The Theory of Social Education

We can see how, from the beginning of life, the neonate is attracted to another human’s moving face. At 3 weeks-of-age, the baby monitors his mouth movements according to a model (see photo below).


Mouth movements

Beginning at this moment, the child learns many behaviours (both good and bad), by imitating his/her parents or other children. Adults sometimes don’t even know when or how a particular behaviour was acquired. We say the child must have learned it by watching another person.

In the following video clip, you can observe a clear example of social learning. My twin grandsons (2.3 years old at the time of the taping) imitate each other when they are building a tower of cans. Immediately prior to this clip, one of the twins knocked over the tower with a ball before his brother could finish building it. The brother said, “Don’t knock over the tower before I am finished.” I reinforced this by saying, “Wait until your brother is finished.” These social behaviours are learned during play, conversations and imitation.

- Click on picture to play video clip -

Clearly, a child with deafblindness misses out on many of these educational events, taking place in millions of families all over the world, every day and every hour, often naturally and unintentionally. Sometimes, when a deafblind child fails to learn social behaviour in a spontaneous way, education must become more explicit (e.g. teaching, step by step, how to play with another child). The technique of modelling is quite suitable for teaching appropriate social behaviours.

The CD "From Russia with Love for Children with Sensory impairment", includes an interactive course about how to teach deafblind children pro-social behaviours.

From Russia with Love for Children with Sensory impairment

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