passive learning

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Learning which does not require any activity or active engagement on the part of the learner, other than perhaps taking notes. The learner is not provided with an opportunity to contribute to the lesson in any way, but simply required to take in information from the teacher. Mr Gradgrind, in Dickens's Hard Times (1854), refers to his pupils as ‘pitchers’ whom he will fill up with knowledge. This is a useful metaphor for passive learning as it highlights the issue which this style of teaching inevitably raises, of who has control over what constitutes relevant knowledge. Where learning is passive, the teacher's input is likely to be treated uncritically as ‘fact’, thus discouraging analysis and other higher‐order types of learning. See also Bloom's Taxonomy; Freire.

Subjects: Education.

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