I like this post from poet Remica L. Bingham, "What we should be teaching our children...". She begins with an example of a young'un who has memorized a poem by Billy Collins. Then, she gets to a topic close to my heart -- teaching our children poetry, which is an abbreviated way of saying teaching our children to taste, feel, and love language; to find their own voice; to recognize the power of words to bind us to meaning and liberate our imaginations; to use language to define their own lives and, with hope, to redefine our shared world in life-affirming, positive direction.
Check it at remicalbingham.blogspot.com
Here's an excerpt from "What we should be teaching our children...":
I routinely hear folks who have come one or two generations before me talk about how they were made to memorize poems and speeches during their formative years. At one time, this was a routine part of the educational system. What happened to this tool? Surely, we can make the argument that memorization and repetition help bolster critical thinking skills, so how and why has 'progressive education' all but abandoned this technique? Being an educator, I have a strange suspicion that, because there is no room for oral presentations when administering standardized exams, this learning tool has been deemed unnecessary and a waste of properly used classroom time. But what a shame that is. Imagine what children might learn, retain and grown to love (or at least remember fondly...) if we taught them to pour over words until they stuck. The toddler in the video above gives us a small glimpse of the opportunities we're missing.