What we’re taught at school

10 03 2012

Last weekend I was at my parents and mum had dug out a whole load of my old primary school work for me to go through and decide what was worth keeping and recycle the rest.

I spent most of the Saturday reading through science, history and geography stuff from junior school, and found some of it really interesting, it was like reading it for the first time!

Which begs the question my mum asked – what’s the point in teaching those things at school? Who honestly remembers all the facts they learn about the Romans or the names of the muscles or different settlement types?

There’s obviously value in methods and processes like maths and English, things that are life skills. But random facts – was that really worth the effort they put in?!

It was interesting to read it all, don’t get me wrong, but I barely remembered any of it! Maybe it’s just me…

Do you remember those things you learnt at school?



3 responses

12 03 2012

They have to teach you all that stuff because you never know what will stick and what will go. I can still remember the description of a bessemer converter for smelting steel, hydrocarbon molecular structures, Brighton Rock (lousy book) techniques for technical drawings in 3D, how Oxbow lakes are formed etc etc. Someone else who did all the lessons at the same time would probably have remembered different stuff, more applicable to them. It’s also about trying to give you a rounded understanding of the world so that you *can* specialise later, making choices based on real preference and ability, rather than just fancying being an engine driver or nurse because it sounds exciting.

It’s much easier for me to understand this now I’m 50 than when I was 16 or even 25.

12 03 2012

You make a good point! I definitely remember how oxbow lakes were formed, and actually quite a bit to do with the water cycle because every year of secondary school geography started with the water cycle! every. single. year.

25 03 2012
Blue Eyes

I agree with Toni. And I would go so far as to say that I don’t think it’s important if you remember nothing from school! I think they teach you all those things so that you can begin to understand how big the world is. Not simply in a physical or geographical sense, but in terms of time and people and culture and everything. I think when you’re little (or at least when I was little), I thought life was about me. And I grew up a bit and I thought it was about my family. And then I grew a bit more and thought it was about my school, my friends, my town, my country. The things they teach you at school are to show you that the world is so much bigger than that. Life is about so much more than just me. It’s about the Romans, the Greeks, WW2, the Aral Sea, the invention of the steam train and the telephone, the royal family and so much more.

I don’t remember all that much of what I was taught, but I remember enjoying learning and I remember wanting to learn more and reading lots and I think that has stayed with me. If teachers can make learning fun and interesting when you’re young then I think that stays with you for the rest of your life.

But they’re just my thoughts…so whatever!


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