As an educator in both an elementary and adult education setting, I have found that many of my own methodologies fall within the social learning theory context. It has been a long held belief that the students that came to me were not just there to learn content and materials. These students were people, no matter the age, that were multi-dimensional. They come to class with their own beliefs, values, problems, triumphs and disappointments, and frustrations.
Throughout many of the courses I have have taken, there has always been an underlying theme of interconnectedness. This was seen in the works of John Dewey, Vygotsky, and more recently Jean Lave. We do not live within boxes. Our lives are interconnected and we come to “school” (whatever form that may be) with many different contexts from life. As a tutor in a learning community, I saw many different contexts that students came to class with. All were first year college students but that does not mean they just graduated from high school. Some were adults who were just attending higher education schooling for the first time. Some of my students work full-time jobs, some are parents, some are taking care of elderly parents, and some are fresh out of high school and are looking toward transferring into a larger university. I found it imperative to know the background of my students so that I could relate to them and in turn relate the course work they are doing into the context of their own lives. If an adult student does not see the immediate use of what they are learning, they will be resistant and lose interest.
Learning is a relationship between many different aspects of one’s life. Learning can take place in any setting and is not a linear process. The foundation of learning is the building of strong relationships.