Lately, I have had an obsession with learning about the human brain and why it functions the way it does. Particularly, how and why our brains learn and remember.
What I have found is that people do not learn well when they are forced to. Studies have shown that when one is forced to learn something, they forget nearly ninety-five percent of what they learned just three days later. This is the reason standardized testing is widely criticized around academia. It forces students to learn something they don't care about in order to pass a pointless test which they also don't care about. This leads to an emphasis on regurgitating information, as opposed to truly understanding it.
So, what is the best way to learn something? The answer is more obvious than you might think. You must be genuinely curious about what you are learning. The same study mentioned earlier in this article found that when people were learning something they actually cared about, they retained five times the information! That's truly astounding!
I have learned so much from my recent studies. I have learned that the most important thing about teaching is to light a fire of genuine curiosity within the heart of the student. Once a teacher has done that, their students will ask better questions, retain more knowledge, and truly better themselves as people.
I look forward to lighting a fire within my students at BigAppleSchool!