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Theories & Approaches

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Challenges and Considerations in Applying the Social Learning Theory Approach

Challenges include:

  • Educators may resist changing their teaching style, particularly if they are more comfortable lecturing to youth.

  • Training and maintaining skilled educators who:

    • believe in the efficacy of what they are teaching;

    • can model desired behaviors;

    • are skilled at leading role plays and other forms of behavioral practice;

    • can keep students on task and cover all required content in a session.

  • The need, in some cases, to make environmental changes in the school, such as:

    • maintaining a low student to educator ratio to accommodate effective student skills practice and classroom management;

    • obtaining school and parental permission for potentially controversial skill-building sessions (e.g., condom practice) and community activities;

    • finding more classroom space to allow for student role play and participation in small group activities.

Other special considerations include the following:

  • Scheduling is often a consideration for programs incorporating SLT. Educators may need to schedule multiple education sessions for SLT-based programs since learning and practicing new behavioral skills requires more time than less engaging, didactic approaches.
  • Grant support for programs based on SLT may be easier to elicit from funding agencies. Funders prefer to support programs that are carefully crafted and grounded in well-researched learning theories, such as SLT.

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