Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Why Facts and Education Matter 

This afternoon our grandson, age 10 months, spent some time with us. I play piano and one of our sessions was my playing and his "accompanying" me. It was a delightful time. While talking with his mom, she made the following observation, "I hated practicing piano when I was a kid. I didn't like having to learn all that stuff. But I've realized since, that what I learned has helped me in ways I never imagined. And, I can read music."

We have listened to so many people question why they have to learn math facts, a foreign language, science and history facts. There are two reasons: first, we cannot begin to develop critical thinking skills without facts; second, our brain files the facts. Once learned, the fact is "always in there" whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Our brains draw on these facts when needed, again whether we know it or not. Then our brain uses these facts with current data to help us make decisions.

We are severely handicapping our children when we refuse to make them learn facts.