Thursday, September 06, 2001

Committed to memory

My daughter is the flash-card queen. If you can put it on a flash-card, she can learn it. Math facts, vocabulary words, the continents of the world or the planets in the solar system, rote memorization is the name of her game.

Spontaneous thinking and comprehension, not so much.

We’ve given her a fair amount of remediation for reading comprehension and abstract thinking, which she has taken amiably enough but not acheived any blazingly successful results at. She just plods on, getting what she can, not getting what she can’t.

I’m coming to feel that, rather than throwing more time and money and effort at her weaknesses, we should be helping her use her strengths to compensate for them. But how? There are tons of books and classes and resources for improving your reading comprehension, but nothing to tell you how to effectively pretend like you understand. Maybe an acting class?

Maybe, if she rote memorizes the whole book, word for word, she’d have something to say about it?

Maybe not. She can memorize addition facts but stand slack-jawed in the face of a story problem. If she memorized the book and was then asked a question about it, she’d be stuck spouting lines, and they’d likely be the wrong ones.

There should be a way, though, shouldn’t there? Many people go through life without a proven ability to think on their feet; shouldn’t you be able to go through elementary school?

Flash cards. What we need here are more flash cards.

No comments: