Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Not smarter than 5th graders or 2 year olds

Yipes, it's been a month since I posted.

I was just referred to this video from a design blog I read: 2 year old identifies the world. I don't normally post Youtube videos, but this was remarkable.

All the commenters to that video (and I) were so impressed that a 2 year old could identify so many countries, and many commenters noted that she knew more than they did. Statements like that make me wonder what is wrong with us, if as educated adults, we can't do things children do? Think about shows like "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?" (Ironically hosted by You Might Be A Redneck If's Jeff Foxworthy). What does this mean about our country? Is this just a U.S. thing? Many of the commenters were from other countries too.

Isn't this about more than just geography? Shouldn't we be ashamed that our knowledge is so poor? While rote memorization is helpful, I know it isn't the marker of all knowledge.

I'm disturbed when the community college students I work with place into Arithmetic as their "college" math. ARITHMETIC? Often these students have taken high school algebra and much higher, yet they didn't retain the information. That is a problem to me.