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A mode of interaction between student and teacher where students do not acquire, but merely borrow and store, the knowledge and ideas the instructor is purportedly teaching. Typical of a good deal of secondary school instruction, and (more disturbingly) some university teaching as well.

The instructor is the pitcher, the source of the material. In each class, he or she pours a little measured amount of knowledge into each of the cups, representing the students. The process is repeated over the entire semester, until the cups are full. When this occurs, the students take the final exam, where the contents of the cups are poured back into the pitcher to satisfy the instructor.

I learned this from one of my history professors, who began the obligatory "what this course will be like" discussion in the first lecture by stating emphatically that this would not repeat not be a pitcher-and-cups model course. I liked him immediately.

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