US curriculum is one of the worst ways of “grading” one’s intellect. We use these ideas of memory and mimicking to prove ones worth on the academic battlefield. This brings rise to many flaws in the system and problems occurring in American teens. The most beneficial way to fix a broken system, such as the US educational system, is to switch the curriculum in a way that shows our knowledge on a subject by excelling in applying the knowledge in a way best fit for the student whether that be a project or research paper or real life application.
Ben Orlin, author of “When Memorization Gets in the way”, explains “Some things are worth memorizing–addresses, PINs, your parents’ birthdays. The sine of π/2 is not among them. It’s a fact that matters only insofar as it connects to other ideas. To learn it in isolation is like learning the sentence “Hamlet kills Claudius” without the faintest idea of who either gentleman is–or, for what matter, of what “kill” means…”. Memorizing is an important tool and a base to all knowledge but it isn’t good for growing in knowledge. Knowing a fact will help you know a concept but to understand it is to be able to apply it.
Memorization also causes stress in teens that can lead to things like cheating or a lack of wanting to learn. We strip general curiosity from our youth at such a young age and teach them its not important but we must we able to sit and learn facts we could look up in a minute. Teens our trained to only do what is necessary to get the grade and this is what can lead to cheating. Author of “I Cheated All throughout High school” states, “Sixty to 70 percent of high-school students report they have cheated. Ninety percent of students admit to having copied another student’s homework.” This is coming from a valedictorian of said high school, who claims to have cheated all throughout. He didn’t feel he was being tested on his knowledge just his trivial facts he had accumulated. I think the best way to rid US schools of this is to replace mindless testing with real world application in a way the student sees best fit. Of course they will have to demonstrate some form of mastery and effort but it allows students to rebuild the love for learning they lost and personalizes the learning for the student.