## Forget memorization, let’s make it memorable!

When you see a traffic light                                                                                                                                                           There is something you should know                                                                                                                                           Red means stop                                                                                                                                                                                     Yellow means get ready                                                                                                                                                                     Green means go, go, go and go

When I was in nursery, this is the rhyme I was taught. Considering the fact that we had no traffic lights in our town, this might have sounded ridiculous to our parents who could not stop us from reciting it back at home. When I turned 17 years and went to the city and saw the traffic light for the first time, I knew exactly what to do. Of course, I didn’t recite the poem out loud but you bet I recited it all the same. I wasn’t ready to let anyone know I was fresh in the city…Funny enough, when I came to the states where traffic lights are within 100 meters of each other (I hate the main street), I still do recite the poem whenever I get to one…just so you know why my lips are moving when you stop by my car in traffic.

In primary school, there were some subjects that everyone was bound to make an A in. Everyone got an A not because the classes were easy, we did well because the classes involved some form of activity. For Math for instance, every child will go around after school to collect Coca Cola bottle caps. We went in search of these bottle caps in groups and always had fun seeing who will get the most caps. After we have brought them all to the teacher, the teacher distributed the caps as evenly as possible among the students. These are what we used to learn our Addition and Subtraction problems. For instance if we were asked to solve ’13 +12’, we would just count 13 caps to one side, count 12 to another, and then add the two sets of caps to get an answer.

Moving on, I know for sure I’m not the only one who forgot an answer to a question in the examination room only to remember right after submission, sometimes, right outside the door. Whenever I got that happen to me, I will ask myself how I learned that particular thing or how I was taught. I realized that those questions are the ones that I never discussed with my friends. Prior to examinations, my friends and I formed study groups where we discussed questions and their answers. There was no way I missed any of those questions, I always got them right. But those I didn’t discuss, although I had learned them, were always hard to remember.

The point I am trying to make is, the normal straight forward lectures do not always produce the best results. It takes rather unconventional and creative ways to keep students interested in boring lectures. It also takes a lot of interaction between students and peers, and among peers in order to get information across to leaners. The onus lies on both teachers and students to make learning fun….

jardonam

I have to say that I found this blog post to be quite entertaining. I hadn’t heard that rhyme before, but it adds a personal touch to the story. I’ve also had that feeling of not remembering some bit of information until immediately after the test is done. I don’t remember having a whole lot of in class discussions in undergrad, nor did I study with others very often. I imagine more of that would have been helpful because by the time I started my graduate work, it seemed like most of my class time was spent in discussion. What I’m taking away from your post is that learning goes multiple directions, not just from teacher to student. Moving that interaction back and forth and among peers is where the information becomes memorable as you put it, not just memorized. Thanks for your post!

Galen

I agree, lectures are not the only way to produce knowledge, nor are they even a good way, perhaps. They operate on the level of inequality, because a lecture presupposes one subject (a person, the teacher in this case) above the rest.