IN HIS FANTASTIC BOOK, Elements of Eloquence, Mark Forsyth gives us this wonderfully vivid example of how we use complex knowledge instinctively, without ever having been taught “the rules”.
NOT ONE TEACHER would disagree that teaching and assessing students this English-word-order rule would be counterproductive; being redundant, complicating, burdensome, and consequently a grand waste of everyone’s time and effort.
KNOWLEDGE-BASED LEARNING, with a focus on testing the memorisation of a selection of facts, does not effectively prepare young people for work and life. It makes busy fools of students and teachers with homework and assessment, stealing valuable time from critical and creative thinking activities, while also adding significant and unnecessary stress.
WHY WASTE TIME in school, learning how to spell “subordinating conjunction”, when we could be having fun playing with subordinating conjunctions?
WHATEVER YOUR PERSPECTIVE on the purpose of education, whether it’s to “succeed-in-the-economy” or be “prepared-for-adult-life”, you instinctively know (though nobody taught you):
It’s not what you know, but what you do with what you know, that makes the difference.