I heard it said recently that to learn facts by rote, the way that is necessary to pass exams, was no longer relevant in today’s society. With the internet at our fingertips we can find the answer to any question thrown at us and I confess I am an avid googler of all things. However it got me thinking about how knowing facts is still important. They help us to answer questions, win quizzes and help to start conversations or keep them flowing.
It also got me thinking if learning these ‘facts’ had to really be done in the boring way schools seem to teach them, I looked around at people I know and found so many ways in which we learn things, mostly in passing and maybe without realising. Take my Ma for example, she knows all kinds of random facts. I am sure that many were gained at school but where does she get all the non-school facts from? The answer is quiz shows. She is an avid watchers, she watches them all and always has. Anything from Only Connect to Pointless to MasterMind, I don’t think there are many quizzes she hasn’t watched. When I was at school our routine from getting in involved a cup of tea and 15 to 1. As such I too have a love of quizzes and Panda is now enjoys them too.
My Pops is different. He will watch a quiz and enjoy it but most of his knowledge comes from books. He is what I would call a dipper. He has a whole library of books both fiction and non fiction but there is nothing he loves better than to dip into a non fiction book, read a little then put it back. He will dip into books on any number of subjects from moths to Egyptians to churches of England. It makes it easy to buy him a present come Christmas or birthday though I think Ma despairs over where they are all going to go. Panda has also taken on this style and is now a dipper too!
As a family we like to watch documentaries. We watch things like ‘How it’s made’ which gives us an insight into things we may never have thought about. we watch any wildlife documentary we can, we watch things about the wars, about people of the world, about the night sky. Anything and everything. We gain a lot of knowledge from them, Tiger especially takes a lot from them, if he watches something it goes in.
Visiting museums and places of interest is a great way to learn new facts as well as enjoy quality time with friends and family. We have been to medical museums, art galleries, train museums, stately homes, gardens, zoos, castles and sculpture parks. We may not have taken in everything we saw, read or heard from any one place but we certainly took something away from each and every trip.
One of my favourite ways to learn something new is to talk to people who have different experiences from my own. Maybe someone who has travelled or someone who is older and lived in a different time to the world we know today. Maybe someone who has an interesting job or skill. I am slightly of the opinion that we don’t talk enough to others nowadays and our world is so diverse no two people have the same experiences so share yours and listen to others, who knows what you may learn!
So do I think the learning of facts is no longer relevant in the world of Google? No I don’t, I just think we should gather our facts through living our lives and enjoying ourselves, not through sitting reading through a text-book and then repeating it until it has sunk in. So go have fun, learn all day every day by doing what interests you and what you find fun and if you’re not sure about anything, Google it!!