What’s 12 x 11? Um, Let Me Google That

 

What’s 12 x 11? Um, Let Me Google That

  • My classroom experience proves otherwise. Once students have memorized a given set of vocabulary and grammar rules, they are able to apply their knowledge to more difficult concepts and activities. Having the fundamentals at the ready gives them both skill and confidence, two attributes that make learning effective and enjoyable. If they skipped the memory work on the grounds that the information can easily be found online, they would drown in a sea of URLs as they struggled to find the basic information necessary to answer the deeper questions.
  • I shudder at what might have happened to the Apollo 13 flight crew if its NASA team had to spend precious minutes looking up multiplication tables, or what will happen if our government’s national-security advisers needed to consult Wikipedia to shape their foreign policy decisions.
  • But once John Dewey’s educational theories were adopted in public schools beginning in the 1940s, they fell out of vogue, ridiculed and rejected by education professionals across the country as detrimental to learning. In schools of education such techniques are derisively labeled “drill and kill” and “chalk and talk.” Instead, these experts preach “child-centered” learning activities that make the teacher the “facilitator” in education, which is understood as a natural process of self-discovery.
  • Of course, all good teachers want their students to acquire not just basic knowledge, but a deeper, conceptual understanding that is manifested through critical thinking and analysis—skills that educational fads and initiatives rightly extol. But such thinking is impossible without first acquiring rock-solid knowledge of the foundational elements upon which the pyramid of cognition rests.