# memorization important?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Here2Learn, Mar 3, 2011.

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1. ### BrendanFanatic

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Mar 5, 2011

Somethings absolutely, positively need to be memorized. You can't dive down into the deeper levels of learning unless you have the basics memorized. It is going to be incredibly hard for my AP US History Students to answer an essay question on the English Reformation if they have not memorized they Key Players and legislation. Memorization sucks, but if students don't learn how to memorize at a young age, it's going to be a long trek in High School and College.

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Mar 5, 2011

I teach sixth grade math, and my students who really struggle are doing so for one reason: they don't have their facts memorized. It's really hard to simplify fractions if you have to count on your fingers every time. They never get to the point where they can just look at 3/4 and realize that it's the same as 9/12 if they don't know their facts. This makes working with proportions, ratios, etc., extremely difficult.

When we learned how to add and subtract fractions, the kids who knew their facts were able to concentrate on the order of the steps needed to work with the fractions (get a common denominator, change the numerators to make equivalent fractions, then perform the operation), while the kids who didn't know their facts were focusing on, "how did she know to change the denominator to 24 when the original ones were 8 and 3?" and completely missed learning the PROCESS, which was the whole point of the lesson.

I know that not all parents have the time/money/aptitude/attitude/whatever to help their kids memorize the facts, but it has GOT to be stressed at the lower levels. The kids who don't know their facts are struggling with something they should know cold. If they can (and they do) sing me Justin Bieber's latest song, they should be able to know their facts.

There are ways to make facts practice fun. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time in my sixth grade classroom to cover something that should have been memorized three years ago. I can do a little, and I do, but I can't fix the whole problem.

I think that parents who can't spare a dollar to buy a set of flash cards, at the very least, are doing their kids a disservice. Facts are non-negotiable. You can't function in the higher levels of math without knowing them. In long division alone, you have to know your division, multiplication, AND subtraction facts! That's a lot of finger-counting when you could just take the time to KNOW them instead.

Getting off my soapbox now.

3. ### 3SonsConnoisseur

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Mar 5, 2011

Here2Learn, you mention in your first post having worked with her for six days. Is that accurate?

If so, I don't think you can really come to the conclusion that she can't memorize her facts yet, or even that memorization isn't optimal for her.

My youngest has been working on ones and twos for several months. Not every day (probably 3 to 4 days per week), and for only a half-hour each time. But still, months. Within just the past week, he made a breakthrough and can now add numbers under ten fairly well (not perfectly yet, but it's coming). My point is that you can work a long time and see no effect, and then there could be a sudden dramatic rise in ability.

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Mar 5, 2011

5. ### Here2LearnCompanion

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Mar 5, 2011

yes, six days at the time - more like 9 or 10 now?

when the packet was sent home, it had one page with the 2s, one with the 3s, etc, etc. along with a note saying they would be tested weekly starting with the 2s. she had her test on tuesday and didn't pass. had she passed (which is the expectation since they're supposed to make it through the packet by the end of the year and it's march) we'd be working on the 3's for her test this upcoming tuesday. we haven't even looked at the 3's because she hasn't passed the 2's yet - she'll retest for those this upcoming tuesday.

i don't doubt that she could memorize all the facts if there weren't any time constraints especially since they aren't working on them at school.

what makes me think they aren't working on them at school? it's MARCH and she's having problems with the TWO's. i'm pretty sure if this is somthing they'd been working on at school, she wouldn't act like it was foreign to her. when we read her stories or do her spelling words, i can see a lightbulb. she couldn't understand for the life of her why she couldn't use her fingers when we practiced. not to mention i asked her if she'd been doing it at school and she said no.

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