Passivity is the outward manifestation of a too strong reliance on authority which is exemplified either by individuals (teacher, parent, brother, friend) or by ‘infallible authorities’ in the mathematical theories themselves...
This quotation is taken Ruben Schramm's article: The student’s passive attitude towards Mathematics and his [sic] activities (MT4, 1957).
Schramm identifies authority as a source of passivity towards Mathematics. Firstly, he cites the authority of the (de facto) teacher, a view also taken by Dave Wilson :
[The conventional model of the teaching-learning situation] may encourage students to feel that they are in the presence of an authority to whom they must defer – as if the teacher has all the answers…
But what might be the nature of this authority? In the world of psychoanalysis, Lacan talks of the nature of authority in the analyst-analysand relationship; some of his theory could be applied to the teacher-student relationship:
“As soon as there is a subject supposed to know, there will be transference.”
According to Lacan, the analyst or teacher, as subjects-supposed-to-know, invoke the authority experienced in previous relationships, such as that of parents. Freud  goes a step further in saying:
Education makes us an offer of love as a reward from educators.
Tony Brown  elaborates on Freud's statement:
Education’s potential is not only for love, but also for authority, power and coercion.
Abercrombie  adds to this the authority of the institute:
The teacher is an authority in his [sic] academic subject, and the student is ignorant of it: the teacher is further invested with the authority of the institute, to which the student belongs only transiently… so the transference relationship hangs like a millstone round both their necks, mostly unquestioned and unchallenged.
In his book Madness and Civilization , Foucault describes the authority of the physician (in the asylum) over the patient as relying on the “old links” of the parent-child relationship. If Lacan and Freud are correct, the same links are present in the teacher-student relationship. Foucault describes the power of the physician (read teacher?) as:
… relying on the prestige which envelops the secrets of the family, of authority and punishment, of love; it is by bringing such powers into play, by wearing the mask of Father and Judge, that the Physician [teacher] became the almost magic perpetrator of the cure… His presence and his words were gifted with that power of dis-alienation, which at one blow revealed the transgression and restored the order of morality.
The entrance of morality into this discussion is not out of place. Mathematics (science) is considered to have the ability to prove what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’: there are interesting (and possibly disturbing) connotations in the “overlapping terminology of the moral and mathematical.” 
Schramm adds to this the, "Infallible authorities in the Mathematical theories themselves," based as they are on rationality, reason and proof; in this age of the precedence of the scientific over the non-scientific, of reason over un-reason, it is hard to deny the authority of Mathematics.
The potential reasons-for and problems-with with authority of Mathematics are described in the book The Mastery of Reason by Valerie Walkerdine :
Notions of rationality, which are encouraged in the teaching of Mathematics, are an induction into the fantasy of control over a calculable universe, necessary to sustain our present social and political order.
What might be the implications of all this to a student who does not get the correct answer? What are the implications of this in the teaching of Mathematics?
The next 58 years
In his article, Schramm gives some practical solutions for addressing some of these problems, such as:
A different attitude should be adopted towards the pupils’ mistakes which should be regarded as products of his [sic] mental activity just as his [sic] correct statements...
I have found this type of attitude helpful in addressing status imbalance in the classroom; the article also has other important ideas for those attempting to avoid an authoritarian classroom.
The article is relevant and interesting, but also worrying. The article is about the effect of (teacher and mathematical) authority on student passivity. However, the title itself, and the repeated use of gender-specific pronouns (why brother in the initial quotation, but not sister?), gives us an insight into the nature of the patriarchal authority from which much passivity towards Mathematics has stemmed. What aspects of the language we use today is still contributing to the patriarchal authority of Mathematics ( the term 'mastery' stands out as one)?
There seems little grounds from which many students can “validly speak” when faced with the paternal, patriarchal, institutional, scientific authority from which Mathematics speaks, leading to the passivity towards Mathematics that is still clearly evident in our society 58 years after this article was written. Shouldn't we as educators be aiming to reduce the authority of Mathematics and of Mathematics teaching, thus reducing student passivity? If so, how?
 Dave Wilson: The Transference Relation in Teaching
 Jacques Lacan: The Four Fundamental Concepts in Psychoanalysis
 Sigmund Freud: Formulations on the two principles of mental functioning
 Tony Brown: What counts as a psychoanalytic theory of education?
 M L J Abercrombie: Group Analysis and Higher Education, cited in 
 Michel Foucault: Madness and Civilization
 David Pimm: The Silence of the Body, taken from a very interesting edition of the journal For the Learning of Mathematics
 Valerie Walkerdine: The Mastery of Reason