This post is in response to the article by Ben Orlin, ‘When memorization gets in the way of learning.’ I posted it on twitter several weeks back, and Will Burn rightly asked what my problem was with it. It’s a well thought out piece, and I think Orlin says a lot of the right things. However, it reads as if written by someone who’s never picked up a book about human cognition, and has no idea what role memory plays in ‘learning.’ The arguments feel ultimately colloquial; the disgruntled teacher frustrated with teaching kids how to memorise test answers, rather than teaching them anything about the damned subject. Valid, but so old hat, and the solutions offered aren’t solutions at all.
First, two quotes that have moved, and guide me:
“The aim of all instruction is to alter long-term memory. If nothing has changed in long-term…
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