puzzle pieces of the brain March 3

Remembering vs. Understanding


I don’t teach history, but I’ve always been a bit of a history and trivia buff. So, just for fun, I recently decided I wanted to memorize all the U.S. presidents in order. For the early presidents, I use a mnemonic that I learned in elementary school: Washington And Jefferson Made Many A Joke” which refers to Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, Jackson.

April 12, 2013

Moving up Bloom’s Taxonomy in an Introductory Course: What’s Being Done


The content of many courses is too focused on the facts—those details that students memorize, use to answer test questions, and then promptly forget. That criticism has been levied against many introductory college-level courses, especially by those of us who think faculty are too focused on covering content. But is it a fair criticism? Do introductory courses ignore the higher-level thinking skills, like those identified on the Bloom taxonomy? Is the evidence empirical or anecdotal?

November 11, 2010

Memorization: It Isn’t All Bad


All memorization is not bad. It can be a tool that leads to understanding. It opens the door to knowledge. Sometimes even rote memorization is a necessary first step. If you’ve got it in your mind, even though you may not understand it fully or at all, its relevance, connection, and value is there to be discovered, provided it moves from short-term memory (where most things memorized by rote are stored) to long-term memory.