What we know is not what we teach

A typical school year.  Of the 365 days in a year the school is open 280 days.  In a typical middle school, the average period of forty to fifty minutes contains three new pieces of information.  That believe it or not is all the students can handle.  So, a typical lesson on the American Revolution would contain that it was the colonist who eventually fought the British.  That in Boston there was the dumping of the tea into Boston Harbor That there was a Boston Massacre.  Possibly mentioned would be Crisps Attacks, John Addams, and Benjamin Franklin.  That the time was around 1773 and there were some colonists who really favored being ruled by Britain.  Possibly the Lexington march might be mentioned.

Now for the kicker.  If you have a child who is or was in the seventh grade, ask them to tell you about any of these events.  I bet if I asked the average person on the street about these events they would be hazy on the facts.  We tend to learn by doing things repeatedly.  If the information on these events have just been stored in our brains and not brought up to consciousness they will fade and become distorted.  Even the question of which came first the Boston Tea Party or Massacre will send one to the history books.  The sad thing is this is what we base our democracy on and it has been obliterated to just a mere mention. 

We could wait until high school to get more but the drop out rate is so high that the average student avoids the information.  Add to that that the cell phone, I pad and the rest of the material the students bring to a high school class gets the attention and not curriculum. 

I used to spend a lot of time getting the lessons more interesting, but the average teacher just goes by the book because of the core principle.  And the core principle is as dry as old bones.  Remember what is not interesting is avoided.  Remember that a student will buy the abridge version of Moby Dick rather than read the whole story.  Remember CGI is now believed to be real.  Many children believe there is an Aqua man out there.  That Thor existed and had that hammer.  That there is a master criminal out there like the Joker.  Fake becomes reality and reality becomes distorted.

In “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” one of the reporters will not print the truth of what happened because the fiction was so entwined into folklore that people would not believe it.



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