Monday, February 8, 2010

Do we need to memorize anything?

This blog entry by Steven Anderson says "no".

Now, looking at the comments posted in reply, it is clear that there is a big distinction between the question of "do you need to remember anything?" versus "do you need to memorize anything?". Obviously, we all need to remember many facts, skills, and other pieces of information. The question is: should we let that remembering happen naturally, or should we force everyone (at least every student) to memorize key facts.

I have to admit, I tend to agree with Anderson. My belief is that you will remember information if you use it and find it important. If you don't think it is important and you aren't using the information, then I think that it is probably a waste of time to memorize it.

Going back to the argument I made in this post, I think we need to find better ways to teach children in North America than stuffing them full of facts that "they will need later". Sticking with the usual way of doing things is just going to create a world where our children get buried by the massive number of Asians willing to do fact-based work more cheaply.

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