Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Occasionally Random Quote Series of 2016 - Albert Einstein

When I said occasionally random, I truly meant that. Obvs.


“Never memorize something that you can look up.” 
― Albert Einstein

In a world where the education system seems increasingly obsessed with timed tests, where kids are spending more and more and more time being assessed, quotes like this one really make me think we're doing it wrong.

My eldest child, the one currently in a math class 3 grade levels above grade level....

He couldn't memorize multiplication tables.

He just couldn't. 

He still can't. If you were to ask him what 11x12 is today, he'd stare at you for a while, then guess incorrectly at least twice before he actually replied with the correct answer.

He doesn't do rote memorization well. He never has. His success in math has never hinged on how fast he could recite 6x8=48...except back in elementary school when he felt like a constant failure for not being about to spit it out immediately.

As he got older and his true actual math abilities began to reveal themselves, we realized that the memorization requirements weren't helping a kid like him. They were hurting him. 

Think about that. 

Here is a highly intelligent kid who felt like an idiot because he couldn't memorize things he'd never actually need to memorize. The school system convinced him he needed to do it accurately and immediately in order to succeed....except it was a lie.

He uses a calculator now. Everyone does.

It isn't just math either, these simple words by this genius here could apply to just about anything. 

How much time and energy do we invest in this life memorizing things we don't need to? This is particularly true in this digital age. Anyone with a smart phone in their pocket now has instant access to a vast amount of information online. 

If we weren't spending so much time memorizing things we don't truly need to, just imagine all the things our brains could be doing instead. 

Thinking. Dreaming. Creating. Analyzing. Inventing. 

We should probably listen to Einstein. He was an actual genius, one who failed abundantly in school at that. Maybe he knew more about this than we do...

1 comment:

  1. This is even a problem here in Canada....particularly with math - they've changed the way it's been done into a form that no one can understand - ans if you try it the "old" way, you're wrong, no matter if you get the right answer.

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