Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why students should memorize dates

This post isn't in in line stated subject of this blog, but I'm not about to make another blog just to post this, so there.

Knowledge of dates is, primarily a tool for the organization of facts. While dates are arbitrary in themselves---for a given event might have fallen the day before or after on chance---when assigned to a collection of events they provide the basis for chronology which then allows for notions of logical progression and from there a story – the most persistent structure for human memory storage. Nassim Taleb’s denunciations of the human fixation on story-making aside, if we want students to learn history, they need, as in all other areas of learning, a meaningful framework on which they can seat new ideas. Stories provide such a framework, and dates are instrumental to their formation when the parts of those stories, given piecemeal in books and lectures, must be put back together.