Are We Really Learning?

The concept of school and education is to learn and teach children important information for their futures. We claim to prepare students for their future endeavors and to enter the “real world”. Although, the “real world” involves activities and concepts such as taxes and bills while most higher education institutions do not offer a mandatory personal finance class. The most essential tasks for the “real world” are often not taught in school. Most importantly, the skill of critical thinking and learning has evaded our education system.

Students have adopted the technique of memorization and regurgitating the information in order to receive a high mark on their exam. Although this tactic can be successful, students are not learning. Students memorize the information solely for the purpose of the exam but completely forget the material the following week. At the end of day, students are missing crucial information that are necessary for higher education and adulthood. As a student, I find that we are not learning the techniques to solve the equation but are simply memorizing the steps to find the answer.

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In this way, you cannot apply a technique to different equation or as you progress in higher level courses. Similarly, one cannot solve a complex puzzle through memorization but by applying previous knowledge and critical thinking. Although memorizing is an important skill to have, simply memorizing and regurgitating information for an exam can implicate your grades and future success in education. Material that you may have forgotten from a few exams ago may be central in an upcoming chapter. Learning is a skill that reaches beyond the bounds of the school doors and we must know how to learn and think critically in order to succeed in the “real world”.

Although grades are important, our schools and education systems should value the concept of learning over the race for superior grades. Today, students value the number or letter on their report card rather than the concepts and material they learn daily. Students no longer enjoy or value learning or school because of the consistent pressure for good grades. Critical thinking and learning are skills that are vital to daily life and should be taught and valued in the education system rather than put before letter grades.