Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Pitiful!

We are sitting here watching Jay Leno, and he is hosting the "Battle of the Jaywalk All-Stars." While watching it makes me laugh, I can't help but being appalled and dismayed at the pure ignorance of these young people that he puts on. If they had a lick of sense, they would and should be horribly embarrassed at their lack of basic knowledge of geography, history, and science. Things that everyone should know, like who was Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln, are way beyond these kids. They think that Alaska is an island and that it's all the same as Canada. They don't know the three states in which water exists. And they just laugh when their ignorance is pointed out to them. I have seen others, including older adults, exhibit such ignorance on the show in the past, too.

It all makes me, a retired teacher, wonder what is actually being taught in school these days, but I actually know. The questions asked were basic elementary facts. I taught them myself many times, although I figured they would have to be taught more than once before it sank in. When I was a child in elementary school, we learned the multiplication tables by third grade as a matter of course. By fourth grade, I could identify all the states and their capitals. By fifth, I could identify at least half of the U.S. presidents. This was all memorized information that took a lot of practice before being imprinted on my memory. However, once I knew them, they were mine for life. I tried to emphasize this to my own kids and to my students, but it was like pulling teeth to get them to learn anything that they had to memorize. You had to make a game of it, and they still might not learn. Why learn multiplication facts when there are calculators? Why learn geography or history facts if you can look them up on the internet? Well, one reason why is so that you don't end up on Jay Leno looking like a complete idiot! Maybe this stuff is considered trivial to learn these days and of not much use in everyday life, but old person that I am, I still think there is value in learning to memorize certain facts. If you have kids, please don't give up when they don't want to put forth the effort to memorize facts. Keep at them if you can. After all, they may end up on "The Tonight Show" one of these days! Life, in spite my rant, is good...

3 comments:

alissasanderson said...

If it's any consolation to you, I've seen those segments (and many like them on other shows) and not only do I almost always know the answers, my kids know alot of them, too.

Andy, on the other hand, really did think you needed a boat to get to Alaska. And that the "English" and the "British" spoke different languages...

Judy said...

Nancy, I agree with you completely. I had a high school English teacher that made us memorize a poem a day. I still remember those poems and their authors. It amazes me, too, how dumb some of the kids are today.

"ain't I smart?" in FL said...

Hmmmmm...the three states in which water exists....Uh....I'm thinking Utah.....Florida....and ummmm...Nevada!!!!