Moving Past Memorization in K-12 Education
Everyone has suffered through long days and late nights of studying, memorizing the material that had been pushed upon you for the past couple of weeks. Do you remember taking the test and then forgetting all the information you just memorized?
Students have experienced this never-ending cycle over their entire educational career with even more pressure surfacing once they enter high school. This may be how schools are traditionally operated, but how effective is this method? The world is filled to the brim with information, and all of it is available in an instant.
Other countries have moved past memorization and have developed new methods and provide specialized learning environments to improve test scores. Educators are making sure that students not only know the material but will also be able to apply it in everyday situations. Here are a few reasons why we should move past memorization and implement alternative instructional strategies.
They show what students know and how they learn.
Simply memorizing information does not help students apply their newly acquired skills; it does not produce creative or adaptable methods of using the information. To truly learn something, a student needs to find meaning in it and link it to other ideas and situations in the real world.
Partaking in real-world projects and activities can increase the likelihood of a student retaining what they have learned. They will be able to take the information that they have gathered and apply it to new situations.
Developing the skills needed for success.
Success requires more than memorization; it involves preparation and utilization. For example, you can memorize maps, statistics, and diving methods for deep-sea diving, but that doesn’t build your stamina or adjust your body to the pressure. If your information fails you, what would you do? You don’t know how to adapt to this new reality, as you have only worked on memorizing content.
Using instructional methods beyond memorization can adequately prepare your mind for these types of situations. They provide a depth of understanding and help adjust to your new environment. Restricting a student’s development is counterproductive in a world where adaptation is key.