ones who live their creeds for this. See the good in action is what everybody needs. I can soon learn how to do it.

Dr. Scott Geller (02:28):
If you let me see it done, I could watch your hands and action. But your tongue too fast may run. And the lectures you deliver would be very wise and true, but I'd rather get my lesson by watching what you do for, I may not understand you. And the high advice you give, there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live. How powerful is that folks realizing that we can learn a lot by watching others and what we learn might be good or might not be so good. So we have to be careful in analyzing, interpreting what we're watching, but let me say it again. If you want to be better at what you do, watch somebody else who performs better than you. Secondly, let's realize that people watch us. You know, these COVID 19 days, we should be wearing a mask to protect others. By the way, they're not personal protective equipment, they're public protective equipment, but there's nobody else around. Why should I wear a mask where there might be somebody around? So we're wearing the COVID-19 mask to set the right example. How does something become a social norm? How does a behavior become something we expect people to do? By setting the right example ourselves. So bottom line observational learning teaches us and observational learning, supports what we do so that other people might do the rest.

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