Saturday, 10 January 2015

Memorising facts a much-needed skill?

Tony Hancock, in his famous "Half-hour" on the radio, asked whether Magna Carta had any significance, and had "she died in vain?" This clearly would have upset the schools minister, Nick Gibb, not to mention a certain Michael Gove,but I`m not convinced that memorising historical facts correctly, all British, is one of the "skills that employers demand" because they are "vital to a modern global economy", as Gibb stated in a recent article in the Independent newspaper. (The getting of knowledge) Is evaluation really an "amorphous skill" when it can be shown how its acquisition enables students to analyse, distinguish truth from propaganda, and detect when information is being asserted rather than backed with empirical evidence. 
   It`s obvious why Tory and Ukip nationalists want to see it banished from the classroom, but most of us prefer the idea of pupils reaching conclusions after scrutinising the evidence, not learning by rote. 

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