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Memorization

one1ofeachone1ofeach 113 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Something @mairlodi said in the homework thread for me thinking. She/he (sorry I’m not sure!) said their son observed that kids used to memorizing everything were struggling. I have been surprised by the amount of memorization my son has been expected to do. He comes from a school, that for all its many faults, wasn’t big on memorization. They taught much more in a way where you engage with material and then get tested. My son was memorizing a chart of verb endings and said he had no idea how to even use them yet So he had to just straight up memorize them. Same thing in science. Term quiz but they’ve barely talked about stuff, not done any labs, so the kids have to just plain memorize because they haven’t had time to actually engage with the material and learn it in a natural way. This is a disappointment.

Has anyone heard about the study they did at lawrenceville? Where they gave kids final exams at the end of the year and the average grade was a B or higher. Then gave the same kids the same test at the start of the next school year and the average grade was an F. Pretty cool study. Pretty brave of them to publish it. I am quite sure this is how my child is currently learning.
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Replies to: Memorization

  • mairlodimairlodi 53 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I just heard about this study on the radio last night while I was driving in the car, and made a note to myself to look it up later!

    I should clarify, though, that in my post in the HW thread, what my child meant was that the kids he knew from middle school who got excellent grades by indiscriminately memorizing everything they were assigned to read are struggling with the HW load in BS (different BSs) because they just don’t have the time to memorize everything they are assigned to read anymore. The volume they are being assigned to read is higher. My child suspects these kids, who were often up very late in middle school, doing this “memorize everything” technique, didn’t really learn how to read quickly for the big picture and then spend more time on the important parts, as needed, and maybe disregard the not-so-important parts.

    It’s too early in the year to figure out how it will all turn out for these kids, though.

    My child does not seem to be doing a lot of memorizing so far in BS. I think most of their history and English grades are from short and long writing assignments, rather than from tests of facts, although I am not completely sure about that. My child is a STEM kid so math and science have always been more about understanding and problem solving than memorizing for him.

    I think foreign language always has more memorization involved, whether it be vocabulary or conjugations or spelling, etc. I can say that I remember almost nothing about the foreign language I studied in school, up to an AP level, and cannot speak or understand it anymore.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39282 replies7021 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited September 20
    I think most of their history and English grades are from short and long writing assignments, rather than from tests of facts, although I am not completely sure about that.
    That's pretty standard at BS. History is more about big ideas, cause/effect, etc. Understanding the reasons for WWI is more important than remembering the name if the archduke who was assassinated.
    I think foreign language always has more memorization involved, whether it be vocabulary or conjugations or spelling, etc.
    That's going to be the case for the beginning levels. But once you get to higher levels, it is important for students to know that for modern languages these are not courses in translation. The HW goes a lot faster (and if more effective) if when reading, you get in the Spanish (or French or Chinese, etc) mindset and read to get the gist instead of looking up every single word in the dictionary. If you come across the same word multiple times, then look it up and memorize it.
    I can say that I remember almost nothing about the foreign language I studied in school, up to an AP level, and cannot speak or understand it anymore.
    Like anything else, it's use it or lose it. Unless you're now in the field, it's unlikely you remember much from chem or calc either.
    edited September 20
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38463 replies2107 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Yes, my daughter has found that she got rusty in Spanish pretty quickly, even after studying abroad in Spain in high school and traveling to Peru a couple of summers in a row. She's hoping to study or work in a Spanish-speaking country after college graduation so she can remain somewhat fluent.
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  • mairlodimairlodi 53 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @skieurope I can only speak for myself but although I don’t remember calculus and beyond, I can still do even challenging math problems up through precalculus. I know this from looking at my kids’ math stuff. Although I don’t use math in my career and haven’t studied math since my freshman year in college, I was (am) a STEM person and understood math and didn’t just memorize it. Even what I don’t remember, I can derive most of or figure it out with a little time.

    My spouse, on the other hand, hasn’t been able to help our kids with math since late elementary school, and studied the same amount of math I did in college. My guess is that spouse memorized a lot of math and promptly forgot it.
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  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 266 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I remember calculus :) Just brushed off my old Spivak textbook and spent a little time reminiscing....
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39282 replies7021 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    mairlodi wrote: »
    @skieurope I can only speak for myself but although I don’t remember calculus and beyond, I can still do even challenging math problems up through precalculus.
    That's why I specifically mentioned calculus; many concepts from before calc are used in everyday life. I was a STEM major as well, but I'm hard pressed to think when I've needed Euler's Method in my day-to-day activities.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1049 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    As mentioned above, the memorization does help in lower levels of foreign language - but really knowing the rules of conjugating verbs is important, as well as past tense, future tense, etc.

    Overall, Kiddo (who used to rely on memorization) claims that most of the tests/exams rely on synthesizes and applying concepts. Do not be surprised if you get a math, physics, chem problem that looks nothing like what you did in class. Perhaps, there is a bit more memorization in Biology.

    Per the comment above, you must use it or lose it....That is why I can only shop & eat in Germany and France. Hey, that’s pretty good!
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  • confusedaboutFAconfusedaboutFA 27 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Current Lawrenceville student here. I have heard of the study, but I've noticed something very interesting: In the first few weeks of school (I'm a freshman), we've had a heavy focus on study skills and methods of studying. The first week of Cultural Studies (History) was essentially just about study skills, during IBES (Biology) we used a study about methods of studying used by university students as an example for learning experimental design, and just this Monday, during form meeting, a teacher came in and did a presentation about learning and memory to the entire grade. I think they've realized what's going on, and are trying to prevent results like of that study from repeating.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5731 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I recall at DS' school that they did an extended project in sophomore year to allow each student to examine and reflect on the various ways they learned. I think it was called Thinking Across Disciplines, and it was both about how you learn and how to use what you learn.
    But on the first point, no single method works for everything.

    It was many years ago, but I still clearly remember a girl articulating the "discovery " of how she needed to adjust how she was approaching photography. She was an excellent, high-achieving student and her "power through" approaches that worked in other subjects were proving frustrating and less than successful. But as she had worked thru that, she was also realizing that there might be benefits to using that approach for other things. Definitely interesting to see this kind of mindfulness applied in this way.
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  • CTMom21CTMom21 444 replies2 threadsRegistered User Member
    The superstar, straight-A students probably wouldn’t have the need or opportunity to do a full neuropsychological evaluation as is used to diagnose ADHD and learning disabilities (a bit more involved than the “doctor’s notes” that purportedly get kids extra time on standardized tests). However, it’s an extremely illuminating assessment that identifies very specific skills and learning attributes (e.g., processing speed, numeric memorization ability vs verbal memorization, so many that I can’t remember) — something that would best useful for every student. I wish I had had that kind of insight as a student.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4254 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Get this book. It's an oldy but a good one. https://www.abebooks.com/Memory-Book-Harry-Lorayne-Ballantine-Books/30433031303/bd?cm_mmc=ggl-_-US_Shopp_Trade-_-used-_-naa&gclid=Cj0KCQjww7HsBRDkARIsAARsIT6-vC1ayN27DkBwxKdJS8AtkWXMvUtPMViLuybWUA2iIOahKpqTGjUaAvrTEALw_wcB

    It really works. Got me through medical school. Plus doing knowing the United States backwards is a fun party trick.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5256 replies240 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    A great read on memory is Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer:
    An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes." He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author's own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

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