Observational and Motor Learning


Observational learning is a social learning that occurs through observing the behaviour of others .

In childhood, this learning requires a person of higher status who can serve as a model such as a teacher, a parent, sibling or a friend to instil knowledge to the children. Through observational learning, children can imitate simple facial expressions, construct symbolic representation, describe the model’s behaviour and remember information as well. In addition, children watch other people’s action and use the information gained to discover the way something works and how to do it by themselves. Therefore, through observation a child is able to learn as well as discover new ideas.

Motor learning is a change that results from practice or experience and involves improving the accuracy of movement such as speaking, climbing trees and playing games among the children. Motor learning is relatively permanent process that influence behaviour during practice or experience. It involves internal processes that relates to practice and experience of an activity leading to relatively permanent changes in the capabilities for skilled behaviour.

Child development milestones involve the patterns of growth and development for which normal child developments are considered to be based. These developments are as a result of variation in culture, family, cognitive, educational and environmental factors. It is the recognized pattern of development that children are expected to follow. It considers a holistic development of a child as a whole person that cut across different physical, emotional, moral, intellectual and cultural aspects of life (Skiba, & Raison, 1990).

Fine motor skills milestones is typically the coordination of small muscle especially in children and usually involves the movement of hands, fingers, wrist, feet and toes. In addition, it is involved in smaller actions such as writing, blinking and picking up objects between thumb and first finger. This is a very important process since it develops gradually through each developmental stage of a child’s life and throughout our lifetime as well. This stage is first manifested during the child’s development stages that is infancy, toddler-hood, preschool and school age. These skills keep on developing with age, exercise and persistence use of muscles while writing and playing the sport.

At different stages of child development, there are typical fine motor development milestones that manifest themselves. You will watch the movement of children hands and bring their hand to their mouth, will follow a person’s movement with their eyes, will start to transfer objects from one hand to another and reach out for toys using both hands. The child will point objects using their index finger, start turning pages of a book as well as clapping hands together. These developmental milestones are very important stages of children’s overall development and growth as well. It is always crucial that the guardian, parents or even physician to monitor or rather keep track on these developmental changes in their children.

This will enable them to identify signs of abnormality in children and can take necessary steps to ensure the child acquires appropriate special attention depending on special need for that particular child. For normal children they receive general education while for special needs children receive special education class or courses (Shores, Gunter, Denny,& Jack,1993) Child’s fine motor skills can be developed by giving the child an opportunity to practice skills that require control of small muscles as well as increase their muscles strength and coordination. These activities include eating, writing using a pencil and playing a musical instrument. It is crucial to help your child build motor skills at home by giving him or her the opportunity to do activities such as opening and closing containers with lids, pouring milk into a cup and wiping the table with a sponge if the child pours the milk.

The most practical and vital is to play with clay, roll it into different shapes and sizes. These activities will significantly improve child motor development as well as holistic development (Shores et.al, 1993). Motor tasks can be accomplished via observational learning where the child learns from his or her models, who can be a teacher, parent, sibling or a friend to do a certain activity by observing or imitating what the models are doing. The parents or teachers can practically demonstrate an activity as a method of teaching the children on how to do a particular activity. Alternatively, the child learns many motor skills by aping what they see the adults do either at home, school or in social gatherings (Shores et.al, 1993).

In cases where a child of age three to four years is developmentally delayed in fine motor skills development, multiple learning strategies can be one of the best remedies. For instance, if a child has a difficulty in holding a pencil for an extended period of time, an alternative strategy like drawing pictures or writing short sentences helps him or her build confidence in their writing ability. If he or she succeeds in small task will get motivated and hence improve in writing skills. Child’s fine motor skills development can be aided by different activities that increase muscle strength and coordination. Some of these activities include having the child dress by himself or herself the button, zip and fasten, build with small blocks, play with puppets and put together puzzles.

These activities will enhance the child to do great and perfect things given opportunity to practice. As such it will improve the child’s skills as well as his fine motor activities. The behavioural disorder is a category of mental disorders characterized by persistent behaviours that are uncommon among children of the same age such as disrupt others and their activities and inappropriate behaviours as well. In most cases these behaviours are hostile, aggressive and irritating than expected to be given children of the same level of development (Shores et.al, 1993).

Children with the behavioural disorder if included into the regular classroom will develop a positive understanding of themselves and other since they will learn their similarities and differences, appreciate diversity hence respect and understanding of differing abilities and culture will play out. This is enhanced by observational learning of the behaviours of others in the classroom. Observational learning in classrooms with children suffering from behavioural disorders will enhance more learning with good expectation since children learn at their own pace and style within a nurturing learning environment. In addition, children will develop friendship and learn social skills from each other in inclusive classrooms (Skiba, & Raison, 1990).

On the other hand, the inclusion of children with behavioural disorders in the same classrooms with other developing children has disadvantages such as the children with special needs are hardly going to receive special attention from the teachers. Again many regular classroom teachers have little or no training in special education teaching and assessment methods hence may not deliver effectively on special needs children (Skiba, & Raison, 1990). I do not support the move towards inclusion. I feel the idea for segregation is the best since children with special needs have their needs addressed effectively and the teachers who teach those children are trained specifically to deal with special need students hence they are competent enough to deliver the best quality in terms of content.


Shores, R. E., Gunter, P. L., Denny, R. K., &Jack, S. L. (1993). Classroom influences on aggressive and disruptive behaviours of students with emotional and behaviour disorders. Focus on Exceptional Children, 26, 1-10.

Skiba, R. & Raison, J. (1990). The relationship between the use of timeout and academic achievement. Exceptional Children, 57, 36-46.