TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

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.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • W T 100+

    • +1
    Feb 9 2013: What did you have for breakfast July 23, 2001?

    We forget.......sometimes what we eat is not very interesting.....sometimes the conversations we have with others is not very interesting.....sometimes our jobs are not very interesting.....but we nevertheless have to nourish our bodies, interact with others, and pay bills.

    Life I think, is about compromise.

    Today you as a youth have alot of options that were not there for me 30 years ago. You are able to enrich your learning of any material by going online and finding ways to appreciate what your learning through youtube videos, and free turorial sites.

    All I had was a professor and books.....talk about dull.

    Still, I appreciated my education, and I had the same issues you are having....."why do I have to take this boring class?" In the end, I came out the winner.

    Somebody did something right in the schooling of all the individuals that have commented thus far.

    Because even though we forget material that we have memorized just to pass a test within hours of passing the test, it is still somewhere in our mind........we are making connections when we learn new things.

    To answer your question directly.....No kids should not be forced.....and in reality they are not....you have choices.

    Kids drop out of school all the time to pursue other goals. You do have educational autonomy.

    My answer is a potpourri of thoughts.....if something doesn't make sense just let me know and I'll try to clarify.
    • Feb 9 2013: You are right with the internet and things like the Khan Institute students do have a new kind of educational autonomy. I disagree though, most people don't think of dropouts as kids taking their education in their own hands. It would be interesting to find a study about why students dropout.

      I guess some material that I memorized for tests is still in the back of my head. I would have trouble recalling it but could recognize if something reminded me.

      I think we can do way better.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.