What Are Facts Without Context?


With today’s technology at our fingertips, it is simply not necessary to memorize a ton of facts to be a successful student. I would argue that insisting students remember facts does not prepare them for college, career or to become functional adults. The reasoning that “learning by memorizing” is inadequate for students to become healthy and mature thinking adults.

Every day people are involved in problem-solving, analyzing, critical thinking, communicating and many more high-level thought processes. These are not skills reserved for geeks, nerds, or techno-gurus; these are the real-life skills people use every single day. So, if schools are not teaching these critical skills, how do they learn them? – Please do not suggest “the school of hard knocks.”


At Imagine Community Academy, our students need to be prepared to process questions that answer whether or not they should go to college or straight to a career. How about knowing how to navigate an intimate relationship towards marriage and family? They will need to know how to secure a loan to buy a house and how they should vote intelligently in the next election. These are all real-life scenarios that require high-level thinking, not memorization.

Shoulder To Shoulder is intentionally employing the Imagine Community Academy to empower mentees and students to know how to think and learn for themselves.



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Facts Do Not Teach Students How To Think

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Ok. That is great, but what motivated Columbus to set sail for new lands? What kinds of obstacles and unforeseen challenges did Columbus and his crew face as they set off? How did he interact with the people in the new lands he discovered? Should we regard Columbus as a hero or as a villain? Moreover, how would the Americas be different if Columbus failed his mission? – Facts do not teach students how to think.

With today’s technology, students can pick up their mobile device and say “Hey, Siri! On what date did World War One end?” and their phone instantly replies, “November 11, 1918.” So, what is the practical point if they do not understand what the war was about or the people or events that ended it? – Facts do not teach students how to think.

From the moment our students began taking the Summit Learning Assessments (tests), they complained, “Mrs. Moore, you never taught us how to answer questions like these.” She responds, “If you studied everything available in your online platform, you would already know that you have access to all the resources you need to answer these questions. Marcia, we are not interested in the facts you can memorize; our focus is helping you discover how to think and discover learning for yourself.”

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