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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Surprise! Kids Value Rote Learning...

Surprise! Kids Value Rote Learning...

...just not when they are the one expected to memorize knowledge. Have you ever had a child ask you a question that require a memorized fact to answer? It happened to me recently. We were listening to a CD of classical music that had no printed table of contents. With nearly every piece, the (junior high) child asked, “Who wrote that?” Luckily, I can google the answer. She became exasperated with my lack of certainty and my need to look up so many of the composers. She asked impatiently, “Didn't you have to study music history when you were in school?”

Me: Yes, I did.

Her: Then how come you don't know who wrote all these songs?

Me: Do you like history class?

Her: NO, I hate it.

Me: Why?

Her: Because we have to memorize so many dates and other trivia.

Me: I guess you will start applying more gusto to your memorization.

Her: Why would I do that?

Me: Because clearly you think that memorizing facts is an important part of your education.

Her: Nooo. Whatever gave you that idea?

Me: Because you think it was an important part of my education.

Her: I never said that!

Me: But you clearly expect me to remember music composers off the top of my head better than I do. How would I have learned that information in the first place, except by memorizing it as facts? And you expect me to still remember it? Don't you think you should hold yourself to the same expectation?

Her: Well, of course.

Me: So I guess you won't groan anymore when teachers expect you to memorize stuff.

Her: Who said I minded memorizing stuff?

Me: Whatever.

Her: Hey, that's my line.

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