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Why memorize anything? - Vectr Weekly #16

Why memorize anything?
November 4 · Issue #16 · View online
Vectr Weekly
Why memorize anything?

A question: Is there a benefit to memorizing the equations for the test?
At the beginning of every Vectr pilot, we ask teachers and professors to pose the first question (or series of questions) on the platform to facilitate engagement among students and get the ball rolling. Recently, a high school physics teacher kicked things off by asking that simple question. Is there a benefit to memorizing equations? And what a great question it is!
In recent years, memorization has come under attack as inhibiting creativity and critical thinking. The logic is that rote memorization and regurgitation of facts doesn’t actually lead to real learning. You can memorize information about something without really understanding it’s true nature.
Plus, we now have Google and the internet. So why memorize anything if you can look up whatever you need at a moment’s notice?
However, we don’t believe memorization to be all bad. For one, memorization requires intense focus and mental industriousness. Further, memorization of certain information can increase your mental capacities regarding more complex concepts. Take multiplication tables for example. If you memorize that 12 x 12 = 144 and that 4 x 12 = 48, then 12 x 16 might become easier to compute by doing the simpler addition of 144 and 48 without memorizing the more complex multiplication equation.
In other words, you might say that you are creating mental schemas of information as you memorize various facts and ideas that have varying degrees of connections between them.
So it would seem that rote memorization without understanding is not a good thing, but that we also should not write memorization off altogether.

Stay curious!
-Jeremy & Jake 
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