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Pedagogy: Passive vs Active Learning


The term pedagogy refers to the art of teaching. It is defined by Blatchford, Sylva, and Muttock as "The instructional techniques and strategies that allow learning to take place. It refers to the interactive process between teacher/practitioner and learner and it is also applied to the provision of some aspects of the learning environment" (Siraj, Blatchford and Sylva, 2002). The importance of pedagogy of teaching can be included in constructing students’ personality since the main aim of higher education is to provide the country with citizens with specialized skills as well as independent individuals who are able to take decisions freely. Consequently, it is the role of the methodology of teaching to produce either passive or critical citizens. That is, the methodology adopted might either encourage students to be passive by taking notes in the class and memorizing for exams to gain higher grades, or to be independent individuals who are critical in their thinking and creative by preparing them to do so in the class. Undoubtedly, the teacher's role is important as well as the methodology since he is the one who selects whether learning has to be passive or active. Relevantly, it is claimed by Prof. and Dr. Abdullah Kuzu that the traditional view of education is one” where teachers serve as the source of knowledge while learners serve as passive receivers"(Kuzu, 2008). From this quote we understand that passive learning is a process in which the teacher acts as a leader in some sense, he or she is authoritative, and that he or she is the only source of information and explanation. In this context, there is the support that passive learning methods as "teacher-dominated interaction", where students have to consume instead of producing. Further, memorization using this traditional method is emphasized. However, this methodology is largely criticized because of its disability to correspond to the real-world conditions.

Due to the disadvantages of the traditional method, many scholars have declined the need for an active learning that involves both students and teachers without an authoritative relationship. The teacher's role can be seen in explaining his or her subjects that need. As a result of the shortcoming of this traditional method of teaching, other methods have been developed and promoted as an alternative to achieve a better learning. The constructivist school is best known as one of the main contributors in providing valuable insights concerning how education can be more productive.

From the constructivist perspective, learning is an active process where learners construct their own meaning or vision of knowledge given that learning through experience makes new connections between neurons in their brain. Consequently, learning is backed up with real-world examples or even putting learners in the situation in order to be familiar with tackling challenges to enhance problem-solving and developing their skills with real-world life experience. The teacher is regarded as a facilitator of learning, a guide that offers a suitable environment that fits the constructive learning approach. Indeed, emphasizing learner-centeredness can achieve a successful learning as the target of education in the first place is the student; he or she is the reason why the teacher and the whole staff are hired in every school and university (Clements and Basita 1990).

For a more meaningful education, the interactionism theory highlights the importance of interaction. Since students are social beings, they have to be trained in the appropriate way to deal with people in the real world. This can be demonstrated in the group communicated to perform support and collaboration. Mc Combs says "learning is enhanced in contexts where learners have a supportive relationship, have a sense of ownership and control over the learning process, and can learn with and from each other in a safe and trusting learning environment"(Combs, 1997).

Working groups prepares students to learn how to help each other to reach one common goal of creating a collaborative educational community allows enhancing social skills, meaningful communication. Additionally, workshops aid in generating open-minded individuals who can exchange diverse opinions about different topics, which will prepare them to accept the differences that exist in real life. Obviously, multifarious knowledge will be contributed to various matters which increases students’ intelligence to deal with different situations in life.

Furthermore, giving students the freedom to work without much authoritative control raise their self-discipline as well as a sense of responsibility. Within this frame Poplin declares that "Students desire authentic relationships where they are trusted, given responsibility, spoken to honestly and warmly, and treated with dignity" (Poplin, 1994).

Since learning is an active process, motivation is definitely demanded to achieve concentration, participation and good feelings in the classroom as Palmer states student motivation as an essential element that is necessary for quality education. Motivation can manifest itself in the classroom in the form of clear interest students show towards what they are studying; they pay attention, they begin working on tasks immediately, they ask questions and voluntarily give answers, and they appear to be happy and eager. Further, motivation assists students to learn and produce knowledge with favor. Harmer supports this by saying that "Motivation is some kind of internal drive that pushes someone to do things in order to achieve something" (Harmer, 2001).

Active learning can be identified as an opportunity to strengthen students' critical thinking as well as creativity. That is the ability to analyze, criticize, rely on logic, examine all the sides of an issue through reasonable questions which result in a creative individual who is able to tackle difficult situations after graduating because he or she has developed his/her problem-solving skills and has trained his imagination to investigate different solutions. It can be considered as a major reason for establishing self-dependent individuals who think in their own instead of taking what is given by the teacher.

Moreover, public speaking as well as various advantages on the learner’s personality. It is the skill of expressing one’s thoughts or a given issue in front of the public in order to influence them. Public speaking skills give people a stronger personality and they, in turn, reflect the strong personality, as public speaking is of the hardest tasks one can do.

One can even go farther and argue that speaking and expressing one’s thoughts’ must be the goal of any student. Indeed, speaking one’s mind in the different aspects of life is what pushes the wheel of humanity’s progress. The target of the process of learning has to be creating individuals who can be creative and ripe to face the different harsh contexts they might confront in their lives.

 In real life, one needs to be able to speak his or her mind since the world is attracted to those who can out speak freely, openly, and daringly. Individuals who have developed these skills are very welcome in the job market as they remain competitive and productive.

For many people speaking in public might seem like an easy task to do, but in fact, it has taken years of practicing and adaptation to the stress generated by confronting people. This is good news for those who find it challenging to speak in public in that public speaking skills are acquired and are not innate. Of course, our experiences in life have some major effects on how ready we will be to confront a large or even small group of people and say whatever is in our minds freely. It is said that " Practice makes perfect", the speakers awareness of what is going on inside his or her head makes it easier to control his emotions and stress, which will allow the individual to work on his/her weaknesses to appear better as well as being familiar with the audience interest which assists the speaker to improve his convincing skills that may have a positive impact to create his own business. Other advantages can be included in elaborating on research skills. Before presenting his topic, the speaker has to search for information, he learns the appropriate way to find information as well as gaining much knowledge.

From the above discussion, we can say that active learning has various benefits on the learning effectivity’s outcome. Active learning prepares individuals to deal with real difficulties in real life.


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