Another dot in the blogosphere?

Source for “caught vs taught”

Posted on: March 9, 2019

This is one of my favourite quotations:

Values are more caught than they are taught.

I had read it in various blogs and news articles over the years. However, I did not know its source, or at least, one of its possible sources. I only found out after grading a student’s essay earlier this week. That student cited this source:

Krugman, H. E. and Hartley, E. L. (1970). Passive learning from television. Public Opinion Quarterly, 34, 184-190.

The part about learning by what is caught rather than taught is in the abstract of this archived piece.

… the authors focus on passive learning, on what is “caught” rather than “taught,” and on the process by which such learning may take place.

The purpose of that paper was to promote passive learning by repetition or bombardment. While those authors might have a point in media studies, the same principle is not necessarily helpful or education. In the latter, that might be labelled blind rote.

My favourite quote is about being a model of behaviour or thinking. This is an intentional and effortful approach (e.g., think-aloud protocol, facilitating reflective rise-aboves), not an accidental one. This is the toss before the catch.

The type of catching I was thinking of is active, not passive. Students might realistically catch without prior warning or by accident, but they are best alerted of the toss before the catch. If the latter happens, the process is an intentional one.

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