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Passive or Active Learning? Marion Brady and Howard Brady Note: Frame animation is complete when the blue arrow appears. Left-click the mouse (point anywhere)

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Presentation on theme: "Passive or Active Learning? Marion Brady and Howard Brady Note: Frame animation is complete when the blue arrow appears. Left-click the mouse (point anywhere)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Passive or Active Learning? Marion Brady and Howard Brady Note: Frame animation is complete when the blue arrow appears. Left-click the mouse (point anywhere) to advance to the next frame.

2 2 Heres a way to teach photography: 1.Give learners a book about photography. 2.Have them read a chapter. 3.In class, review the chapter. 4.Test to find out who remembers how much.

3 3 5.Move on to the next chapter and repeat the process. 6.After the last chapter, give a test on the whole book.

4 4 Photography without touching a camera. Thats passive learning. Ridiculous? Of course! Whatever is learned this way is soon forgotten. Believe it.

5 5 Heres an alternative: Hand learners cameras. Then have them: 1.Take pictures. Lots of pictures. 2.Print. Compare. Enlarge. Crop. Reduce. Experiment. Play. 3.Argue with others about why some pictures are better or worse.

6 6 4.Take more pictures. 5. Repeat the process, over and over.

7 7 Thats active learning. Whatever is learned is learned. Believe it.

8 8 Passive LearningActive Learning Textbook, teacher talkReal world Secondhand knowledgeFirsthand knowledge One thought processMany thought processes Memory testsPerformance tests Extrinsic rewardsIntrinsic rewards Test-taking skillsPhotography skills

9 9 Sadly, in most of the worlds classrooms, were teaching non-stop,top-down,grind-it-out, textbook-based Its like handing learners crossword puzzles with all the blanks already filled in. passivity.

10 10 In our passive classrooms, theres no: comparing analyzing classifying hypothesizing generalizing synthesizing valuing relating No thinking, no real intellectual challenge. Just Remember whats in the book, and fill in the right oval.

11 11 Most textbooks (and other secondhand sources of information like the Internet) are… …roadblocks standing in the way of active learning and real thinking. Textbooks and the Internet contain conclusions. The author (or someone else) has already done the thinking.

12 12 When the source of learning is the real world… …active learning using many thought processes becomes possible.

13 13 Everything worth learning can be learned actively. Whatever is learned actively is really learnedintensely, deeply, permanently.

14 14 investigating and diagramming their citys water system investigating and diagramming their citys water system gathering and comparing accounts of the Vietnam War from veterans gathering and comparing accounts of the Vietnam War from veterans measuring and plotting wind direction and speed, air temperature and pressure as a front approaches measuring and plotting wind direction and speed, air temperature and pressure as a front approaches observing and recording greeting patterns when people meet at the local mall observing and recording greeting patterns when people meet at the local mall planning possible community changes to minimize energy consumption. planning possible community changes to minimize energy consumption. Active learninglearners: The possibilities are endless.

15 15 Of course, not everything worth knowing is directly accessible. Some things are distant in time, or space, or both. When thats the case, active learning requires primary sourcesthe residue of realities.

16 16 Art Art Literature Literature Tools Tools Structures Structures Documents Documents Firsthand accounts Firsthand accounts Waste Waste Other unanalyzed data Other unanalyzed data Residue of realities:

17 17 Primary sources can expand active learning to cover the universe. Unprocessed sourcesthe residue of realityallow room for real thinking by learners.

18 18 If our goal is learners with enhanced thinking skills, learners who know how to make sense of reality, then active learningbased on reality or primary sourcesis essential.

19 19 Unfortunately, passive learning is much easier to evaluate than active learning. Tests to find out what has been learned passively simply ask How much do you remember?

20 20 Evaluating active learning is more complex. Analytical thinking processes and the products of active learning generally must be judged subjectively. Standardized achievement tests simply cant be used to evaluate active learning accurately.

21 21 As rigid external standards for education are imposed on American schools, opportunities for active learning are largely blocked, locking learners into more and more passive learning. This limits development of learner potential, leaving all children behind.

22 22 Active learning can be summarized in one word: Investigate.

23 23 An example of a curriculum free of the problems summarized earlier: Connections : Investigating Reality Its available without cost. Slideshows in this series: The World Has Changed Information Overload Passive or Active Learning? The Invisible Elephant All Aboard the Standards Express!

24 24 To encourage dialog, this presentation is offered free of charge, and may be used, duplicated and distributed in its original form without permission of the author. Excerpts must follow fair use rules, with proper credits. Copyright © 2009 by Marion Brady and Howard Brady. Marion Brady 4285 North Indian River Drive Cocoa, Florida


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