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December 06, 2008



I definitely agree in regards to a return to rote learning. Students that learn to play an instrument-even students that learn to play a sport-must master a concept completely before they move on to the next one and know that drills are important even thought they are boring and repetitive.


TFA teachers have not been brainwashed in education schools to follow strategies that cognitive science have found to be useless.

Students in India and China learn a wide variety of subjects at the elementary level, so they have a solid knowledge base by the time they reach high school. Chinese and Indian kids learn math using a cumulative approach. They completely master one concept and then move onto the next.

American kids, on the other hand, learn "comprehension strategies" rather than the basic knowledge they will actually need someday to comprehend their high school and college textbooks. Thanks to "everyday math" and "spiraling" students are basically studying the same math in 5th grade that they studied in 1st grade. Multiple math concepts are thrown at students in a very short period of time, all taught at only a superficial level. Cooperative learning strategies are inefficient and waste valuable class time. Many students no longer learn grammar because it might interfere with "creativity." And so on.

I believe that the strategies teachers are taught to use, or forced to use, are at the root of America's educational problems. We have to go back to a more traditional approach to education. Even if that means more rote learning and drills, which are considered great evils by the progressives who dominate education. While rote learning should not be the only way students learn, it definitely has its place.

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