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Should we force kids to learn material they don't show interest in?

As a college graduate I was thinking about how much material I have studied in all of my educational career and then promptly forgotten after the test. Is it a waste of time to try and learn something you are not interested in? To what extent should we allow educational autonomy?

There are a lot of different ways to be intelligent. Memorization and regurgitation are just one small facet.

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    Feb 6 2013: Pushing something that bores them is a surefire way to put them off for life. A better approach, I think, is to stop and think about their existing interests and find ways that will enhance those interests and delight them.
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      Feb 6 2013: But there is so much context one can bring into the classroom that doesn't involve staring at a screen that can situate material in an interesting context relevant to students. I always asked my students to fill out a card for me the first day about their interests, dreams, and ambitions, and took my contexts and examples from that information. I never forgot their interests and aspirations and engaged with them about that regularly in the context of the course content.

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