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Dyed All Hues

Thinker and Experimenter,


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Does Education teach us to memorize information, instead of understanding it, or is memorizing important for future use?

I belive that knowing and understanding are completely two different concepts. Understanding something is far better than knowing something, but does the education system teach us to memorize everything? Wouldn't memorizing everything be a bad thing or does small things not matter as long as you knew it was supposed to happen (even if you somehow forgot). Like in the case of Atul Gawande's Talk about doctors should use checklists and cowboys already using checklists.

Should education not dually educate their students to know something for the first half of their educational life, then understand it for the second half? Would that system not be more efficient that way?

What can we change about, or what is the use of, memorizing so much information in a course at school, as opposed to understanding?

Update: check out this video introduced by Edwin Nazarian:
I elaborated about it in a seperate post, just a bit though.
Mini Update: Edwin's video has bad sound quality, but try to bear with it and hear it through. Amazing information.

Watch this! =)
Thanks Mary for sharing this amazing video with us. =)


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      Apr 17 2012: You're right Rob. I think part of this has to do with the English word understand. I found this out when I was using Blooms taxonomy. Bloom has understanding as a low level knowledge skill (as in do you understand the directions), but the research on understanding a phenomena is such high level synthesis (phenomenology).

      I don't like the word and try not to use it if possible. It can easily be taken out of context.
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        Apr 17 2012: Which word don't you like to use?.....understand, synthesis, or phenomenology?

        I'm glad somebody else on here has heard of poor Bloom and his taxonomy....phew
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          Apr 17 2012: Sorry - understand. And thanks for the smile.
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        Apr 17 2012: I don't understand why people don't "understand" the concept of "understanding"....what's to hard????

        Can you enlighten me, please. I am at a loss.
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          Apr 19 2012: For instance, do you understand what it is like to be homeless (yes, am making assumptions but only for purpose of elaboration)? You can understand about homeless but if you did not ever experience it, you would not really understand it.

          So when Bloom has understanding at such a low level it almost negates when someone says 'you don't understand me.' And if you did need to understand, how would you approach it? Would you read about it? Would you interview people? How do you answer this question, 'How do I understand the meaning of being homeless?'

          That is worlds away from, 'you have 50 mins for this exam, do you understand?'

          Two completely different cognitive levels here. Example 1: synthesis. Example 2: comprehension. Same word.
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      Apr 17 2012: If there is no way of it being applied, then what is the point?
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          Apr 17 2012: That is all geared towards application.

          You can discern a lack of understanding by a lack of application.

          E.G. Keynesian economics was created to control the fluctuations in the economy. The lack of results by all of those who attempted to apply it indicate the lack of understanding. or Stan is stymied when asked to paint the wall because he doesn't understand what paint is.

          I have an idea lets put those who are trying to fix the economy to work on painting and the painters to work on the economy, could it be done with less comprehension?, only in the area of painting.

          My point is that application is the key.
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        Apr 17 2012: Sorry Pat, I came to understand (ha ha) that only after I wrote the post so I deleted it. I was hoping you hadn't gotten to it yet. I am with you but I also understand what Rob is saying on an ethereal plane. But I truly, truly understand concrete application of knowledge. I mean paint application. I mean..
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        Apr 19 2012: Pat,

        Sounds like your talking walking a mile in another person's shoes?
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        Apr 19 2012: Point being that I do agree, and that is empathy. Sometimes all we need is a little love and empathy. =)
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      Apr 17 2012: Rob

      Can you give me a couple of examples of that?
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        Apr 19 2012: Perhaps Philosophy or Metaphysics are areas where understanding has priority over application, or indeed require no application at all.
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          Apr 19 2012: Philosophy that has no application is not philosophy, I would have to put that in the category of insanity. The objective is what keeps us sane, application is the objective part.

          Metaphysics probably has some hoped for application such as understanding how to navigate in areas we didn't know about before, knowing about reincarnation, ghosts, etc could be useful in therapy for us human types.

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