Book Review: Where Did Noah Park the Ark?

Eran Katz. Where Did Noah Park the Ark? Ancient Memory Techniques for Remembering Practically Anything. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2010. 237 pages.

Book Review Friday is back! With a vengeance! And since I’ve read this book, and I can’t cite forgetfulness as an excuse for not posting book reviews here each Friday.

Everyone would like a better memory, right? In WHERE DID NOAH PARK THE ARK? memory expert Eran Katz promises to give you just that. He shares several techniques for memorizing lists of things, techniques that no doubt serve him in good stead in his career as a memory entertainer, and that may help you as well.

I’m not going to list all of the techniques, but mostly they involve creating associations between what you’re trying to remember and images. Some of them I’ve seen before, some not, and I can see how they’d all be useful.

But ultimately, is memorizing lists of things really going to help you? For some things, like shopping lists and remembering names at a party/meeting, I think these techniques are definitely useful. But do they give you a better understanding of what you’re remembering? I’m not sure they do.

For example, Katz talks about Cicero a great deal, in particular his De Oratore. Makes him seem pretty well-read. But then he lets something slip that suggests he really doesn’t know all that much about Cicero. Talking about the great orator giving a speech about maintaining horses, he says, “Certainly the masses of horses with colds and runny noses would be a disgrace to the Roman emperor.”

It’s the usual kind of “rimshot” punchline Katz uses, but think about what he just said: Cicero worried about what the “Roman emperor” would think. Wrong on two counts. First, Cicero was an advocate of republican government who strongly opposed the dictatorial tendencies of Julius Caesar, let alone an actual emperor. Second, Cicero was murdered by the Second Triumvirate before Octavian become emperor.

This seems like a minor point, and I don’t bring it up to quibble. But it shows the flaw in using memory shortcuts–you store, but don’t comprehend, the facts you’re memorizing. Katz talks about history classes requiring the memorization of “dusty dates.” I’ve never been in, or taught, a class like that. Studying history’s more about cause and effect, and understanding how things change over time. It doesn’t matter if you can’t remember the exact date that Cicero wrote De Oratore or how many pages it has; it matters than you remember that Cicero was a republican champion who lived in the last days of the republic.

So many of the “studying” techniques, IMHO, won’t work well for many disciplines. You need to understand who all the parts fit together, not just remember what they’re called.

In general, the book was entertaining, with heavy doses of humor throughout. There seems to be a lot of padding–it takes at least 30 pages to get beyond the author just telling you how nice it would be to have a good memory, and there way too many motivational passages larded throughout the work. And the author’s tone can be a bit…overbearing at times, particularly when he tells the reader we’ve all heard phrases likes ad hoc and modus vivendi, but never took the time to look up their meanings. Actually, I know what both those phrases mean, so he’s wrong. He follows this with more padding–“humorous mistakes” that kids have made on tests (which seem to be pinched from a 1931 Dr. Seuss book, no less).

So while I found the techniques to be interesting, and appreciate that having a better memory would be a good thing, there are quite a few elements that take away from WHERE DID NOAH PARK THE ARK?

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Where Did Noah Park the Ark?”

  1. This is a very good (and hugely funny too) analysis.

    I’d like to read this book to find out what the author means by saying “Ancient Memory Techniques”. I’d like to know if he cites where he found these ‘ancient’ techniques. Perhaps among the Dead Sea Scrolls or somewhere. Or Plato’s Memory-101 Course?

    By the way. The technique I’ve always used for ‘remembering’ the line-up of the Socrartes, Plato, Aristotle Team….is to use the word Spa (S-P-A).

    I remember my second grade teacher taught us a crazy trick for remembering how to spell “arithmetic”…by thinking about the initials of the weird story-image of ‘A Red Indian Thinks He Might Eat Tomatoes In Church’. A-R-I-T-H-M-E-T-I-C.

    A strange trick for sure…but it’s proved to be helpful.

    And anytime I’ve had to spell out the word ‘Encyclopedia’ I always sing the the Disney song in my head to….eee, nen, cee, yii, cee, ell, ooh,…pee, eee, dee, eye, aaa, as a ‘remembering tool’ and to jog my memory.

    In the sixth-grade, when they enrolled me into Evelyn Wood’s Speed-Reading School, an important section of the course dealt with the Memory Tricks of making vivid ‘association-images’.

    So, I’ve always used lots of strange ‘association-imagery’ to remember lots of basically useless facts.

    Example: Thinking of ERNEST Borgnine [in Mc Hale’s Navy TV Show] HEMMING his pants, on his WAY to a tropical island while driving his PT boat under a TOLL bridge. That crazy image helped me remember the ‘test question’ of: who wrote ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’?.

    I even used…and still use…such weird ‘association imagery’ for remembering the proper line-up of the planets in our solar system by thinking of THIS one strange image:

    A Small Man (= the initials for the Sun & Mercury) is sitting with ‘I Love Lucy’ while she’s making her VitaMeataVegamin commericial (I know…this might seem confusing but there is a twisted and useful logic to this).

    The thought of Lucy’s “Vitamins” allows me to remember the initials of VEM (for Venus, Earth, & Mars). THEN…I associate the TV Host Jan Murray [of the 1950s TV game show ‘Treasure Hunt’] with Lucy…to remember that the name Jan begins with the letter J (which stands for Jupiter).

    Then I think of the image of “Sun-Pee”, which allows me to remember that the Sun Peeing uses the initials S, U, N, P (which represent Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto).

    Even though this might seem weird, nuts, crazy, and possibly demented…the image of ‘a small man talking to Lucy and Jan, while the Sun is peeing’ allows me to easily remember the line-up of the 10 major solar objects in our local system.

    I won’t offer any more examples of ‘memory images’ for fear of being locked-up in a loony-bin…but I use lots of these odd memory tricks in my daily life. Although I don’t often need such tricks cuz I seem to have an amazing sense of memory already built into my skull.

    In fact…sometimes I remember way TOO MUCH stuff.

    As for this book analysis…I agree with the fact that remembering historical dates (etc) is not what the subject of History is about.

    And I also agree that “retention” is the main point of learning. Evelyn Wood’s made a big-deal of “retention” when it came to teaching Speed-Reading.

    As for ‘Where Did Noah Park The Ark’? I don’t know if the author gave the answer (or why he used that strange title).

    According to Armenian Lore…it was supposedly parked on top of Mount Ararat (the mountain under which my grandma, and most all old-school Armenians were born).

    Also according to Armenian lore…the dove that was sent out to see if the flood dried up, returned with an olive-leaf in his beak…which is why (by some strange twist of reasoning) Armenians consider Stuffed GRAPE-Leaves to sort of be their own Sacred Food.

    Ancient Lore can often be confusing. I’d imagine we are missing many important ‘missing pieces’ of many Stories of Old.
    ==========
    As for what I’ve been reading these last few weeks. I finished reading three books on how to use an I-Pad. Three books on how to use an I-Phone. One book on how to use an Android-Droid Phone. Two books on blogging (which I thought I gave up for good). And two books on using Photoshop.

    I intend to be ready-to-rock for whenever I finally get some type of Smart-Phone. If I don’t ‘keep-up’ with what’s going-on I might end up as a dinosaur in the Smart-Phone Culture.

    Other than those dry-manuals…I finished the book ‘How To Write A Damn Good Thriller’. It was very informative in teaching what good stories consist of (though I do not ever intend on writing a thriller).

    The last new-book I read is called ‘You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Break-Up’.

    There’s a lot of depressing info in that book on the 30 years the Beatles spent fighting in court. Learning this truth about the Beatles was hard to take. I preferred the ‘Beatles Myth’.

    Still. It’s good to have authors come along with the courage to break certain Historical Myths we allow to sink into our memory banks.

    I’ll always remain a Beatles’ Fan regardless. But it’s probably good that I now understand that the Beatles were as human and petty as the rest of us.

    Happy Book Friday.

  2. That’s one reason it would be difficult for me to be a grade-school teacher–I would provide the students with silly (effective) memory aids that I made up that morning, and the students would remember it forever, and associate it with me.
    I certainly have plenty of those silly memorized things as well, but I can’t recall any right now. When the situation arises they come back quickly, however.
    When I am in the book store, I will remember not to buy this Friday’s book.

  3. Yes Miss Schop. I would remember you forever.

    Just like I remember Mrs Matzell for telling us the Arithmetic Trick and Mrs. Treet (seriously…that was her name) for telling us to take off our coats in class, after coming in from the rain, so our body temperature would adjust properly.

    BTW. I have a strong hunch you already have a Smart-Phone. I need one really bad (or badly). I want to be able to see where I am on Google maps, know what the temperature is, blog or tweet from outside my room, etc. Maybe I’d even use it to make phone calls.

    BTW. They have some type of Las Vegas Comic Book Art exhibit at the UNLV museum this week or month. I think I remember hearing that you did art-work for Dave’s ‘Roll the Bones’ story.

    I think the UNLV exhibit is called ‘Drawing in the Dust’…but I don’t completely remember.

  4. One last BTW.

    I remember in Kinny-Garden that I had a very hard time learning the alphabet. The problem started when the teacher would say “Elemenopee”…as in L,M,N,O,P.

    I kept associating ‘elemenos’ with red “pimentos” (which I really disliked). I was completely baffled by the teacher saying ‘elemenopee’ so fast and running all the letters together and making it become incomprehensible to my little head.

    Seriously. If your kids ever become baffled (the same way I was)…understand that they might likely be over-thinking an issue or that they have some logical reason for reaching a road-block in learning something….or that a simple teaching-technique might be causing them some misery.

    I said before that I mistakenly thought that “elevators” were scary…and that I refused to step into one with my mom…because I associated the word “elevator” with “alligator”…and hence…thought my mom was nuts for trying to (so nicely) lead me into a potentially dangerous situation.

    That’s why I ran upstairs instead and would meet my mom on the third floor of J. C. Penny’s. I figured it was ‘every man (& woman) for himself’ and would dash off and climb the stars alone.

    It amazed me how my mom would exit the “elevator” unharmed. Still. I wanted nothing to do with entering an elevator for a long time.

    Another thing I could never really comprehend easily, when we lived in Germany, was “military time”. I was baffled beyond belief by having to be somewhere at “15 Hundred Hours” (3pm).

    I was crushed when my older brother got the hang of it so quickly and I couldn’t.

    Finally my step-dad told me to simply subtract 12 from the stated time…so “18 Hundred Hours” was actually 6 PM.

    It seemed crazy and idiotic to me to have to do subtraction in order to know what time things were supposed to happen.

    I’m still not certain why they even use ‘military time’ instead of AM & PM. I think it has something to do with avoiding foul-ups when bombing something.

    And when it came to trying to use a QUERTY keyboard on a typewriter…well, forget it. The arrangement made absolutely no sense to me. I was weeks behind every other student in the 10th grade and felt like a total idiot-loser because I couldn’t grasp this thing that everyone else found so easy to do.

    I finally drew a graph on paper using colored-pencils to show the vowels and the shift key…and scotch-taped it to the back of a cardboard board-game…and had to practice at home for weeks in order to overcome my ‘mental road-block’ to Querty-ism.

    I’m a fairly smart person…but I probably have 80 other examples of things it was hard for me to learn…while other people found them very easy.

    Which is probably why I’ve always turned to self-teaching in order to comprehend things ‘my own way’.

    Any time a teacher ‘rolled their eyes’ at my inadequacy (like in high-school biology)I would freeze-up completely and become a complete moron.

    Some teachers have a way of freezing certain students in their tracks.

    Thank goodness they have finally developed ‘computerized training’ for certain young students that get thrown off-track by human teachers or the politics of high-school.

    In high-school I was sort of the John Bender character (from The Breakfast Club). I got placed into a class with a Nazi-like teacher just like Breakfast Club’s Dick Vernon. He was the sole reason I decided to drop-out of 10th grade after just 45 days of his abuse.

    Thank goodness I eventually found a compassionate group of teachers, at a Continuation High, who let me be free enough to develop my own method of learning.

    Memories. lah-dah-dah, dah,dah, dee-aaa.

  5. I finally (after 53 years) just figured out why learning the alphabet was so hard for me.

    The teacher would sing us the Alphabet Song and us kids would follow along.

    I totally understood the concept of the ‘individual letters’ A-K and Q-Z.

    But I got completely thrown off-course by the teacher injecting the WORD “elemenopee” into the mix of individual letters.

    She thought she was being helpful when she would say “It’s easy Erik. It’s Elemenopee”. Meanwhile I was completely convinced that she was absolutely wrong. A word had no business being inside a group of individual letters.

    In a way….her weird teaching method followed me through-out my life, making me secretly doubt a lot of teachers that came after her.
    =================
    =================
    Sorry Dave…for my occasionally turning your gaming site into a psychiatric blog. But that’s the way it goes. No harm intended. {:>)

  6. No, no smart phone, no cell phone ever. I am nowhere near rich enough to afford one (other than Nevada SafeLink), and I have never bought the argument of “but what if it’s an emergency?” I’m quite self-sufficient, and for the few emergencies I have been in, a cell phone would have been useless, or taken away by the men in white.

    I don’t think the SafeLink offers smart phones (more like old-school Nokias, I think), but it is easy to qualify for one, if you want to look into it. I thought about this briefly because it has free international calls as well. (In case I felt like prank calling the Kremlin.) Free phone, free minutes, free texting, free international–and 184,000 Nevadans qualify for it!

    Oh yes, RTB artwork. I remember doing that. When I’m in LV again I’ll stop by the exhibit, or do something else similarly unorthodox that will fly in the face of the bungee-journalists’ superficial condemnations of Las Vegas.

  7. Very interesting. We are both cell-phone-less.

    As for me I don’t even have a regular house phone. Not even one with an old rotary dial. No TV either. An “emergency” developed (the Angle-Reed Debate) and I managed to find a public TV. I almost wished I hadn’t cuz I does not like politics one bit. All the politicians seem so super-immature to me.

    Sometimes I try watching HULU TV on my computer but the video lags about 2 minutes behind the audio. So…I imagine I’m listening to The Office show over the radio. It’s not quite as funny though.

    Later, Schop.

  8. Remembering the Pros & Cons of Technology:

    Last night I thought about the fact that neither Ms. Schopenhauer or I have cell-phones. I understand her views about not wanting or needing one. Yet, I do need one.

    Trying to find a phone to use is very hard for me. In this day and age a person (like me) does need the use of a phone…if only to call the utility companies (gas & electric) to make payment arrangements.

    Trying to find a pay-phone now-a-days is nearly impossible. They aren’t as prevalent as they once were, and the few I can find are usually broken or are only located in front of convenience stores and are usually surrounded by homeless guys who ask for handouts at the exact same time I’m trying to talk to someone over a device that I can barely hear through.

    Anytime I use a pay-phone I always remember a Fresno judge who stopped to use a pay-phone (in 1978) and got robbed and shot while doing so. Pay-phones can be danger zones.

    Pay-phones usually require the deposit of two quarters every three minutes. Since I don’t usually carry a pocketful of quarters – that can be a problem. Especially since most calls to utility companies involve about an 8 minute hold time and a frustrating maze of automated questions (“press 1 for English 2 for Spanish…etc).

    Another good reason for cell-phones is that if a person is driving a vehicle they need to be able to quickly call the police (if in an accident) or quickly call a towing service (if their car breaks down). Heaven forbid you run out of gas in the middle of a Las Vegas road and try to leave you car behind to go find an unbroken pay-phone and don’t have a pocketful of quarters.

    So. In this day and age…and especially in Las Vegas…it is almost considered mandatory for a person to at least have a regular cell-phone.

    Plus, when my mom needs to make a doctor appointment or call the pharmacy…she isn’t able to go out and contend the whole ‘pay-phone experience’.

    Yes. For me, cell-phones are highly required devices in this day and age.

    As for smart-phones..I see lots of great benefits to these new devices. They allow a person the ability to install thousands of highly helpful application-programs that are beneficial to the specific needs of their own lives.

    There is one application that can actually give voice instructions to blind people to enable them to walk longer distances by providing audio feedback while they are walking and trying to navigate city sidewalks.

    I read two books about (perhaps 5% of) the phone-apps that are now available. It is incredible to see so many helpful things available.

    There is one app that allows you to easily carry the entire bus and train schedules (to your specific town or city and entire state)…with computerized responses that can automatically compute the pick-up times and tranfers in a milli-second. That sure beats trying to carry a thick, 8×10 bus schedule book around with you.

    As for all the mapping apps. Well they are mind-blowing in their ability to help you find your way. They can inform a person on where they nearest hospitals, ATMs, mailboxes, radio stations…and even the closest Taco Bell are located.

    I remember the time me and a friend (and his wife and baby boy) got lost in the Fresno fog and drove miles (finally running out of gas) in a rural area…and having to walk miles to find a farm house farmer to tell us where we were. A smart-phone would have been a blessing to us then.

    But this same friend of mine is a guy who refuses to even get involved with computers. In fact…hardly any of my old friends (age 55 plus) use computers and seem to take some smug satisfaction in saying they are ‘computer illiterate’.

    This same friend wrote me a letter a year back and made a derogatory joke about people who use I-Phones. It was then that I realized how much difference there was in his and my current mind-sets.

    My friend is averse to computerized devices. Yet, he is a ‘map-freak’ and a ‘train fanatic’. If he knew of all the great train and mapping apps available on a Smart-Phone he would likely be having a darn good time using them. But he rejects the whole ‘smart-phone thing’ without even giving them 10 seconds of thought. Plus. He actually has the money to buy one…but won’t even consider it.

    A cell-phone gives a person the ability to carry a private pay-phone in their own pocket. And now…a smart-phone gives them the ability to carry an actual computer plus Internet service in their pocket.

    I’m not going to be a person that doesn’t acknowledge the benefit of THAT miraculous techno-development, simply cuz I can’t currently afford one. They are much more than simple gimmicky devices for playing music or texting your friends.

    They can show you maps and names of the stars directly over your head. Show a person the phases of the moon, the ocean tide schedules, or a pocketful of info (specific to your needs) thru thousands of amazing applications too numerous to list here.

    A smart-phone is not an un-necessary toy. The drawing and art applications (alone) are staggering in their usefulness and nothing to shrug off.

    Yet, I understand when people feel they have no need for new things or inventions.

    I remember when I worked at the IRS. Because they were a federal agency they could afford to buy new and modern devices for their employees to use. In 1974 they installed microwave ovens in all the break-rooms. I hardly had a clue about what they were…although I’d read about them, earlier, in magazines like Popular Science, etc.

    And Johnny Carson raved, on TV, about something he bought (for about $2,000) called a Radar Range (an early microwave device).

    I used to tell my friends and family about how cool I thought microwave ovens were. They’d never seen one and shrugged them off. I mentioned them to my dad and he said there was no way possible that cooking a steak or an egg in a microwave could be good.

    I tried telling people that microwaves weren’t actually for “cooking’…but simple re-heating things and zapping something hot. One friend of mine said the radiation would cause cancer.

    It’s hard to argue against such resistance. But…withing three years…by 1977 almost everyone was buying and using microwaves (and thenat the low cost of just $100-200 bucks instead of thousands. Now you can buy one for $60).

    There are good and bad things that can be attributed to microwave ovens.

    A person doesn’t have to dirty a frying pan trying to re-heat left-overs anymore. And they don’t have to throw-away a half eaten Burger King hamburger either.

    But…there were also (rarely noticed) shifts in family-culture because of microwaves. People no-longer had to sit down to a hot family meal together, at night, like was once a commonplace activity.

    Now. Everyone was able to use time-shifting to eat whenever they wanted…and usually that was at separate, individual times. The cultural benefits of Fanily Meals basically ‘bit-the-dust’.

    Its the same with cable TV. Once upon a time…families all sat and laughed and watched TV together. But with the advent of cable TV, and lower-priced TV sets, everyone was able to get their own TV set…with kids usually heading-off to their own bedroom TV.

    Cable TV brought huge cultural shifts that are rarely even acknowledged. The same even applies with the prevalence of the TV remote control.

    Few people even think about what a miraculous device a TV remote is…or that is wasn’t even widely used until cable TV companies made them so widely used after 1984.

    Sure. Remote control units had probably around since the mid-1950s…but few people actually had them. So for decades, people would simply turn on a TV channel and basically leave it on the same channel all night…or else use their kids (like me) and say “Erik. Change it to Channel 3”.

    Even when I had HBO in 1980…I had to get-up and walk to the converter box to switch the unit from ‘regular cable channels’ to the ‘premium channels’. Does anyone remember those channel A & B settings that were used for a few years in the Early Cable TV Days?

    So I thank Goodness for all these technological improvements. Changing TV channels used to be tiring. As was re-heating leftovers in a frying pan. Chinese food never tastes as good when reheated on the stove.

    I also recognize and realize the downsides of technology too. The ‘virtual world’ has nearly over-taken my life. I now worry more about cleaning and maintaining my hard-drive and computer files than I do about cleaning my office papers, bedroom, closet and even my van.

    Once upon a time I used paper notebooks to organize my thoughts and personal info. Now I hardly do that at all. And to tell the truth, my old ‘paper notebook system’ actually functioned better than my current computerized system.

    And once upon a time I used to do daily meditation involving deep breathing to slow down my heart and mind…and in-a-way…would go On-Line everyday to communicate with God.

    I no longer do that cuz I’m t0o busy surfing the Internet or Twittering.

    I’m the first to agree to the downsides of modern tech-devices. Most all of them involve hours spent studying ‘specifications’ before buying anything. And then hours of reading manuals before actually knowing how to fully use them.

    And every week it seems like there is something new and better coming along which society tells and convinces us we desperately need.

    Do I actually need a Google TV Net device…or 3-D TV? Not really. But in about 3 years nearly everyone will be using them.

    Does society really need automated-cars like the ones currently being tested by Google. Maybe not. But the day will come when all Las Vegas taxi companies will be using them and no longer needing to hire cab drivers.

    And maybe that will be considered a good thing…cuz many cab drivers can be rude, bossy or smelly long-haulers who just get on people’s nerves. Still. Other people will miss the days of having a good, old-fashioned cab driver they can talk to and tell their problems to.

    In automated cabs you’ll be able to ask the robot where a good show is and you’ll be instantly and automatically driven there. But you won’t be able to confide to the Robot Cab Car that your wife is divorcing you…or that you need some advice about how to keep your 15 year old daughter from getting a shoulder tattoo…or that you are dying in about three months from cancer and want to cry about it to some cab-driving stranger in the front seat.

    Yes. I agree that new technology isn’t always as necessary as we might think. I’m likely one of the few people still trying to find a proper balance between ‘regular human-life’ versus ‘robotic and computerized life’.

    It’s definitely an issue worth pondering. And maybe Schop has already figured out the best method of all, by avoiding the whole mess.

    Still. I want a new I-Phone. And an I-Pad too. Just so I can at least go net-surfing from the comfort of my couch, instead of sitting in this hard office-chair at this jack-azz computer desk of mine.

    And just for the sake of argument. Woulnd’t it be better if I got a TV to watch and quit annoying people, on Dave’s blog, with these long-winded (semi-rant, essays)? I think that point alone might show the benefits of Modern Tech. I could be out using my Smart-Phone…filling my time looking at Google Maps instead of writing stupid thoughts here.
    ==========

  9. You raise some good points about the (mostly) benefits versus (few) downsides to “technology.” All technology has the sole purpose of making our lives easier, from the wheel to the recurve bow to the telegraph.

    The trouble arises when human beings take the current state of ease of living for granted–as you said, we all eventually use the new gadgets despite the initial resistance–and then get *upset* when their state is not as easy as it used to be (or is not getting easier at the same rate it was before). All we are doing is striving to suffer less, and fend off boredom; but unfortunately the world is not safe and entertaining by default. They will never satisfy that vague desire using only the fruits of a technologically-advanced society. Using the light from within, a person can recognize that they had been blindly striving; acknowledge the desire; and move on to something more philosophically meaningful.

    I think you’ve mentioned your railfanning friend before. I have watched some of the videos those guys make… very obsessive.

    It seems the SafeLink might be a good option, especially since you have no land line; but maybe if you’re going to stoop to having a regular phone you might as well buy it (honorably) at 7-11. That’s the last plug I’ll give for Nevada SafeLink! If you can get yourself an iPhone, more power to you! You’ll have to let us know when your comment here is from a phone!

  10. I think you’ve hit on a very important point, and you may not have realized it. When you talk about Katz’s techniques for memorization not lending itself to comprehension I can’t help but think about how that applies to our current educational system. As a teacher, and a recent graduate I find that researched and proven methods though taught to teachers for use in the classroom are often cast aside and old traditional methods are used instead.

    Traditional methods are fine if you are one of the brighter crayons in our societal box of crayons and able to make connections freely, but if you are not a yellow you may never make the necessary connections being taught through traditional methods. Instead, like Katz (not that I’m implying he is not bright), you may remember things without understanding the relevence of your knowledge and how it applies in the context.

    This is our current educational dilemna. By trying to teach entirely too much content within an unreasonable amount of time, and then test children (which cuts into the already unreasonable amount of time) on this vast array of curriculum. Most children find themselves having to memorize information in a way that is not able to be applied to the context of the field from which they are being taught, let alone even remembered past the exam. Then we wonder why children do worse on content tested on standardized exams in high school than they did in middle and elementary school. What good is knowing “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” if you don’t know when to use it, or what it is for?

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