Making Every Lesson Count

School’s a waste of time, many students think. Yeah, teachers can drum their sales pitches into thick skulls, but how can that succeed when so much teaching seems unessential to their lives — now or in the future. So why not do the grand experiment and find out, once and for all, how long does anybody really retain information put on tests? A year? A month? A week? A day? I’d hope we all remember more than the skills and methods that progressively build, like the arithmetic on which later math depends. But I doubt it. Find out. Test teens about what was taught in elementary school, college students about high school, 30 year olds about everything. Then, seriously, when it becomes clear most teaching and testing is like dust in the wind, it’ll be time to pare down curriculums, the tedium and the chore, and really focus on the few things we all should know. Overcome the cycle of brain-rinse and repeat. Teach less, repeat it more. Demand mastery. Three grades: A, B and Do-over. Creates a real incentive — high marks mean more recess or free time … so-so grades mean another round of pencil pushing.  With less workload, school might also be more fun.

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