Gove argues that "memorisation is a necessary precondition of understanding". He says: "Only when facts and concepts are committed securely to the working memory, so that it is no effort to recall them and no effort is required to work things out from first principles, do we really have a secure hold on knowledge. "Memorising scales, or times tables, or verse, so that we can play, recall or recite automatically gives us this mental equipment to perform more advanced functions and display greater creativity. "And the best way to build memory, as Willingham explains, is by the investment of thought and effort – such as the thought and effort we require for exam preparation and testing."The first part is wrong. Memorizing is NOT the necessary platform for clear thinking. Clear observation is the prerequisite for clear thinking. Facts are things you can acquire later in life, after you are able to think clearly enough to distinguish sense from nonsense. Observe the world first, learn to make conclusions and prove conclusions from your observations. After you master those skills, you'll be prepared to examine facts with a trained bullshit detector. You won't simply absorb what your television throws at you. Facts are unquestionably needed for some disciplines, but primary school is not the proper time to acquire them. By the time you start work, the facts you picked up in primary school will be obsolete, disproved or forgotten. The second part is uncontroversial. Just good standard teaching practice. If you need to master rote facts, time on task is the key. Use the facts in various contexts, run them through your voice and hands repeatedly. Muscle memory. = = = = = Utterly irrelevant sidenote: I probably have an odd reaction to Gove because he looks EXACTLY like the actor in local commercials for Northern Quest Casino. Those commercials pop up every time I try to watch local news videos online, so the actor's face is thoroughly familiar. When I see a picture of Gove, I can't help thinking "Hey! He just finished getting drunk and blowing all his savings at the Casino! What's he doing in England?"
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.