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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I've been telling my students for years that the reason we need to study history is to be able to understand the future. It's our crystal ball without the mumbo jumbo. I usually quote Confucius: "In order to divine the future one must first study the past."
Today I was reading the We're only human blog put out by Psychological Science Magazine. They had an article about researching why we need memory and what makes us or helps us remember things. In order to test for this aspect of the human psyche they based their experiment on this premise: The only value of remembering the past is in illuminating the present or predicting the future. 

I particularly found it interesting that long term memory (though they didn't call it that in this study) is tied into survival. When they tested survival memory against all the mnemonic techniques for remembering that survival prevailed.

Now if we could just get our students in school to realize that what they are learning is just as much about physical, political, and economic survival as say being able to throw a football, shoot a basketball or hit a baseball we might have more avid learners.


Unknown said...

I completely agree, p. m. Having escaped a dilapidated city in Ohio where the people's spirit is dead, the libraries are cutting staff and hours and high schools no longer allow rehearsal space for bands, acting, or even sports, I wonder how anything functions. I have a surprisingly large number of friends who are high school teachers who tell me they can't even enjoy teaching with all of their restraints. Within all of this frustration, I don't even know how you do it! I admire your guts. Maybe there will be a way through this that we can grasp so that learning is fun again and kids will love their teachers as I did.

P M Prescott said...

Education is facing a real crisis, one orchestrated by the Republicans. This election will determine the fate of public education.