Learning to remember

Students should learn to memorize, writes Ben Johnson, a teacher turned technology consultant, on Edutopia’s blog.

The total emphasis on critical thinking has it all wrong: Before students can think critically, they need to have something to think about in their brains. It is true that knowledge without comprehension is of little use, but comprehension requires knowledge and it takes time and effort to acquire.

The stress on high-order thinking skills and the execration of memorization is hurting students, Johnson argues.

* The brain is a learning tool. This might seem obvious, but the brain is not a passive sponge. It requires active effort to retain information in short-term memory and even more effort to get it into long-term memory.

* Learners need to know that the longer an idea can be kept in short-term memory, the more chance it can be pushed into long-term memory. This is where practice makes perfect makes sense.

* The body is another learning tool — another often-ignored concept. The body is connected to the brain and if you engage the body, you are engaging the brain too.

* Learner feel an addictive sense of accomplishment when something has been memorized completely.

Johnson suggests some memory games.

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