Here is a scenario:
The year is 2030, and you are having a conversation at a dinner party. Eventually, people start talking about a significant historical event, and you have never heard about it before. You quickly check out of the conversation and go to your mobile device (it is totally going to be called something else but bear with me) to figure out what people are talking about because your school was against memorization of anything because you could just “Google” it. Soon, no one wants to talk to you because they know the conversation will be one that is focused solely on you looking at devices for reference. How boring is that?
Is this scenario REALLY going to happen because a school has put less of an emphasis on “memorization”? Some think so, and others don’t, but here are a few things to consider.
Memorization is not a bad thing, but what we spend time locking into memory will change. I spent a lot of time as a student being tested on dates of events rather than discussing the implication of the events themselves.
When you focus on a deep understanding of an idea, event, concept, etc., memorization is more likely to happen long term for a learner, but if you focus solely on memorization, this doesn’t mean you understand the concept.
Do you need to memorize something before you understand it? I don’t think so but if you think of all the concept in “Bloom’s” they are meant to be connected as you go up the “pyramid” and are not intended to be separate.
Image from: https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/
I saw John Medina, author of “Brain Rules,” speak years ago and he said something to the extent of “Creation without consumption is the equivalent of playing the air guitar; you might know the motions, but you won’t actually know how to play.” Yes, you can Google anything you want today, but that doesn’t mean you understand the concept with any depth. With access to all of the information in the world, we should focus on creating schools that develop our students to become smarter and more knowledgeable than we ever could be without it. Memorization is a part of it but definitely should not be an endpoint.
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