The Fallacy of Event.

I am not terribly comfortable with labelling, and that includes, you may be surprised to know the progressive/traditional labels. If pushed, admittedly only gently, I would say I am in the traditional camp. But I do think that there is a fundamental error made by some techniques used by some to support learning.

One which I am considering in this blog is that of the event. It is clear that we do remember well exciting and dramatic events. I still remember sliding down the road when my Lambretta scooter slid on the ice-covered road and I only stopped when the scooter hit the kerb. I was fine and my machine was scraped a little and had lost some paint. I can remember lots of detail such as the person who came to my aid, very shocked. I can remember I was wearing my parka over my helmet and that I was grateful for the law that required me to protect my brain by wearing a crash helmet.

I do have a very vivid memory of the slide.

The fallacy is to assume that because I have such great recall of the event that learning can be enhanced by attaching to an event. I don’t think many teachers would slide a child down the road to teach them history. But some do plan dramatic events on the fallacious assumption that to remember the event meant=ns the details to be learned will also be remembered. Just because the event is so vic=vid does not mean all the elements surrounding the event will be remembered or remembered accurately. For example, I do not know if the concerned passer-by was male or female. I don’t know what colour the scooter was and how much paint was scraped off. And I do not know what I do not remember even though the unremembered did happen during the event.

Episodes will be remembered but the stuff to be learned is left too much to chance.


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