In this book, Ausubel gives his arguments supporting teaching through verbal exposition, or "reception" learning. Argues that the goal of schooling is really long-term stable and usable knowledge, or knowledge that students can access and apply throughout their lives. In order to do this, he argues that schools need to organize, interpret, arrange and present material in a way that allows for efficient assimilation of knowledge. While some discovery learning is appropriate, it cannot be the main mode of learning as it simply takes too much time for students to independently discover everything for themselves. He also cautions against the categorizing discovery learning as meaningful and reception learning as rote, arguing that meaningful learning occurs so long as the learner can incorporate the content in a substantive way into his existing cognitive structure. The existing cognitive structure is recognized as playing a major role in learning and retention. Readiness to learn, either by having one's cognitive structure properly primed for learning or by being developmentally mature enough to comprehend the ideas, is thus a key point to consider. Note: this abstract refers only to the first two chapters of this book.
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