Active versus Passive Students: A Point by Point Overview of the Pros and Cons

6 June 2016

There are two types of students in school, active students and passive students, reflective of their external and internal natures and personalities.  Active students often put out more social, physical, and verbal effort, ask more questions within the group, and voluntarily get involved in classroom group activities.  Passive students, on the other hand, tend to be quieter, stay on track with lectures, and get more done in regard to individual class work.

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Unfortunately, active students are sometimes frenzied in their work and behaviors, have the tendency to annoy others, and can be aggravating jokesters, and the problem of passive students is that they can be too sluggish in their activities, have the capacity to be overly shy of others, and too often withdraw themselves from the group.  The characteristics of active students and passive students are somewhat opposed to each other, yet these behavioral manners both have pros and cons in regard to the characteristics of their learning styles.

There is an overall tendency for active students to put out more social effort and for passive students to lean towards being calmer.  In order to validate knowledge and evaluate the things they know, active students tend to put more effort into class work such as discussions or debate topics.

Active students continually and actively develop their knowledge through this learning skill.  Passive students, on the contrary, tend to put out more effort outside of the class group.  In class, they listen to what others say and take note of the valuable materials given in class, but they often review the recently learned topics later and prepare for the next lecture at a slower pace in order to understand and digest the information.

In regard to classroom interaction, active students are not afraid to make their voices heard, while passive students individually stay on track with the lectures.  Active students are not afraid to ask questions in a classroom.  They comfortably raise their hands to pose questions to the instructor or express opinions in front of classmates.

However, passive students typically do not ask questions in class and seldom respond to the opinions of others.  Instead of making classroom demonstrations, passive students are more likely to see the instructor individually to ask relevant questions about the class topics.

When classes work in larger groups and teams, active students excel in the network of feedback and social interaction, and when students are allowed to work individually or in small groups, passive students are able to interact well with others and put their unique energy into the tasks at hand.

Active students also express enthusiastic attitudes in class meetings and voluntarily get involved in class activities.  They enjoy interacting with others, leading groups of students when necessary, and stimulate other students, increasing their interest.  On the other hand, passive students pay attention in class and faithfully perform their tasks if class work is given, work well individually, and offer advice with quiet patience.

While the characteristics of active students are that they ask more questions, put out more effort in the class group, and are actively involved in class activities, and the characteristics of passive students are to asks questions individually or with more discretion, put out effort outside of the large group, and enjoy individual work, they both try their best to learn class materials. They find their own ways to learn better and more suitably for them.

In regard to the negative aspects of active and passive students, it is important to consider that active students can sometimes be frenzied, annoying, and jokesters, while passive students are able to be sluggish, shy, and withdrawn.  Harmful conduct can come from students who are overly extreme in their behavioral inclinations.

In considering the harmful effects of active students who are a bit out of control, it is important to note that they can become overcharged, and in noting the destructive behaviors of passive students who are overly sluggish, one can rightfully say that they are sometimes too lazy and inactive.

Active students can be harmful to class dynamics when they become frenzied or overpowered.  Sometimes this power shows by an impulse to force or control others, and sometimes active students just get so caught up in moving quickly through their work, that they get lost in their speed.  In contrast, passive students can move too slowly, being sluggish in their class work pursuits and lazy in keeping up with the group.  While moving slowly can sometimes be beneficial in some cases, being the turtle can also be detrimental to the individual as well as the group.

The frustrating reality of dealing with active students is that they can often be annoying, pushing other people excessively to give them reactions, while the infuriating truth about some passive students is that they can hide themselves away from the world and forget what it means to demand attention.  In considering the idea that active students can be annoying, it is important to note that active students often like to get feedback from others.

When the feedback doesn’t come their way, active students can sometimes push the limits and test people’s patience.  On the other hand, passive students can be too shy and not demand enough feedback from others.  Instead of making their voices heard, they simply resign themselves to being ignored.

In regard to the ways in which students generate negative attention, it is important to recognize that active students have the capacity to be silly jokesters, while passive students can fall into a black hole, not knowing how to engage with the group in amusing and pleasurable ways.  It can also be that active students act too much like jokesters, trying their hardest to call attention to themselves.  It can be very aggravating to put up with a person who is not serious enough, and active students are sometimes too interest in being in the spotlight.

However, it can also be the case that passive students are overly withdrawn, wanting too little social interaction and participating too little in group fun.  Isolation is not healthy for any kind of student, particularly when this breaking off from the group becomes a form of extreme disinterest or dislike.

In looking to the average students in schools, it is safe to say that most kids are certainly a mixture of activity and passivity, while some students gravitate more to one group than the other.  The dangers come when a student is too far to the extreme of either activity or passivity, because there are certain dangers at either end of the spectrum.  The most extreme dangers would be the active students who are aggressive to others or homicidal and the passive students who inflict self harm or are suicidal.  Hopefully, parents and other community members will help students to remain more balanced and stable in their composure and mannerisms, recognizing the wonderful aspects of both active behaviors and passive ones.

  The fact that some students are more active than others and that some students have a tendency to be more passive should also be celebrated, because it is in diversity that the unique dimensions of each person are best understood and reflected against the ways of others.  Differences, in extreme cases, can be harmful to a classroom community, yet differences in moderation are what contribute to the musical culture of student behavior in schools.

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