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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 9 2013: Force seems like a very strong word. And yes, I believe that we all should learn even about things that were aren't necessarily interested in or have no intention developing any expertise in. I well-rounded education in very crucial in holistic development. Being introduced to many different topics is how we eventually find our interests and passions.

    I think that the first and second part of your question does not necessarily relate; or should not necessarily be in the same question or topic. While I believe that learning and staying informed about many different topics and fields of study is NOT a waste of time, I also believe that "memorization and regurgitation" is not the best way to "test" what has been learned.

    While I'm not convinced that kids should be given complete autonomy in making their own curriculum and only learning about what they may think are their only interests, I also think that we really need a change in how the curriculum, learning, and education are being delivered. Education and learning has to be revolutionized, because we, as a society have changed immensely. So why shouldn't the medium and vectors through which we learn or get our information from change?

    I always thought that if professors started tweeting the key points of their lectures (and maybe make it mandatory for their students to "follow" them), the world just might get a bit smarter--or at least more informed.
    • Feb 9 2013: The student does not decide the curriculum. And what options he is given is very limited. Force may be too strong but there is a definate lack of choice. The less self autonomy we give our children the less self autonomy they will have as young adults.

      I see a better approach is to introduce all subjects with relevance and try to make it interesting. If a student still doesn't show interest then why have them spend a whole year studying in detail subject matter?

      Memorization doesnt have to be the only way to learn. In fact its quite boring and maybe that's why so many people can't recall what they once knew for a test.

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