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Education is Not Memorization

tashapenwellhockingcollege profile image TASHA PENWELL Originally published at linkedin.com ・3 min read

Education is not a memorization game.

I don’t think I really understood that until last year. It was through a combination of reading Rewiring Education by John D. Conch and entering the field of academia as a full-time educator that I understood the truth in that statement.

  • Education is not about memorization.
  • Education is not about reciting facts.
  • Education is not about training to simply exist within a company.

What is Education?

  • Education is about understanding.
  • Education is about curiosity.
  • Education is about lifelong learning.

A quality education is not determined by grades alone. The merit of an education is found when your student has that sound of excitement in their voice. Where the understanding of concepts and future potential comes together. Most importantly, education is about failure.

Despite all the books and resources we have at our disposal as educators or students — it’s with the failures we face in our projects, our assignments, our work that understanding comes and THAT is education. With the emphasis on grades we are training ourselves and students to fear failure. It’s in that fear of being wrong that education is stifled and passion, curiosity and understanding suffers.

You can’t do today’s jobs with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.
~George W. Bush

While reading Rewiring Education I learned that the structure we find today was part of Horace Mann’s efforts to provide adequate training in the K-12 sector. This structure was created to train students to succeed in the jobs during the Industrial Revolution. The students were taught for the time they were in — but times have changed.

The training during the era of the Industrial Age filled the need but those needs have since transformed. The employers of today and tomorrow are no longer looking for those who can memorize and work in automation. Today’s employers are seeking out our students to be curious and to grow in possibilities.

To borrow from two of the leadership tenets from one of today’s largest and most successful organization:

Learn and Be Curious Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.

Bias for Action Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.

The full list of Amazon’s Leadership Principles inspire what our employers are looking for today and tomorrow which leads me to my next book.

The book that sits on my desk today is Ahead in the Cloud by Stephen Orban. In the book, there’s a quote that I find fitting for not only the culture of Amazon and Amazon Web Services but for the transformation in education. You can’t do today’s jobs with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow. ~George W. Bush

Our world has changed since the industrial age. Companies are faster, smarter and require not automation from their employees but thinkers to grow.

The resources are out there. As an educator I’m regularly looking for new ideas to share the wealth of knowledge to students in my hometown and beyond. To borrow from Reshma Saujani and her belief of “failing forward”, here are my personal recommendations to fail, understand and success.

AWS Educate

Girls Who Code

CS First with Google

There are plenty of resources beyond those. Find the one that inspires you and your class to fail with a smile.

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