TWO MODELS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING

Didactic
Passive Learning
[Master-disciple]
Socratic
Active Learning
[Shared inquiry]

1. Teacher centered: based on the assumption that the teacher is the primary agent in learning.

1. Problem centered: based on the assumption that the student is the primary agent in learning.

2. Teacher's role: to impart the results of experience, personal study, and reflection.

2. Teacher's role: to uncover the question that the answer hides. To be a co-learner.

3. Primarily deductive: the usual methods are lecture, story telling, use of analogy, and aphorism.

3. Primarily inductive: the usual methods discussion, dialogue, and problem solving.

4. Test of truth: authority and experience.

4. Test of truth: reason and evidence.

5. Learning is the reception of ideas.

5. Learning is a conflict of ideas: a thesis, antithesis, and a synthesis that results in new knowledge (Hegel).

6. Student's role: to be passive, open, receptive,
trusting, and unquestioning.

6. Student's role: to be active, questioning, critical, and discriminating--learning to trust one's own judgment (independent thinking).

7. Evaluation is factual recall of data--commonly in the form of objective tests--right and wrong answers.

7. Evaluation is application of understanding interpretation of data--commonly in an essay, speech, journal, or a review.

8. Ultimate goal: wisdom viewed as the internalization of truths and beliefs.

8. Ultimate goal: wisdom viewed as an informed ignorance (knowing what one does not know--the Socratic paradox).

While the article illustrates the importance of the Socratic method for active learning, the didactic model still has a necessary but ancillary role since teachers must sometimes provide organized information not accessible other ways. A comparison-contrast outline of two generic lesson plans reveals important differences.