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According to my parents (who were actually alive then), there was a backlash against more traditional educational approaches (particularly anything involving memorization) in the '60s. Education reoriented towards teaching students to be creative and think critically rather than accept received wisdom. Whole language caught on as part of that -- teach kids to _think_ rather than just follow an algorithm. Unfortunately in this case the algorithm is a fundamental necessity needed for higher level work.

Edit: commenter below links to Tom Lehrer's New Math, and yeah the crap they made me do in math class ("write a paragraph reflecting on what you learned about multiplication") is also an instance of this 60s reaction against rigorously and uncritically learning foundational material so you can do meaningful critical thought once you've mastered the basics.




> According to my parents (who were actually alive then), there was a backlash against more traditional educational approaches (particularly anything involving memorization) in the '60s.

Yeah. This was the cognitive revolution after a long period of (excessive, imho) behaviorism.

The pendulum swang too far in the other direction in some cases.


I just read Why Knowledge Matters by E. D Hirsch Jr and in that book he does contend that this sort of thing happened around the 60s in the USA and also prominently analyses France’s adoption of similar practices in around 1980-90 that had the same negative effects on math and literacy.


> the crap they made me do in math class ("write a paragraph reflecting on what you learned about multiplication")

Shockingly, this has come back into style. My brother's high school math classes have been of this type for the past couple of years.


Tom Lehrer's take on this matter:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UIKGV2cTgqA




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