American education » Vicarious learning

Published: 8-11-2011, 12:22

Vicarious learning

A second- or third-hand learning process, whereby an individual learns from the experiences or purported knowledge of others. Elementary and secondary school children are especially subject to unquestioned, vicarious learning from parents, peers, television programs, movies and other sources. Vicarious learning may or may not be based on accurate data. If unsubstantiated by subsequent firsthand research, vicarious learning can interfere with accurate assessment and acquisition of classroom knowledge. Racial and religious prejudice, for example, is typically the result of vicarious learning, and even the most skilled teachers are hard put at times to correct the ill effects of this type of vicarious learning.

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